About the programme

Connections Through Culture: India-Wales is a grant scheme by the British Council supported by Wales Arts International/Arts Council of Wales to develop co-created projects between artists, arts organisations and festivals in both India and Wales.

The scheme is designed to embed creative skills and develop capacity for artists and festivals in both India and Wales, and to develop long-lasting relationships between these regions. Celebrating the diverse cultural expression in both regions, grantees from Wales and India benefit from the inspiration gained from exchanging ideas and sharing their cultural history.

This grant scheme is an opportunity to build on the success of India Wales, the joint funding programme between the British Council and Wales Arts International/Arts Council of Wales, and Wales’ involvement in the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017, that marked the 70 anniversary of independence in India. India Wales was an ambitious programme that supported more than 2000 participants across 13 projects, within theatre, dance, film, literature, music and visual and applied arts, engaged more than 80,000 audience members in Wales and India and reached over 4.9 million people through social media.

Watch this short film - a celebration of those relationships: of the collaboration between our two countries, of cultural exchange and artistic development, and of the power of human connection through the medium of digital.  

Meet the recipients of the Connections Through Culture: India-Wales funding


Aberystwyth Arts Centre and Dream a Dream 

A Thriving Future for Us is a creative collaboration between Aberystwyth Arts Centre, a multi-use arts space in west Wales and Dream a Dream in Bangalore India who work with young people to develop their skills. The project provides a platform for young people age 12 - 18 from both countries to collaborate on a digital art project focusing on creating a sustainable and thriving future.

Artists from Bangalore (working through ArtFlute) and Aberystwyth have worked together to devise a programme of interactive workshops for young people using the tools of creative storytelling, animation and digital technologies to explore their personal connection to the idea of a sustainable future. 2022 will see a focus on production levels, working on a film under the banner ‘Time to Change’. Using methods and techniques learned in Phase 1, the focus would be on moving the more general discussions of the first project forwards, using a central theme of Time, and how it relates to us and our impact on the environment.  

Jonny Cotsen and Access For ALL 

Deaf performer and creative consultant, Jonny Cotsen based in Wales and arts accessibility consultancy Access For ALL based in India are developing a manifesto for accessible art (MAAF) where accessibility is at the apex of planning an all-inclusive arts festival celebrating artists and audiences with disabilities. 

The aim was to move away from ableism in the art world, which is often led by non-disabled persons for the people with disabilities, and to empower those with varied abilities. 

This collaborative project focused on a digital artists’ residency for six artists with disabilities from both countries. Together they created a toolkit about the complex issues around scouting disabled talent, provide a platform and representation of artists with disabilities, and design accessible spaces (physical and digital) for audiences with disabilities 

In 2022, the project will develop and curate a pilot version of The Accessible Arts Festival (TAAF). 

Kaite O’Reilly and Navtej Singh Johar 

Kaite O'Reilly is a playwright, radio dramatist, writer, and dramaturg who works in disability arts and culture and mainstream culture based in Wales is collaborating with award winning choreographer Navtej Johar based in India. 

The Land is calling through the body is a sharing of practice, traditions, and processes, exploring the connections between culture, body, voice, tradition and the wounded land with artists from India and Wales. 

Artists from India and Wales have explored these concepts with stimulus arising from the sharing of Punjabi Sufi poetry/song and traditional Indian instruments; the sarod and tabla, and traditional Welsh instruments; the harp and the crwth, alongside song.  

Building on the successful r&d, the partners will now create a sequence of interlocking dance/music/movement short films to be shown at international digital festivals. 

Wales Arts Review and Meta Arts 

Intercut labs was a 10-month research initiative between Wales Arts Review, an arts review website and Meta Arts in India, a cultural organisation who specialise in international work. The project paired six artists from Wales and India, who collaborated through three virtual culture labs to create an inter-disciplinary arts production for young people to tour key arts festivals and venues in both countries.  

In 2022, the project becomes Intercut Tales- an interdisciplinary digital arts project which reimagines and adapts ancient stories written for 13-17 year olds in Wales and India to today's times and creates a sensorial arts production for festivals and venues of both countries. 

2021 - 2022 projects, research and development phase:

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and Science Gallery, Bangaluru

This project explores art and industry in India and Wales. The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, South Wales collaborate with organisations and individuals in India; the Science Gallery Bengaluru, a space for engaging young adults with science and the art, as well as the Museum Society of Mumbai (under the stewardship of Pheroza Godrej) and art historian Zehra Jumabhoy.

Industrial connections between India and Wales stretch from the imperial era to the present day. The Glynn Vivian family made their money manufacturing copper, shipped throughout the British Empire.

Today, the steel works in Port Talbot in South Wales are owned by an Indian family: the Tatas. This project will explore these enmeshed industrial histories and contemporary concerns through interdisciplinary digital events which will explore the inter-relations between art, science and industry; bringing together artists, curators, writers, art historians, historians, scientists and economists from India and Wales.

Professor Marc Rees and the Pickle Factory Dance Foundation

CRO | PAN is a creative collaboration between installation artist Professor Mark Rees based in Wales and the Pickle Factory, a dance venue in Kolkata India. They will work in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales. They will collaborate digitally to explore festivals in both countries; the National Eisteddfod of Wales; a cultural festival and Durga Puja; a socio-cultural religious community-led festival in Kolkata, India.

CRO | PAN is a conversation between artists in two temporary structures to reflect and comment upon our hybrid times and imagined futures: CROMEN in Wales and PANDAL in India.The CROMEN structure will be located at the Eisteddfod site in Tregaron West Wales, where Welsh artists will respond to an immersive digital journey to the Pandals of Durga Puja in India. 

The project will culminate with an installation designed by multiple artists across Wales and India that will become a pop-up venue at a park in Kolkata during the Durga Puja festival, hosting a mix of live and digital programmes involving artists and audiences in both countries. Subsequently CRO | PAN will be created as a venue for the Pickle Factory’s Season three: Take the City, hosting artists and audiences from both countries.

2020 - 2022 projects, delivery phase:

Diffusion festival and Chennai Photo Biennale

A collaborative project and exchange between Diffusion festival in Wales and Chennai Photo Biennale in India with five commissioned photo-artists in Wales and India. The photo-artists were Dipanwita Saha, Palani Kumar, Tarun Bhartiya, Sebastián Bustamante and Huw Alden Davies. By working on cross-cultural dialogues, the artists will explore the theme of 'Nation State' and the surrounding socio-political intersectionality responding to the crises of our time through lens-based art interventions, installations, discussions and talks. This collaboration aims to encourage the sharing of ideas, ideologies and building collective consciousness towards both countries’ histories and cultures and will be showcased at both festivals.

Festival of Voice and Jodhpur RIFF

Festival of Voice, Cardiff’s international arts festival, in partnership with Jodhpur Riff, an International folk music festival in Rajasthan will developed a collaborative project led by  women artists from Wales and India. The lead artists were Laura Tofarides and Mahima Dayal Mathu. Laura is a Welsh speaking stop-motion animator based in Cardiff, South Wales. Mahima Dayal Mathu, professionally known as Bawari Basanti, is a Hindustani classical and folk singer-songwriter from New Delhi, India.    

The co-developed piece explored themes of representation and issues directly related to artists’ lived experiences through music, spoken word, animation and language. It considered challenges of working across borders in different cultural contexts, the use of digital technologies in order to break down barriers to participation for women and to develop long-term sustainable collaboration. 

FOCUS Wales and Ziro Festival

Ziro Festival of music in the Arunachal Pradesh region of India partners with Wrexham’s FOCUS Wales for a music exchange programme to develop new collaborative work between Welsh and Indian artists across art forms. Through an online festival, workshops and residency programme focused on knowledge and skills exchange, collaboration, dialogue and showcasing, it aims to build strong cultural relationships and inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote Welsh and Indian independent music.

Gareth Bonello and Jodhpur RIFF

Singer-songwriter and Welsh Music Prize winner Gareth Bonello worked with Jodhpur RIFF roots music festival to develop a three-region collaboration with musicians from Wales, the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya and Rajasthan. The project developed a new piece of music through an online collaboration and a short film that was shown at Jodhpur RIFF.

Theatr Iolo and Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival

An artist collaboration and development project with Wales based Theatr Iolo, a young-persons’ theatre company in partnership with Hyderabad Children’s Theatre Festival engaged Indian and Welsh theatre artists through research, mentorship and co-development of a children’s theatre piece. The project included skills sharing, workshops and encouraged theatre groups and individual practitioners in Hyderabad to create high quality children’s theatre productions and establish a model for collaboration. 

See also