Today the Cultural Bridge programme has announced 20 partnerships between UK and German-based organisations, who have been awarded a total of £310,000 in funding to develop artistic practices and projects exploring themes and issues faced by communities across both countries.

With investment from seven major partners: Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London, Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, British Council, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International, Cultural Bridge is a unique collaboration between the UK and Germany. 

The 2024 - 2025 programme marks the network’s third year of funding artistic exchange between the UK and Germany, bringing the total number of organisations supported by Cultural Bridge since 2021 to 72, through 42 awards supporting 35 partnerships. Four of the 2023 - 2024 partnerships have been awarded additional funding to further develop their work and several of the previously funded organisations continue to connect and share practice.

The open call for applicants to the 2024 - 2025 funding exceeded expectations, with 138 applications from potential partnerships between the UK and Germany, demonstrating the cultural sector’s desire to learn, share and develop work that enables social change through international collaboration. Applications were assessed and reviewed by an independent jury of professionals across the UK and Germany.

The partnerships being announced today will explore a wide range of themes and artforms, from prison theatre, youth led and disability led work, climate change, migrant activism, feminism, rural arts and more. 

Examples of the 20 funded partnerships include Feminism and Migrant Activism, a new partnership between Stellar Quines (Fife, Scotland) and MPower (Berlin, Germany) exploring socially engaged and co-created work with young women; ARCHITEXTS OF CHANGE, a new partnership between Angeprangert! Spoken Word (Weißwasser, Germany) and Young Identity (Manchester, England) exploring shared histories from coal mines to urban development, by bringing together young poets through spoken word; ENTER: Robots exchange, an existing partnership between Hijinx Theatre (Cardiff, Wales) and tanzbar-bremen e.V. (Bremen, Germany) that will bring together learning disabled and neurodivergent artists to develop a large-scale street theatre performance and The Shake, an existing and previously funded partnership between The MAC (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and coculture e.V. (Berlin, Germany) exploring artistic exchange between asylum seeker communities that invites coculture’s lead artist Khaled Barakeh to co-create a space for socially engaged arts practice with the MAC and community partners. 

Caitlin Skinner, Artistic Director and CEO at Stellar Quines said: As a feminist theatre company this award provides a rare and important opportunity for us to collaborate with and learn from another organisation using co-creation with young women to make change. This kind of artistic and skills development will enable us to nourish, inspire and grow the ambition of our company and the young people we work with so that we can continue to work towards a just future for all.”

Elaine Forde, Creative Learning Manager at The MAC said: “We are delighted to receive continued support from Cultural Bridge which will enable us to deepen our partnership with coculture, who are rooted in the intersectionality between art, activism & community building & supports exiled cultural artists. Our project will use grassroots activism & contemporary art practice to explore social justice issues using socially engaged practice.”

The 2024 – 2025 partnerships are:

Tier one (new partnerships receiving funding up to £10k):

  • ARCHITEXTS OF CHANGE - Angeprangert! Spoken Word (Weißwasser, Germany) and Young Identity (Manchester)
  • Bridging Rural Communities - People, Process, Places - Dyffryn Dyfodol CIC (Llanrwst, Wales) and Syndikat Gefährliche Liebschaften (Quakenbrück, Germany)
  • Chemnitz & Manchester Residency - Quarantine (Manchester, England) and ASA-FF e.V./ Freundinnen- und Förderkreis Arbeits- und Studienaufenthalte in Afrika, Asien und Lateinamerika (Chemnitz, Germany)
  • Co-creating across borders: A tale of two cities - Brighton People's Theatre CIO (Brighton, England) and English Theatre Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany)
  • Collectively Crossing: Affiliation Bridges - Kunstverein Leipzig (Leipzig, Germany) and Bistro 21 and Bidston Observatory Artistic Research Centre (BOARC) (Prenton, England)
  • Colour Stories. Sharing journeys of a dyer's garden - artpark Hoher Berg UG gemeinnützig (Schermbeck, Germany) and Brink! (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
  • Common Values, Shared Dreams - The Mighty Creatives (Leicester, England) and Werkhaus e.V. (Krefeld, Germany)
  • Empowering mixedabled/inclusive dance across international communities - Anjali Dance Company (Derby, England) and (Horben, Germany)
  • Feminism and Migrant activism - Stellar Quines Ltd (Fife, Scotland) and MPower (Berlin, Germany)
  • New sustainable models for artist-led spaces - Assembly House CIC (Leeds, England) and E-WERK Luckenwalde (Luckenwalde, Germany)
  • The Invisible City - Tortoise in a Nutshell (Edinburgh, Scotland) and Theater Gruene Sosse (Frankfurt, Germany)
  • Uncomfortable Dialogues - Unveiling Marginalized Black Experiences through Dance, Film, and Storytelling - MINCE e.V. (Berlin, Germany) and Miss Lulu Creates LTD (London, England)
  • Unlocked - Geese Theatre Company (Birmingham, England) and aufBruch (Berlin, Germany)
  • Wetland: sharing practices of care and hospitality to engage communities and redfine former industrial spaces - Cement Fields (Kent, England) and Floating e.V. (Berlin, Germany)

Tier two (existing partnerships receiving funding up to £30k):

  • An Audio Hunt in Easterhouse - Produced Moon (Glasgow, Scotland) and Storydive (Hamburg, Germany)
  • ENTER: Robots exchange - Hijinx Theatre (Cardiff, Wales) and tanzbar-bremen e.V. (Bremen, Germany)
  • Let the Grassroots Grow - SET Centre CIO (London, England) and riesa efau (Dresden, Germany)
  • My Body is my Castle - An intergenerational and performative research - 4.D (Dortmund, Germany) and ACCA (Leeds, England)
  • Rap School of Life - Improving Language and Mental Health - Kanzi GmbH (Berlin, Germany), Forward Ever Education CIC and Hip Hop HEALS (Birmingham, England)
  • The Shake - The MAC (Belfast, Northern Ireland) and coculture e.V. (Berlin, Germany)

“We're delighted to continue investing in Cultural Bridge with our partners across the UK and in Germany, and we are excited to see the impact of this next round of partnerships.  They will build on the work the programme has already done to create new connections between communities in England and Germany, giving artists and organisations a chance to develop ideas and projects in collaboration with their peers and to gain new insights by working across borders.” Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive Arts & Culture at Arts Council England

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to partner with Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London and our arts funding colleagues across these islands in the Cultural Bridge programme.  This important initiative offers a valuable opportunity for our artists to engage with their counterparts in the UK and Germany with the aim of using the arts to connect communities, develop shared understanding and facilitate social change through the creation of new, artistic work.  Congratulations to all those who have received support in the third round of funding of this important initiative, I look forward to seeing the projects as they develop.” Gilly Campbell, Joint Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland 

“I am thrilled that Hijinx Theatre and Dyffryn Dyfodol CIC have been selected as part of Cultural Bridge 2024-2025. This will allow them to engage with their partner organisations in Germany, facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experience in socially engaged practices and community work. Our ongoing collaboration with Cultural Bridge continues to provide Welsh arts organisations with the chance to participate in international initiatives, fostering new connections with partners in Germany and throughout the UK.”
Dafydd Rhys, CEO Arts Council of Wales 

“As a founding partner of Cultural Bridge, we are delighted to see the programme go from strength to strength since the pilot phase in 2021. Intercultural exchange through participative arts and culture aligns perfectly with our organisational values, and the development of bilateral UK-Germany partnerships involving all four of the UK nations is a key part of our core mission. A fascinating and diverse group of partnerships has been selected in this year’s cohort, and we are excited to discover how they develop their practice together over the coming months. This is a truly unique project which is seen as best practice in our organisation.” Helga Stellmacher, Country Director Germany at British Council

“International collaboration and creativity support arts and culture in both local and global communities. Even more so for the selected youth initiatives in Scotland, enabling young people to develop and use their creative voice across a variety of platforms, sharing and learning from their peers throughout the UK and Germany.  Made possible through Cultural Bridge, this approach enriches the lives of participants and their societies.”
Iain Munro, Chief Executive at Creative Scotland

“We are enthusiastic about the ideas and ambitions of the cooperating organisations in the UK and Germany, the overwhelming response we received during our latest call out for applicants demonstrated a strong appetite for support to develop intercultural partnerships. As a nationwide fund in Germany we are thrilled that towns and villages from nine Federal States in Germany will exchange new approaches with their partner organisations in the four nations England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, connecting people, arts, countries and nations. A clear statement on cultural democracy.” Mechthild Eickhoff, Executive Manager at Fonds Soziokultur

“The Cultural Bridge programme moves from strength to strength and we are delighted to continue to support exchange and growth of organisations in the UK and Germany, built on the foundations of cultural reciprocity. Cultural Bridge beautifully represents the Goethe-Institut’s mission of connecting through culture, so we are pleased to see yet again, and this time even more, brilliant grassroots organisations taking the opportunity to learn and improve their practice alongside each other. We look forward to seeing the funded projects develop over the coming year.” Dr Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Director, Goethe-Institut London

Image: Rap School of Life - Improving Language and Mental Health