The Connections Through Culture grants programme is designed to nurture fresh cultural partnerships between East Asia and the UK. These grants are instrumental in supporting new ideas and collaborations from artists and cultural organisations at any stage of development. 
 
The grants supported in this round of Connections Through Culture programme have focused on two distinct areas: diversity and inclusion and, addressing climate change. The collaborative efforts across borders and artistic disciplines will lead to new thoughts and ideas created to address global challenges. 
 
The grants support new connections, exchanges and collaborations. These grants help build long-term relationships and collaborations between artists, cultural professionals, creative practitioners and art and cultural organisations, hubs, networks, and collectives.

Connections Through Culture grantees 2023

Forming Threads

UK: Rebecca Blackwood, Of Many Circles

China: Professor Li Ye, China University of Mining and Technology

‘Forming Threads’ unites designers, artists, makers and producers in knowledge and skill sharing. The project aims to revive traditional practices and promote regional heritage through design, innovation and cross-cultural collaboration that is environmentally sensitive, economically sustainable. 

Let's meet again, to see what we can create together

UK: Alex Rinsler (The Giants Foundry) 

China: CUI Yi

The point of departure for the project is a commonality between the Rural Revitalisation Strategy in China and the Levelling Up agenda in the UK. By grounding the creative vision in policy and working with communities to use arts to solve small problems for them to demonstrate real value. The project aims to illuminate the ethical bonds of trust in communities, fostering a deeper understanding of societal change. 

Common Groundwork

UK: Bbeyond

China: Xiang Xishi Centre of Contemporary Art

Common Groundwork is a cultural exchange project uniting Guyu Action artists from Xi’an, China, and Bbeyond artists from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Rooted in the shared philosophic traditions of ancient Taoists in China and Druids in Ireland, the project aims to explore the relevance of these ancient ways in our contemporary, digital world.

Yellow Path

UK: theCOLAB

China: Rong Bao

‘Yellow Path’ is a collaborative project between Rong Bao and theCOLAB, aiming to create both sculptural intervention and real path to inclusion/accessibility at theCOLAB’s Artist’s Garden in Central London. This inclusive work invites both English and Chinese communities, as well as visually impaired and sighted individuals, to experience sculpture through touch and voice. 

Travelling Ideas: Researching Sustainable Avenues for International Collaboration

UK: Scottish Dance Theatre

China: Shanghai International Dance Center Theater

Building on previous work together, this project will enable deeper collaboration between Scottish Dance Theatre and Shanghai International Dance Centre. Working together in partnership, the organisations will seek to develop more sustainable models of international exchange by investigating the re-staging of existing SDT works by licensing intellectual property (IP).

'Spark o' Nature's Fire' - A Celebration of Chinese and Scots Poetry set to Music

UK: Brian Molley

China: HUANSHI ZHUMABIEKE

This collaborative project between musicians Brian Molley from Scotland and Huanshi Zhumabieke from China aims to set six poems to music, exploring the language patterns of poetry when translated between Scots and Chinese. The project will feature three poems in the Scots language and three from China, with an emphasis on folk traditions and instrumentation.

Ancient and Folk Knowledge Artist Residency with the Elderly in the Villages of Guangzhou

UK: Dinu Li

China: Binghuang Xu

Artist residency to gain ancient and folk knowledge from elderly villages of Kaiping and Taishan, to capture and appreciate their ancient and folk knowledge. The project focuses on gathering folk tales, local myths, practical skills for rural living, and traditional knowledge about working in harmony with nature. The project aims to appreciate traditions, share art practices, and bridge cultural understanding. 

The Story Behind the Ladies Bridge

UK: Chisato Minamimura

China: Hu Xiaoshu (Deaf East Theatre)

Explores the cultural history of London's Waterloo Bridge through sign language, digital performance, and parallel narratives of China's past. The project intends to raise awareness of female diversity and inclusiveness globally, altering the landscapes of various settings, including buildings, museums, and theatres.

Goldbug and the Music of Dreams

UK: Adrian Hornsby

China: Kate Chen and Shanghai Han Man Education & Technology Co., Ltd (DKS Shanghai)

'Goldbug' is an original children's show that takes audiences on a dream journey into the enchanting world of Bach. A collaborative effort between British and Chinese theatre makers, the production will premiere in major venues across China in July 2024, with potential for additional tours in the UK, China, and Europe.

Cloudspotting in Shanghai

UK: Raquel Meseguer Zafe & MAYK

China: Lynn Fu & Arts Access Shanghai

'Cloudspotting in Shanghai' is an innovative project exploring the act of lying down and its cultural implications. Initially developed in the UK by dance theatre practitioner Raquel Meseguer Zafe, the project is now expanding to China to explore the local context and collect stories from individuals who have experienced rest in public spaces.