New UKGCC youth ini­tia­tive uses art to build bridges

Arab News - - News Middle East - Arab News 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 ties, with var­i­ous ini­tia­tives al­ready ac­tive and cre­at­ing deeper mu­tual un­der­stand­ing through artis­tic col­lab­o­ra­tion.

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