British Council grants aim to encourage links with India

The British Council wants to develop closer links between the creative industries in the UK and India through the Connections Through Culture programme.
The initiative provides three different types of grant, worth up to £5000 per application, to projects that involve collaboration between British and Indian partner groups – with each group having as close to an equal role as possible.

Adam Pushkin, the British Council’s head of arts and creative industries in India and Sri Lanka, says, ’There was a perception, particularly in India, that previous engagements had not always been undertaken on an equal basis, and that organisations from the UK needed to approach India – and vice-versa – with an open-mindedness of spirit. Those two ideas have been built into the heart of the programme.’

The British Council is seeking organisations and projects for the initiative, with the current round of applications closing on 30 November and responses expected on 31 December. More information on grants is available at www.britishcouncil.org/india-arts-ctc.htm.

The programme initially launched in August 2009 and is built around five key areas, with the aim of introducing groups to each other, helping them develop projects and then showcasing that work.

The Information Base resource is hosted by the British Council and provides overviews of the creative industries scenes in India and the UK, as well as dealing with practicalities for working in India, such as tax law. The Creative Networking stream, for which the British Council provides grants, helps British organisations embark on visits to India and vice versa.

Once a collaborative relationship has been formed, organisations will be able to apply for grants to provide development support for specific projects. Once the projects are up and running, grants are available to showcase the work.

Pushkin says, ’The organisations involved need to be fairly sustainable, with a reputation in the sector and an impact or influence beyond their own work. The programme has supported everyone from theatre companies and film festivals to museums and artists’ collectives.’

He adds, ’The projects that emerge can vary quite widely: some are very focused on the end result, such as collaborative theatre productions, while others can be process-driven with very uncertain outcomes, such as where groups of artists with interests in common work together to explore one another’s practice.’

Pushkin says the major projects developed through the scheme so far are set to be showcased in 2011 and 2012. These include the Carte Blanche project at Indian music venue Blue Frog, which will see UK musicians introduced to Indian audiences, and the Experimenter Contemporary Art project, which will see the UK-based Otolith Group showcase work in exhibitions in Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata.

Pushkin says, ’Ultimately, we are keen to see something that can be showcased and celebrated, especially in India, and we are keen to see some likelihood of a relationship between organisations that will last.’

Grants available

Creative networking (up to £800 per person)

Development support (£500-£5000 per application)

Showcasing collaborations (£500-£5000 per application)

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