Celebrating Go Digital 

We’re delighted to launch our new Go Digital SSA-Wales film. This short film captures the essence of Go Digital – developing artistic process, showcasing incredible work and focusing on digital connection. Featuring some of our project partners as well as British Council staff from both Wales and across SSA, the film illustrates human innovation, resilience and the power of international digital collaboration in the midst of a challenging global context.

Go Digital evaluated: a new, successful model of international collaboration

We commissioned four researchers from across SSA and Wales to evaluate phase one of the programme. At the end of phase one of Go Digital, research found that the programme has been successful overall in the achievement of the objectives it set out to meet: developing networks, changing perceptions of digital working, and ultimately proving a digital model as a successful, climate-friendly model of international collaboration. 

Read a summary of the new report at the end of this page.

As a result of the success of Go Digital SSA-Wales, we recently replicated the digital model through our new programme Go Digital Pakistan-Wales, which forms a key part of the inaugural UK-Pakistan season. Find out more here.

Digital Collaboration Grants 

We have always supported international artistic collaboration through our work. In response to increasing restrictions on global travel due to Covid-19, and rising concerns about the sustainability of face-to-face collaborations, we were looking for new ways to foster these international connections. This funding has enabled the project teams to devise new virtual ways of working internationally, in turn creating a climate-friendly approach to international collaboration and artistic exchange. We hope that the programme will develop new and existing networks, strengthen the economic and social development of Sub Saharan Africa and Wales within the international cultural sector, and enable strategic digital showcasing skills to be shared between Sub-Saharan Africa and Wales heightening the international reach and impact of both regions.

In 2021 grants were awarded to project teams in Wales and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate on digital creative projects. In 2022, we will be supporting five projects to continue their work.

4pi Productions and Matamba Film Labs for Women   

The Future Femme Filmmakers Project, a collaboration between 4Pi Productions in Cardiff, Wales and Matamba Film Labs in Harare, Zimbabwe brought together women creatives interested in cutting edge innovative storytelling methods in various mixed reality techniques for knowledge exchange, networking and building connections across cultures and countries. 

In 2022, the partners will facilitate a five month virtual Future Femme Filmmaker’s Accelerator lab where participants will be trained to produce VR films of their own.

 ASSITEJ South Africa and Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis

’Humanising the Zoom (Play) Room' was co-ordinated and led by ASSITEJ, a national network of artists in South Africa, and Wales-based theatre makers Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis. Artists from South Africa and eight artists from Wales, who are involved in creating theatre for young audiences, participated in a series of conversations, provocations, practical workshops and encounters over an eight-week period. 

Through this project the artists found commonalities, points of interest and concern, and shared their skills and knowledge about creating engaging, emotionally-truthful and challenging theatre productions and encounters.  The project has also created a mutual understanding of the shared importance of the language, culture and heritage of both South Africa and Wales. 

In 2022, two bursaries will be offered to existing participants for the creation of a piece of digital theatre for young audiences. The group will work together to submit proposals, and to peer mentor each other. The successful pieces will be developed and shared at the Cradle of Creativity Festival at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, in August 2022.

Cardiff Dance Festival and Festival Duo Solo Danse

Digital Encounters / Rencontres Numériques is a collaboration between Cardiff Dance Festival and Festival Duo Solo Danse in Senegal. 

In 2021, the project explored on screen dance and dance films with artists and dance practitioners from Wales, Senegal and other Sub Saharan Africa countries. It included an online training lab, commissions for three new dance shorts, an online platform and showcasing event, as well as a website to introduce the artists and films involved in the project.

In 2022, further online labs will be held for a new cohort of artists, and an advanced lab will take place with artists from the research and development phase. Additional choreographic and filmmaking influences will be utilised in order to further stretch and challenge perceptions about what the possibilities of dance film might be.

Cardiff Metropolitan University and Godess Bvukutwa   

In 2022, new writers from Wales and Zimbabwe will be invited to attend virtual retreats as part of ‘Where I’m Writing From’ where they will take part in writing workshops and mentoring sessions. Work produced during the retreats will be showcased via the platform.

After the workshops, the When Women Write platform will launch online, featuring readings by participants as well as women writers from both Wales and Zimbabwe. 

This project is led by Dr Christina Thatcher from Cardiff Metropolitan University and Godess Bvukutwa from Mambakwedza Women's Center and workshops are taking place from August 2021.

National Youth Arts Wales and Solomonic Peacocks Theatre

National Youth Arts Wales and Solomonic Peacocks Theatre in Malawi are collaborating on a project called Maniffest/Mindset. In Phase 1, they explored how young theatre-makers from different cultures could co-create digital theatre together. This cultural exchange included performers and theatre-makers aged 17 – 22 from Wales and Blantyre in Malawi.  

The two organisations facilitated online drama-based workshops, led by writers and filmmakers from both countries. The project explored shared digital platforms, and how they can cultivate a space for young people from different cultural backgrounds to co-create theatre for mobile phones. 

In 2022, the two partners will expand the workshops to produce a digital theatre piece, which will be shared as part of a major digital arts festival in Malawi – the annual Easter Theatre Festival. It will also be shared in Wales using the AM app.

Projects from 2021

Dogma Films and Baruu Collective

A multi-layered, mixed-media approach to digital storytelling, with at its core the lived experience of a group of disabled people from Kenya and Wales in consultation with groups such as Disability Wales and Disability Wales and Africa. 

The project led by Dogma Films in Wales and Baruu Collective in Nairobi, both multimedia organisations, portrays stories told in first-person by their protagonists in their environments, in the shape they feel is best suited to them, engaging and experimenting with the use of 360 degree video and virtual reality cameras to create immersive, innovative visual storytelling output, and more conventional documentary-style filmmaking. 

Ffotogallery and PAWA254

Where’s My Space? is a collaborative digital project that brings together two organisations - one in Wales and the other in Kenya; Ffotogallery, the national development agency for photography and lens-based media in Wales and PAWA254 an arts and cultural hub in Kenya.  

Together they created a virtual gathering place, or ‘Base Noma’ (to use a Kenyan expression) for visual storytelling where young creatives from Kenya and Wales can come together, contribute to show and tell sessions, show their work to online audiences and share their ideas and lived experiences. They worked with a creative team of emerging Kenyan and Welsh visual artists, musicians, poets and storytellers. 

madeinroath and Thapong Visual Arts Center

Digital Dialogue is a new collaboration between community based visual art organisations madeinroath in Wales and the Thapong Visual Arts Center in Botswana. The project takes the form of a digital sketchbook that will be used to document their research, conversations, trials and tests, and build new artworks together. There was a series of four additional artist commissions to widen understanding and to develop networks between the two countries.The research will use the theme of water as a starting point, a natural resource that is a contested topic in both countries.

National Theatre Wales and Lagos Theatre Festival

This collaboration between National Theatre Wales and Lagos Theatre Festival in Nigeria created an online digital lab whereby six early-career writers had the opportunity to develop their writing skills through a digital exchange that was hosted on Zoom.

The project was facilitated by two experienced and successful writers from Nigeria and Wales who will also mentor the participants. Each participating writer was paired with a counterpart from the other country – Nigeria and Wales.

The project aimed to create a safe space for writers to experiment with ideas and bring together differing writing styles and techniques that can be constructively criticised by their peers and industry professionals. 

National Trust Wales and Legacy 1995

This project is co-ordinated by the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO). Curators from the National Trust in Wales will collaborate with Legacy 1995,  a historical and environmental interest group in Nigeria, to improve the experience for the thousands of people that visit Legacy 1995’s historical and cultural sites each year. 

National Trust in Wales staff are using their expertise and experience gained at popular Welsh National Trust sites, with a focus on those that have a strong connection to the railways such as Penrhyn Castle in North Wales. 

Interviews have recently taken place for an artist in residence, who will also create new digital artwork that will be permanently at Legacy’s Jaekel House, an historic railway building in Lagos. The exhibition launch at Jaekel House will take place later this year.

No Fit State Circus and Circus Zambia

New Circus for a New World is a project between NoFit State Circus in Wales and Circus Zambia to support the independence and sustainability of Circus Zambia. Through a six-month process of digital inspiration, facilitated discussion and knowledge transfer, NoFit State Circus supported Circus Zambia to develop their own creative processes to create work to tour across Africa and Europe.

European touring will generate the income needed to cover company core costs and fund their youth circus programme; enabling Circus Zambia to develop a sustainable future while remaining true to their origin and cultural heritage. 

The Successors of the Mandingue and CIE Fatou Cisse

Danser ensemble dans le même bateau avec de l'eau et du vent/Dancing together in the same boat with the water and the winds is a project involving creative collectives under the umbrella of two professional arts companies; The Successors of the Mandingue in Wales, and CIE Fatou in Senegal.  

The project participants are musicians and contemporary dance practitioners. They shared, explored, created, presented, and evaluated over a five-month period from August until December 2021 which included a showcase event in both countries.

Our Go Digital programme supports digital collaborations between artists and art organisations in Wales and their international partners.

In March 2019, we began an action research programme, looking at how Wales could best use its arts and cultural assets to promote Wales and its cultural and creative industries. In 2020, our research focused on the digital initiatives and responses of the arts and creative industries sector in Wales and the Sub-Saharan Africa region to the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as mapping new opportunities and new innovations in ways of sharing and showcasing artistic work and practice.

You can read a summary of the research report here