Ten Malaysian beneficiaries receive British Council grants to kickstart arts projects


These grants, with a total worth of over RM440,000 from three distinct programmes, will help develop innovative ways of collaborating digitally in the arts during this period where Covid-19 has prevented international travel and face-to-face collaborations. Photo: AFP

Many industries, including the arts and culture sector, have been badly hit by the pandemic.

During this challenging period, the British Council has given out grants to promote British-Malaysia cultural exchanges and to develop innovative ways of collaborating digitally in the arts.

Worth a total of over £80,000 (RM440,000), these grants are from three British Council programmes: Connections Through Culture, Digital Collaboration Fund and Literature Grants.

Since October 2020,10 Malaysian beneficiaries have received these grants.

“The grants will support work in various art forms ranging from literature, film, visual arts, music to theatre. Our 10 beneficiaries will bring together people with different experiences and backgrounds, including the disabled, minority ethnic groups, youth, and those working in areas of environment and sustainability. We are proud to provide the opportunity for our grant beneficiaries in Britain and Malaysia to share and inspire each other, ” says Jazreel Goh, British Council, Malaysia director.

Among the recipients are Lim Soon Heng of KL Shakespeare Players whose project is a series of R&D workshops with British theatre/film writer and director Leo Sykes Libiano, on objects in Shakespeare and how to incorporate them in Shakespeare productions for non-native English-speaking children; Bernard Goh Seang Heong of Hands Percussion, who will work on an organic approach to composing, with a new piece for the Malay gamelan and live streams of classical work on the instrument; and Sonia Luhong Wan of Borneo Bengkel, who will build bridges through a virtual exhibition and collaborative experimental performance hosted digitally across continents.

Lim, Goh and Sonia, together with four other recipients, received grants from the Connections Through Culture programme.

One Malaysian beneficiary received the Restart Grant, under the Digital Collaboration Fund, offered for projects halted due to the pandemic but are able to pivot and resume virtually.

This grant project is a collaboration between Omnibus Theatre (Britain), artist Hester Welch, Wayang Kitchen and The Rojak Projek. It will consist of two linked programmes, Rice – which features a storytelling digital performance between London and Kuala Lumpur, with Malaysian dishes delivered to the audience via partner restaurants in both cities – and online event Food Tripping, which is part performance, part cooking class.

Meanwhile, the Literature Grants were offered to Chai Yee Thong and Rebecca Yeoh, who will curate an online exhibition that explores literature in response to the events surrounding the May 13 incident in Malaysia; and cultural exchange and arts activism project Connect 360, run by All Change, that will mentor up to 60 participants from Malaysia, Uganda and Britain.

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