Nine innovative Scottish arts projects are set to benefit from a partnership between Scotland and India as part of a core British Council programme.
UK India 2017 is a year of cultural exchange to celebrate the long-standing relationship between the UK and India, with events, exhibitions and activities taking place in both countries throughout 2017. Launched in London earlier this year, the showcase is dedicated to developing to cultural and literary partnerships from both countries across multiple locations.
A distinctive Scottish element to the programme has been co-ordinated by the British Council in Scotland in partnership with Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government. Nine projects covering a range of art forms have been chosen to take part. They include leading Scottish photographers, artists, writers and electronic musicians, amongst others.
The partnerships aim to build sustainable and lasting relationships between Scottish artists and organisations and their Indian counterparts. Projects involving young people in both countries were a particular focus, as is reflected in the majority of those selected.
Drawing on Scotland’s reputation as the home of tartan noir, a Scottish crime writing delegation will see authors Doug Johnstone and Lin Anderson join agents Jenny Brown and Esha Chatterjee for events in Edinburgh and Kolkata to develop connections between Scottish and Indian writers. The Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival will seek to build a reader base for contemporary Scottish authors through an online writers’ residency hosted on a popular Indian books website.
Photography collective Fòcas Scotland will present an exhibition in both countries between August and December 2017, with workshops for young people in each location. A further project will identify artists for a digital photography exchange between Street Level Photoworks in Glasgow and India’s National Institute of Design.
Katy West and Glasgow School of Art will expand the India Street textiles exhibition shown in 2016 at Tramway in Glasgow. Focused in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, their projects will include workshops for students to share knowledge of the textiles industries in both countries.
The team behind the Counterflows music festival in Glasgow will focus on mentorship and collaboration with contributions from DJ Riah Treanor, composers Mark Fell and Nakuru Krishna Murthy, singer & percussionist Antanth R Krishna and Dr Lalitha Muthuswamy. Activities will take place in Fort Cochin, Chennai and Kolkata.
Class Act India will see Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre partner with Mumbai’s Rage Theatre from November 2017 to February 2018 to connect young people from diverse backgrounds through workshops led by Scottish playwrights.
An Lanntair Arts Centre in Stornoway and the Edinburgh International Book Festival will tour a Gaelic and Indian music commission, and coordinate an exchange between Scottish and Indian writers and illustrators. Both projects will draw upon the collection of Stornoway-born Colin Mackenzie, who became the First Surveyor General of India and amassed the largest known collection of Indian antiquities and artefacts.
The Brian Molley Quartet has already embarked on its project with performances and workshops for students and children with disabilities at the Madras Jazz Festival earlier this month. Glasgow-based Paragon Ensemble will head to Chennai in July to lead a music programme for children with additional support needs. Then in October, Paisley’s Spree Festival will partner with Jodhpur Riff Festival, bringing young people together with Scottish musicians Blue Rose Code and Ross Ainslie for a traditional music collaboration.
Director of the British Council in Scotland, Jackie Killeen said, “The UK India Year of Culture presents a hugely valuable opportunity for these Scottish artists, musicians, writers and performers to develop significant and lasting connections with their counterparts in India. I am particularly pleased to see so many projects which focus on children and young people being selected as we look towards the 2018 Year of Young People in Scotland.”
Lorna Duguid, Multi-artform Manager, Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland and British Council Scotland have been working in partnership over the past four years to develop links between the Scottish and Indian arts sectors and creative industries. We are pleased to see the relationships which have been developed form a vibrant and diverse range of activities as part of the UK-India Season programme, drawn from a range of art forms and locations across Scotland and India.”
Scottish Government Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan, said: “Scotland has a long history of cultural collaboration with India, whose music, dance, poetry, film and music enriches our society. It is fitting that we ensure there is a strong Scottish presence in the UK/India Year of Culture 2017. I am pleased that the Scottish Government was able to provide funding to support this programme of innovative work in partnership with the British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland. These projects will benefit artists and communities across Scotland and India, and will help to further strengthen the important links between our two countries.”