New UK-GCC youth initiative uses art to build bridges

Tue, 2020-06-30 23:55

LONDON: A new collaboration between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will create opportunities for young artists to foster new connections while bridging the divide caused by coronavirus travel restrictions.
The Connect ME initiative, launched by the Arab British Centre in partnership with the British Council, will provide digital residency opportunities for young artists from GCC countries and the UK.
The initiative will pair an artist in the UK with one based in the Gulf to create new collaborative work that considers how digital tools can encourage connectivity across borders.  
“Now more than ever, we want to support emerging talent and offer opportunities to artists to develop their practice, create new collaborative work, and make new connections across borders,” said Amani Hassan, program director of the Arab British Centre.
With a focus on building ties between creative communities, the program will “serve as an opportunity for artists across the UK and GCC to build new friendships, and confront the universal challenges facing emerging creatives the world over,” she added. 
Artists aged 18-30 from any discipline can apply for the program, and their art can be “anything from an augmented reality experience to a short film, a zine, (or) a live performance,” the Arab British Centre said in a press release.
The only stipulation is that the art must be delivered to the public digitally and must be capable of stimulating international connections and creativity.
If successful, applicants will receive £1,000 ($1,229) in funding, as well as a host of mentoring and educational opportunities.
Cultural exchange remains a cornerstone of the UK-GCC relationship, with various initiatives already active and creating deeper mutual understanding through artistic collaboration.

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