The British Council’s Creative Collaborative Fund
The British Council’s Creative Collaboration Fund provides artists, cultural producers and creative entrepreneurs with the means to see their work come to life. The fund aims to create a wider awareness and greater understanding of the cultures in other countries. Although they may all belong to Europe we should not expect them to have vast similarities to each other.
The British Council believe it is essential that artists, whatever country they are from, learn to trust their fellow artist, which is created through dialogue and debate. They have encouraged the need for artists to learn from each other and educate themselves in all different forms of art.
As a regional project, incorporating countries in South East Europe and the UK, it deals with creative artists on a huge scale. Many projects have been assisted by the fund, with 27 installations and events in all art forms, being held all over Europe. As the fund will no longer be available from 2011, Fault would like to celebrate it while it is still around.
These are a few of their great successes.
Poet in the City – Words Converge
Registered charity, Poet in the City, collaborated with The British Council to create the poetic artistry of, ‘Words Converge’. Poet in the City, run by Graham Henderson, Andrew Bowen and Sarah Metselaar, focuses on ‘promoting a love of poetry amongst new audiences’, whether they are children, working professionals in the city or fellow artists.
Words Converge involved the projection of poetry and text-based art within public squares, commercial spaces, art galleries, concerts and during live performances in the UK, Georgia, Israel and Romania. The UK installation at Kings Place was a vivid expression of original art, which featured poetry from poets in Romania, Greece, Georgia and Israel.
Travelling to other South East European countries at the moment, the project is still going strong, and hopes to build a wide range of poetry lovers’ by the time it ends later this year.
Paves, is a project led by artist Anne Bean and four of her collaborative companions, Poshya Kakil, Vlasta Delimar, Efi Ben-David and Sinead O’Donnell. This collaboration focuses on performance art surrounding the circumstance of modern war and conflict.
Created in March 2009, and due to end at the same time this year, Paves focuses on the impact of war and conflict on those directly involved. It also considers the political contexts surrounding war. The artists all hail from a broad range of cultures, those being Ireland, Israel, Croatia, Kurdistan-Iraq and Zambia, providing a vast perspective on the theme.
The project began with workshops at the Toynbee Studios, where the artist gathered their thoughts, expressions and experiences, in order to create their shows. Topics including borders, laws, regulations and barriers were brought up in the making of their collaborative pieces, although barriers between each other were non-existent.
The artists involved put all their efforts into their work. With Posyha not being allowed to travel for the project, she has not let that stop her from contributing. She has worked from her home in Erbil, Kurdistan-Iraq, and even managed to organise another collaborative piece with Anne Bean and the other artists, called I am Thirsty, in her homeland.
The Paves project will end with a live performance at the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow.
The Culture Lobby Project
Based in the Western Balkan Societies, (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia), Canadian artists Cindy Blažević and Pascal Paquette, decided to form an archive of the cultural memories of Western Balkan citizens. Using photographs and audio recordings they document what citizens believe will change once their countries become member of the EU, preserving their memories of what once was.
The archive is active, which allows it to be viewed and added to on a regular basis. Blažević and Paquette believe that through this project they will be able to identify the aspects of Western Balkan culture that have a high risk of contributing to ‘political and ethnic tension’ and hope their project will effectively alter this, through citizens’ participation.
Recruiting local artists has helped this project, as they are given the role of talking to citizens of other countries to their own, and collecting photographs. These photographs are displayed in a chart listing the main concerns of those citizens, including both their hopes and fears. These results are posted in the online archive, where people of all walks of life can have an insight into the lives of Western Balkan citizens. Blažević and Paquette have also created a book and a GPS map, so people interested in the concept can follow the art from country to country.
These projects all exhibit true collaboration between artists of all walks of life and forms of art, satisfying the initial need for a Collaborative Fund. Although, new art work of all forms are still being developed by the British Council and their artists, we can only hope that with the Creative Collaboration Project coming to an end this year, that something will be set up in its place.
For more information visit their website: www.britishcouncil.org/creativecollaboration