Image © vier.D by Klaus Pfeiffer (Female Spaces partner)
The Cultural Bridge programme has announced 15 partnerships between UK and German-based organisations, who have been awarded funding to develop cultural projects exploring issues facing 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 the first project that sees all organisations collaborate on a single fund.
The aim of the Cultural Bridge programme is to act as a platform of artistic exchange, enabling artists to strengthen the exchange between the UK and Germany and foster cultural collaboration. It does this by providing funding for partnerships to develop projects around specific themes, including: community engagement in post-industrial areas, working in areas or with communities that have fewer opportunities to engage with cultural practice or those transformed by grass-roots movements, and projects that explore redefining the use of public space.
The new programme follows a pilot year that funded the creation of 7 partnerships between 2021-2022. Three of the pilot projects, ENTER, FAILSTONE and Ode to Earth (Phase 2) have been awarded funding to continue to develop their projects through Cultural Bridge 2023 - 2024. Key learnings and the impact of the pilot year programme are available through the evaluation report, written and produced by tialt.
The 2023 – 2024 programme partnerships applied through an open call which received over 95 applications, a testament to the international cultural sector’s commitment to developing work that enables social change. Applications were assessed and reviewed by an independent jury of professionals across the UK and Germany.
The 2023 – 2024 partnerships are:
Tier one (new partnerships receiving funding up to £10k):
Tier two (existing partnerships receiving funding up to £30k):
Commenting on the programme and new partnerships, the funding stakeholders have said:
"We are thrilled at the variety and richness of the projects that have been selected to participate in Cultural Bridge this year. The focus on arts organisations with clear ambition to provide greater arts access and to develop socially engaged arts practice complements our wider programme of work, both here at the Goethe-Institut London and with our colleagues working globally. From new beginnings to established European partnerships, we look forward to seeing this collaborative UK/German project evolve and mature into the future.”
Dr Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Director, Goethe-Institut London
"What a thrill to see the second year of partnerships agreed upon under the great ‘Cultural Bridge’ programme. In 2021/22, some of the most creative, socially alert cultural groups of practitioners in Germany and across the UK brilliantly demonstrated how culturally like-minded Germany and the UK are. We know this next stage will play to our bilateral creative strengths even more impressively.”
Paul Smith OBE, Country Director Germany, British Council
“By investing in international collaborations we help to enrich the cultural life of England and our partners around the world, as well as creating new opportunities for artists to develop their skills and network with their peers. We’re delighted to invest in these new projects, as well as increasing funding for existing partnerships to build on the fantastic work already made possible by the programme.” Simon Mellor, Deputy CEO, Arts and Culture at Arts Council England
“Cross-cultural collaboration and exchange made possible through the Cultural Bridge programme is empowering grassroots creative communities to take agency over their skills, experience, and passion to drive local, community transformation. The shared learning and development of new approaches to socially engaged arts practice through Cultural Bridge will further demonstrate the fundamental role that arts and culture play in underpinning our communities and how they help forge social progress.” Iain Munro, Chief Executive, Creative Scotland
“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 work. Congratulations to all those who have received support through this important initiative.”
Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland
“I’m delighted that Head 4 Arts and National Dance Company Wales have been selected as part of Cultural Bridge and will be able to take this opportunity to connect with their partner organisations in Germany, sharing and learning from their respective socially engaged practices and work within communities. Our partnership with Cultural Bridge continues to offer valuable opportunities for arts organisations from Wales to engage and work internationally and forge new connections with partners in Germany and across the UK.” Dafydd Rhys, CEO Arts Council of Wales