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British Council Wales are delighted to announce that 22 grants have been made to Welsh artists and arts organisations to develop collaborative projects in Europe.

The Welsh arts sector has many established connections in Europe and participates in major international platforms such as Classical Next, Venice Biennale and major festivals (Le Festival Interceltique de Lorient and Cannes etc). 

Considering the changing context within the European Union, this fund supports artists and arts organisations in Wales to strengthen or establish relationships and networks with EU peers, and undertake research or pilot initiatives to inform and enable future collaborations. 

Avant Cymru

Theatre company Avant Cymru from the South Wales valleys are showcasing Welsh breakin' and hip hop dance at The Notorious IBE, an international Hip Hop and Urban Breakin' festival in Heerlen in the Netherlands. 

By representing Wales on the European breakin' stage; they will connect with the best dancers from across the world, develop their network with European and global breakdancers and promote opportunities in the Welsh breakin’ and hip hop theatre scene, including the upcoming Full Circle Breakin’ Jam 2019, a competition in Porth in South Wales in October 2019.

BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales

BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales will visit Brittany in France to take part in a series of collaborative activities with L’Orchestre Sinfonique de Bretagne; both orchestras will work together, led by Grant Llewellyn, Music Director for Sinfonique de Bretagne.  

BBC National Orchestra Wales will also explore ways to combine the two orchestra’s education and outreach activity to benefit both Wales and Brittany.

Chapter

Andy Eagle, Director of Cardiff’s multi- artform venue Chapter visited Fabrik, a creative hub in Potsdam in Germany to explore artistic collaborations between dance artists and commissioning models with the aim to create artistic residencies. Fabrik has many similarities to Chapter as it is a commissioning house, specialising in supporting emerging dance artists, one of the areas Chapter champions along with visual, performance, and film artists. 

During the second part of the project, Andy attended the Trans Halle Europe Conference in Dresden in Germany where he met potential partners from across Europe and gained insight about the European sector’s interest in engaging with creative work in Wales.  

Dirty Protest

In June 2019 Catherine Paskell, Artistic Director of Cardiff based Dirty Protest, the new play writing company for Wales, attended the Theatre Forum Ireland Conference. She met with representatives from Fishamble, a new play company who typically support over 50% of all new plays in Ireland every year. Together they are exploring new ways to develop writers and their plays, and to support the new writing communities in Wales and Ireland. 

During October 2019 artists/writers from Wales and Ireland will take part in a residency at the Fishamble studios to experiment with a cultural exchange programme.

Forté Project

Led by Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council’s Arts and Creative Industries team; Forté Project is a unique artists development scheme for 16-25 year old music artists based in South Wales. Working with Talent Coach; who are based in the Kalmar region of Sweden and support young musicians and upcoming artists, they aim to open up new and exciting opportunities for young musicians from Wales and Sweden to learn, develop and establish sustainable artistic relationships.

In August 2019, the Forté Project team will visit Sweden to meet artists and leaders of Talent Coach, as well as several other key music organisations in the region including Lansmusiken i Kalmar, Destination Kalmar, Kalmar Kommun, Lanstinget Kalmar, Linnaeus University, Folkhogskola, Studieforbundet, Sensus, Volt Studios, and Latitud 57. 

Iris Prize

Cardiff based Iris Prize LGBT+ film festival; the world’s largest single prize for an LGBT+ short film, will conduct a feasibility study into creating a pan-Europe LGBT+ filmmaker network that will support the development of young and emerging LGBT+  filmmakers across Europe. 

Iris believes that establishing a new network will encourage collaboration between European LGBT+ filmmakers, and develop filmmakers’ skills so that there is a greater number of LGBT+ films ready for exhibition.  

Laura Drane

Independent creative producer Laura Drane, based in Cardiff, South Wales,will attend the European Festivals’ Atelier in November 2019, a residential in France for producers to connect with peers across Europe and the world. By sharing what a devolved Wales means with potential partners, she hopes to build networks for the Welsh arts sector.

Literature Wales

To coincide with the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages, Literature Wales, the national company for developing literature in Wales, is further developing its strategic partnerships with national literature organisations in Scotland and partners in Germany. 

A pilot event took place in June 2019 with Welsh novelist Alys Conran at Humboldt University’s Centre for British Studies in Berlin. Alys led a workshop with students of the Master in British Studies course (who have studied her work as part of their course), followed by a public reading and event. 

Coinciding with the June pilot events, National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn, and Literature Wales staff also travelled to Berlin to research new partnerships, venues and collaborators in preparation for a collaborative multi-part event scheduled to take place in Berlin in November 2019.

Llanarth Group

Theatre makers Kaite O’Reilly and Phillip Zarrilli of the Llanarth Group based in Ceredigion, West Wales will visit Berlin to develop and strengthen an existing relationship with collaborators. They will conduct initial research toward a possible future performance, and visit key performance programming venues in Berlin. 

The Llanarth Group is an association of theatre/performance artists dedicated to producing international and intercultural theatre and performance work of the highest quality with every piece of new work premiering in Wales. Between July and September 2019, they will begin discussions about touring productions in Germany, leading to face to face studio work in Berlin in March 2020. 

Madeinroath

Madeinroath, a community- based arts festival in the heart of Roath in Cardiff, South Wales will lead a cultural and artistic exchange with Nieuw en Meer, a creative community space in Amsterdam, to explore new ways to approach community development.

In August 2019 madeinroath will take up a residency at Nieuw en Meer. From a bespoke bell tent, artists Helen Clifford and Clare Charles will run creative workshops across ten days, meeting artists, building connections, learning about new models of working and sustainability for artist-led organisations.

In the build-up to the residency, there has been a postal exchange between the two organisations; madeinroath has sent alabaster collected from the beaches around Penarth in South Wales, and Amsterdam based artist Elly Baltus replied with artworks carved out of alabaster found in the area around Nieuw en Meer.

Menter Caerdydd

Menter Caerdydd’s Tafwyl team undertook a research visit to the Breton language festival Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg in Brittany, France to exchange ideas, build partnerships and pursue an ambition for cross-border and international developments. 

Tafwyl has established itself as one of Wales’ premier cultural and musical events with Welsh as an indigenous language at the heart. In 2019, the 3-day festival attracted over 37,000 people, and over 50 musical acts performed across the stages in Cardiff Castle. 

Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg, located in the rural village of Langoned, in central Brittany brings Breton speakers and supporters together to celebrate and promote the Breton language. 

As a direct result of the research visit, in June 2019 Welsh language alt- rock band Chroma took to the stage at Gouel Broadel ar Brezhoneg; and two weeks later, the Breton language pop- rock band UKAN performed two sets at Tafwyl. The band members also participated in a lively multi-lingual discussion panel in Byw yn y Ddinas, the culture tent where cultural diversity and working creatively in minority languages were amongst the topics.

Migrations

Based in north Wales, Migrations brings international contemporary arts to Wales while developing innovative collaborations, commissions and partnerships in Wales and further afield. 

Migrations will attend a rural forum in Denmark, led by Henk Keizer who is Director of Rural Denmark, which will allow them to create new and exciting opportunities for artists working with rural communities to share and develop their work with international artists and create space for work related to climate change and ecological transition.

Through her work, Karine Décorne who is Artistic Director of Migrations has developed a strong practice in working with international contemporary arts in rural settings and has been meeting with farmers in North Wales who will engage with the project.

Rural Office for Architecture

Niall Maxwell, of Rural Office for Architecture, and artists Owen Griffiths and Melissa Appleton want Wales to be more visible at the European Architecture Biennale in 2020. They want to show that Wales is an outward looking engaged nation, that will continue to direct its focus towards Europe and beyond. 

L’albero - Operasonic Creative Exchange

L’albero - Operasonic Creative Exchange will offer an opportunity for the two arts organisations to exchange practice around making opera with communities. Both L’albero and Operasonic are embedded in their communities, working with young people across the city. L’albero is currently undertaking a large-scale community opera project - Silent City - as part of the European City of Culture year in Matera, southern Italy. Operasonic engages young opera creators in schools and communities in Newport, South Wales to create their own operas inspired by their city. 

The Creative Exchange will offer both organisations the chance to experience each other’s practice in situ, to explore the differences and similarities in their practice through discussion, and to share their findings with local partners through presentations of their work.

Parthian

Based in Swansea, South-west Wales, publishers Parthian will lead a collaboration between a new generation of writers from Wales and Europe, visiting the Paris Book Fair and holding a residency at the Llansteffan Literary Collective in Wales to generate ideas on how editors and writers can engage with a new and diverse international audience.

Paul Jenkins and Gethin Evan

In July 2019, Welsh theatre-makers Paul Jenkins and Gethin Evans carried out a research and development visit to Sofia, Bulgaria to observe rehearsals, attend performances and share practice with South Eastern Europe’s experimental theatre-makers. 

Gethin and Paul, both Cardiff based directors, have a keen interest in physical and experimental theatre forms. This trip helped to develop established networks and set up new ones to share creative practice with some of the foremost laboratory theatre companies in Europe today including Bulgarian companies Alma Alter and Sfumato Theatre Workshop. 

These companies offer ensemble training and an experimental European repertory model unlike anything in the UK today. 

In Autumn 2019 they will deliver a workshop in Cardiff to local Welsh and Wales-based artists to share their experience and insight about creative practices.  

Cultural Institute, Swansea University

During July 2019 the Cultural Institute at Swansea University in South-west Wales attended the Galway International Arts Festival in Ireland and the Santiago de Compostela Festival in Spain to develop connections between theatre makers of bilingual work and to explore transcultural relationships through theatrical practice and bilingualism.

The cultural institute will also lead a roundtable discussion and a pilot workshop in Swansea, West Wales with participants from Ireland and Spain that they met during the festivals.

tactileBOSCH

Cardiff based tactileBOSCH; an artist led collective specialising in performance art, multi-media, and site-specific installation. want to explore opportunities to present and curate cutting edge visual arts internationally, through the development of networks in Leipzig and Dresden in Germany, fostering and celebrating inclusion and exploring platforms that create conditions for increased connections and understanding.

Trac Cymru

Following three years of networking and formal consultations, trac Cymru, along with project partners across Europe, have created a European Folk Network to support collaboration and communication across Europe whilst preserving a European voice for the traditional musicians of Wales.

A new website has been launched which includes further information about their aims and areas of activity for the coming months. 

In November 2019, an inaugural network meeting will be held in Brussels which will determine and inform activity for 2020. Conversation points will include what is considered European Folk, how tradition is maintained and the use of digital technology to share, as well as a mapping exercise to produce a visual picture of the kind of work already taking place in Europe.

Volcano

Based in Swansea, South-west Wales, Volcano are an artist-led organisation that explore ideas and social relations through performance and participation.

This project is a practice-led exchange between Volcano, Swansea University and four independent arts companies across Greece and Spain, all based in a part of Europe that is on the margins in relation to the centre of European power: geographical, economic, political, cultural, linguistic. They each run a diverse creative hub, independent or pop-up cultural space, and share a preference for practice-led investigation. 

There will be a series of exchanges across Wales and Europe in which they explore how the performing arts relate to key subjects/oppositions: the centre and the periphery; the rural and the urban; the dominant language and the suppressed or minority one. 

Welsh Books Council and Mercator International

Welsh Books Council and Mercator International through literary initiatives Literature Across frontiers and Wales Literature Exchange will develop connections with the publishing and literature sectors in Germany, France and Italy to identify material for translation into Welsh. Their findings will be shared with the sector in Wales to develop a methodology of working collaboratively in Europe in order to internationalise children and young people’s reading in Welsh.

Wicked Wales International Youth Film Festival

During May 2019, the Director of Wicked Wales International Youth Film Festival, young people from the festival and representatives from Ffilm Cymru Wales and Film Hub Wales attended the Youth Cinema Network conference in Croatia to explore opportunities for young Welsh film makers and film companies in Europe. 

During the visit, representatives from the Youth Cinema Network were invited to attend the Wicked Wales  Festival in October 2019  where they will meet with young people, and also share best practice and develop new international youth film networks in Wales.