The British Council today launched #ConnectedByCreativity an online festival for cultural exchange between China and the UK. It is the first time such an online festival, dedicated to the China – UK cultural and creative relationship has been staged.
The festival organised by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for education and culture, in partnership with the UK’s Department for International Trade and Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office, will see over 75 cultural performances and projects staged online throughout October, with support from VisitBritain, VisitScotland, the British Embassy in China and Chinese Visual Festival.
Commenting on why the British Council is hosting a festival at this time, (Ms.) Rehana Mughal, Director Arts for the British Council in China, said: “Our work and all the things we value at the British Council – encouraging connection, understanding and trust between people and nations – are being profoundly challenged by the current pandemic. For the cultural and creative industries, the impact has been significant, yet many artists have found imaginative ways to make powerful work that documents our collective strength during this challenging time. #ConnectedByCreativity is our contribution to the important cultural and educational relationship between our two countries.”
The festival will showcase Chinese and British arts and culture, many of which were created during the height of the pandemic, connecting new audiences to cultural and arts activity. Rehana Mughal added: “In developing #ConnectedByCreativity we sought to overcome the challenges artists, institutions and audiences face in connecting to one another at times of physical distancing and travel restrictions. We wanted to ensure we were able to support connection and build trust despite not being in the same room. Adversity can sometimes breed creativity, we felt it was important to mark this moment in history and to share art that has been produced during a pandemic. We created an online festival to expand the reach of this art to new audiences from both countries.”
Kicking off in the UK on 1 October, the festival focuses on promoting in the UK the work of Chinese artists and institutions over the Mid-Autumn Festival. Since 9 October, this will be followed by a programme of online performances and talks from the UK in China.
The festival will include showcases and projects relating to trending social topics such as Creative Industries response to the pandemic, sustainability and climate change, inclusion and diversity.
Highlights from the festival include:
- The Making of Samsara, Aakash Odedra Company, theatre and dance, England
- Three works from Barrowland Ballet, theatre and dance, Scotland
- Tate programme featuring four exhibitions in Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives visual arts, England
- Bernando Evaristo Talk at Hay Literature Festival, 2019 Booker Prize winner
- Chinese Artist Peng Yingwei in conversation with Curator Michael Guo
- Crafting Futures Chengdu – textile designer Odette Steele & Shu Embroidery
- Art of Troubles Ulster Museum, visual arts, Northern Ireland
- Wales in Venice 2019: Sean Edwards, contemporary visual arts, Wales
- Uncertain Kingdom, a selected screening of films made by mostly female filmmakers, British Council Collection, a film from various locations
- BBC Culture in Quarantine series including Swan Lake performed in bathtubs
On the ambitions for #ConnectedByCreativity Rehana Mughal said: “Culture, and the creativity it inspires, connects us all, despite our differences. This festival is about sharing creativity, arts and culture, for decades artists, musicians and writers have imaginatively captured the story of our time, while this creative documentation is not a cure for the challenges we are facing at the moment, the experience of arts can inspire and play an important role in bringing people together, and helping our societies recover, allowing them to forge greater trust and understanding between people.”