Two actors performing in TREK.
TREK by Solomonic Peacocks Theatre. Performed by Yasimini Chintuli Banda and Zubaida Hanifu Mandale ©

Solomonic Peacocks library 

Our new Go Digital programme includes 12 new funded digital collaborations between artists and art organisations in Wales and Sub-Saharan Africa, and a research report examining the process of collaborating digitally. 

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.

The research found that technology has transformed the way we think about work. The report looks at existing digital connections between SSA and Wales, and draws out key learnings and recommendations made by the sectors, aimed at artists and organisations who want to start connecting with partners internationally.

A summary of the report is available 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. 

Grants of up to £8000 were awarded to 12 project teams in Wales and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to collaborate on digital creative projects. 

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 2022, the current projects will be invited to submit proposals to take their projects into a presentation phase. Whilst continuing to explore digital ways of working, the chosen project teams will be supported to present their content to audiences across Wales, Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.

An evaluation report is due to be published in April 2022.

Projects starting in 2021

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 brings 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. 

ASSITEJ South Africa and Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis

This digital project is co-ordinated and led by ASSITEJ, a national network of artists in South Africa, and Wales-based theatre makers Sarah Argent and Kevin Lewis. 

Eight artists from South Africa and eight artists from Wales who are involved in creating theatre for young audiences have participated in a series of conversations, provocations, practical workshops and encounters over an eight-week period. 

Through this project the artists have 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 August 2021, the outcome will be presented at Cradle of Creativity, an international festival and conference of theatre for young audiences hosted by ASSITEJ South Africa.

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. 

The project will explore on screen dance and dance films with artists and dance practitioners from Wales, Senegal and other Sub Saharan Africa countries. 

The project will include 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.

The platform event will include screenings of the commissioned films, films selected through a jury process, question and answers sessions with artists and filmmakers, and panel discussions.

The training lab will take place in October 2021.

Cardiff Metropolitan University and Godess Bvukutwa

When Women Write aims to empower adolescent girls and young women, aged 16-24, in Wales and Zimbabwe to tell their stories via a digital platform. Women from areas of high deprivation in both countries have been invited to take part in workshops designed to enhance their digital competency and develop their poetry, essay and story writing skills. 

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 will be 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.

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, will portray 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. Artist selection is currently underway in both countries and filming will take place later in the year.

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 are creating 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 are working with a creative team of emerging Kenyan and Welsh visual artists, musicians, poets and storytellers. Over the coming months the teams will collaborate to make the artists’ vision of this virtual space a digital reality.

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 will take the form of a digital sketchbook that will be used to document their research, conversations, trials and tests, and build new artworks together. There will also be 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 will create an online digital lab whereby six early-career writers have the opportunity to develop their writing skills through a digital exchange that will be hosted on Zoom.

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

The project aims 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. Discussions have started between the partners and mentors and activity will take place later this year.

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.

National Youth Arts Wales and Solomonic Peacocks Theatre

National Youth Arts Wales and Solomonic Peacocks Theatre in Malawi will collaborate on a project called Maniffest/Mindset.

They will explore how young theatre-makers from different cultures can co-create digital theatre together. This cultural exchange will include performers and theatre-makers aged 17 – 22 from Wales and Blantyre in Malawi.  

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

This project was inspired by National Youth Arts Wales’ year-long Maniffest / Youth Voice season and Solomonic Peacocks Theatre’s active citizenship work. At the end of the project participants will share a digital work-in-progress.  

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 will support 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. Artists from both countries are in the process of being identified for the project and activity will take place later this year.

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 a musician and contemporary dance practitioners. They will share, explore, create, present, and evaluate over a five-month period from August until December 2021 which will include a showcase event in both countries.