Thursday 18 February 2021

Scottish Grant Recipients Announced for New International Collaboration Fund 

Today, British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland have announced the nine recipients of the Connect and Collaborate fund. Through the Fund, artists and organisations based in Scotland applied for grants of up to £25,000 to work with international peers and develop innovative residency projects, either by building on existing global relationships or being matched with an international partner.

The opportunity has been created through the strategic partnership between Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland and aims to boost financial support for artists and organisations to maintain vital international links during the pandemic and beyond, continuing the work of The British Council in creating global opportunities in arts and culture, education and the English language. 

In the first phase, collaborations will be digital and when travel allows, artists may have the chance to travel and connect face-to-face. It is hoped this format for cultural exchange will bring new international audiences right into the heart of the Scottish arts sector and allow emerging and established artists access to a wide global audience.  

Each project idea was carefully considered by a jury of sector professionals and a total of nine projects have been awarded grants, connecting Shetland to Texas, Glasgow to cities in Finland and other regions across the world.  Overseas teams collaborating with Scottish partners include those from countries in The Americas (Including Canada), Asia, Nordics and Africa.

The opportunity was open to all art forms and those selected range from Scottish dance artists from Dance Base sharing practice and learning with peers in Senegal, to Bothy Project on Eigg, connecting with craft designer-makers in Newfoundland. Each residency project will explore different themes including globalisation, demographics, displacement, and how artists in Scotland and the partner countries are responding to the changing environment and climate. You can read more about all nine projects and hear from some of the artists and organisations below.

Norah Campbell, Head of Arts, British Council Scotland said:

“Connecting Scotland with the world is at the heart of what we do at British Council Scotland, and we are thrilled to announce the recipients for the Connect and Collaborate residencies. The pandemic has had a huge impact on the arts community here in Scotland and around the world and we wanted to help support organisations and artists across art forms to keep their global connections alive and sustainable into the future. The applications were strong which is testament to the resilience and creativity of the Arts sector in Scotland, despite the challenges of Covid-19. We look forward to following the grantees to capture and share learnings from what I’m sure will be a remarkable range of international collaborations.”

Laura Mackenzie-Stuart, Head of Theatre, Creative Scotland commented:

“Creative Scotland is delighted to help facilitate The Connect and Collaborate residencies – the selected projects give a clear indication of the value of international connections and power of the arts at a time of global social challenge. Artists from across Scotland will inspire, and be inspired by, these new communities of collaborators and through the work which they develop bring fresh perspectives to audiences and participants in Scotland.”

The full list of Scottish organisations receiving the funds is: Cove Park, Deveron Project, Moniack Mhor Writers Centre, Shetland Arts, Dance Base, Bothy Project, The Work Room, Dundee Rep & Scottish Dance Theatre and Summerhall.

British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland will be conducting evaluation for each project’s partnership, legacy opportunities, digital accessibility, and skills and capacity building. This will inform British Council Scotland’s ongoing work to champion innovative digital cultural relations for Scotland through Arts.  

Quotes from the Fund Grantees:

Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre:

Connecting: Dundee, Scotland with cities in India and USA

Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre will be working to offer an immersive, creative and intimate space where established and emerging writers, composers, lyricists and librettists from the UK and India, are provided with the unique opportunity freely to connect, research, develop, collaborate and create ideas in musical theatre, unaffected by commissions or deadlines.

“Here at Dundee Rep & Scottish Dance Theatre we prioritise talent development and the generation of new work from inception to production at the very heart of our creative output. This Connect Collaborate Residency will enable us to bring together writers and composers from different countries to develop exciting and innovative new musical theatre ideas. We will work with artists at different stages of career to nurture both them and their ideas in a safe, structured and stimulating environment. We’d like to thank the British Council for enabling this important residency.

Andrew Panton, Artistic Director Dundee Rep Theatre / Joint CEO Dundee Rep & Scottish Dance Theatre


Shetland Arts

Connecting: Shetland, Scotland and San Antonio, Texas, USA

Shetland Arts will create an artist residency and exchange between Shetland and San Antonio, Texas exploring extraction economy and the environment in these two diverse geographies. Both heavily exploited for their natural resources these areas of the globe have more in common than first meets the eye.

“Shetland Arts is thrilled to have to the opportunity to build a partnership with The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas and connect our two artistic communities. Shetland - the archipelago at the most northerly tip of the UK - thrives off the oil and gas fields that skirt it, but now looks to renewables for its future. With the industrialisation and oil-rich economies of our two distinct geographies as the creative catalyst, we hope to inspire new work that will spark and arc locally, nationally and internationally, addressing questions of sustainability and climate change as COP26 comes to Scotland”.

Jane Matthews, Exhibition Manager, Shetland Arts Development Agency


 Bothy Project

Connecting: Eigg, Scotland and Newfoundland, Canada

Bothy Project will work with a Newfoundland based arts organisation to devise a project which connects craft-designer-makers from Scotland with those in Newfoundland to achieve artistic exchange and international collaboration. Working with craft-designer-makers from these areas, this project will unpack the historical, artistic and social parallels between Newfoundland, Canada’s East Coast and Scotland and its West Coast. These parallels across the Atlantic include; connections of geology and landscape; fishing and seafaring, in their cultural and environmental guises; and connections of communities, indigenous peoples, migrants, immigrants and settlers. Aspects of these parallels are present in Scotland and Newfoundland and offer a myriad of material for the craft-designer-makers to explore, learn from and communicate through their practice.


 The Work Room

Connecting: Glasgow, Scotland and The Nordics and Baltic regions

Creating Keđja Artists Lab, in Glasgow, The Work Room will bring together 12 independent dance artists from across the Keđja network partners. The lab will be a space for sharing practice and creative collaboration, strengthening connections with the Keđja network of key European partners in developing international opportunities for independent dance artists.

“This funding will enable The Work Room to deepen our collaboration with the Keđja network of dance organisations across 12 Nordic & Baltic countries.  We will host an artist lab in Scotland, bringing together independent dance artists from across the network to share practice, explore creative collaboration and strengthen international connections. At this time of so much uncertainty, it is brilliant to be supported through the Connect Collaborate funding programme to stretch our international perspective, create space for artists to work together and to hold on to the power of dance in transcending geographic and political boundaries”

Anita Clark, Director, The Work Room


Moniack Mhor

Connecting: Inverness-shire, Scotland, Edinburgh, and Lagos, Nigeria

Moniak Mhor will develop a month-long international residency programme providing participating writers time and space to develop their work and the opportunity to engage in performances at events in the Highlands and at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Selected Scottish writers will participate in the Lagos International Poetry Festival after the residency.

“We are thrilled that Moniack Mhor has received funding via the Connect and Collaborate Fund. This support will provide a residency opportunity for six international and three Scottish writers. Whilst with us, they will offer workshops and readings in different parts of the Highlands. It’s a fantastic opportunity to engage in meaningful cultural exchange and for audiences to hear exciting international and established Scottish voices.

“A cohort will perform at the Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria in October and international writers will attend the Edinburgh International Book Festival after the residency. This is an important milestone in our development, as we hope to deliver an annual international residency to further enhance the connection between Scottish and international writers and audiences for literature alike”

Rachel Humphries, Centre Director, Moniack Mhor Writers' Centre


Cove Park

Connecting: Argyll & Bute, Scotland and Dakar, Senegal

Cove Park will develop an international residency programme and institutional exchange with RAW Material Company, Senegal. The project will be the first collaboration between Cove Park and an organisation based in West Africa and it will also be the first partnership between RAW Material Company and an organisation based in Scotland. The project involves the creation of two six-week creative development residencies for visual/moving image artists: one at Cove Park for a practitioner based in Senegal and one with RAW Material Company for an artist based in Scotland. These opportunities will facilitate research and the development of new work.

We are deeply grateful to British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland to have jointly devised the Connect and Collaborate Fund and for giving us the opportunity to start collaborating with RAW Material Company - an organisation that we have long admired for their commitment to knowledge production and education. We trust that the exchange of both residents and staff members between our organisations will result in the acquisition and development of new ideas, practices and methodologies. This project is firmly rooted in Cove Park’s and RAW Material Company’s ethos in relation to radical cooperation and international dialogue, which now feel more urgent than ever”.

Francesca Bertolotti-Bailey, CEO Cove Park  ---

Dance Base

Connecting: Edinburgh, Scotland and countries across the Sub-Saharan African region.

Dance Base Africa Now: Dance Base is developing an open call for Scottish dance artists to share practice and learnings with peers in Sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting their distinct dance voices arrived at via unorthodox roots and new cultural routes.  This will include digital and live collaborations, skill and practice sharing and residencies in Scotland.

“The cultural riches of Sub Saharan Africa are joyful and deep and have great integrity. One of the living legends of contemporary dance, Germaine Acogny, has created a method of movement that incorporates all these elements. We are thrilled to announce that the Mother of African Contemporary dance (as she is known) with her pioneering Ecole des Sables will collaborate with Dance Base Scotland to create a series of opportunities for dance artists in Scotland and sub-Saharan Africa to exchange and collaborate. We see incredible potential for the relationship between the contemporary dance cultures of Scotland and Africa and are delighted to be supported by and working with the British Council in Scotland, Senegal and beyond”.
Jim Hollington Chief Executive, Dance Base  


Edinburgh, Scotland and Karachi, Pakistan

Scotland's dynamic cultural hub, Summerhall, and the vibrant Koel Gallery in Pakistan, have joined creative forces to bring together two early-career visual artists from Scotland and Pakistan in an exciting digital residency programme. Edinburgh-based artist, Michele Marcoux, grew up in the multi-cultural industrial city of Cleveland, Ohio, on the Great Lakes in USA. Lahore-based Farrukh Adnan, grew up in Tulamba, a rural Punjabi village situated on an ancient archaeological site in Pakistan. Despite the contrasting geographical and cultural landscapes of their origins, they share a mutual search for connections, through dreams, memories and symbolic representations, to the locus of their childhoods. Reaching across vast and vivid boundaries, bound by the global currents of pandemic and climate catastrophe, the artists will experiment and grow their practice to create collaborative bodies of work on the urgent theme of "Ecologies of Displacement". Their work will be exhibited at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and at Koel Gallery in Karachi.

The residency was conceived and will be run by Sana Bilgrami, Pakistani-Scottish filmmaker and lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University.

Quotes from the artists as a response to the residency opportunity:

''Knowing yourself from afar'' - Farrukh Adnan

"Collaborating across borders and building new international relationships is hugely exciting and will benefit every aspect of my practice" - Michele Marcoux


Deveron Projects

Connecting: Aberdeenshire, Scotland with Nairobi, Kenya, and Dodoma, Tanzania.

‘Rurban Regeneration’ will investigate the role of art in rural and urban regeneration between very different parts of the world, connecting the small market town of Huntly in Scotland with the bustling metropolis of Nairobi in Kenya, and the less culturally developed administrative capital of Tanzania, Dodoma. The project will centre around an international residency taking place in Huntly and will seek out new solutions and approaches to community-led sustainable regeneration. What skills, knowledges and ideas can be exchanged between these different rural and urban settings, where communities are facing the effects of globalisation in equally pronounced but very different ways.

“I am delighted to be able to work with the two African artists Kevo Stero from Nairobi and Salym Kitumbike on our town regeneration project. Both come from a distinguished street artist tradition, bringing ideas from very different places to our redevelopment of Huntly town centre.”

Natalia Palombo, Director, Deveron Projects


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