Monday 18 January 2021

The British Council today announced recipients of the Digital Collaboration Fund, supporting UK and overseas cultural partnerships to develop digitally innovative ways of collaborating. We are delighted to announce that two Palestinian arts organisations, Ashtar for Theatre Productions and Freedom Theatre Jenin Refugee Camp, are among the 27 awarded projects globally.

The pilot Fund offered grants of up to £50,000 to UK-based arts organisations partnering with selected Official Development Assistance (ODA) countries, to support the sector in its response to increased travel restrictions due to the global pandemic and the need for more sustainable approaches to future international ways of working. 

The Fund continues the British Council’s work building connection, understanding and trust between people in the UK and overseas through arts, education and English language teaching. The pilot has been made possible using existing ODA funding (government aid promoting and targeting the economic development and welfare of developing countries) from the UK Government and will support the global arts sector at a time of significant challenge. 

Martin Daltry, Director British Council Palestine, said: ‘Given the severe impact of the pandemic and the urgency to develop sustainable ways of collaborating, supporting innovative ideas to enable artists and organisations to connect internationally is more important than ever. We are delighted that two UK-Palestinian projects have been successful in this very competitive global call and look forward to their collaborations in 2021.’

The Fund’s beneficiaries, a total of 27 projects, reflect a diverse range of organisations, more than a third of which had not applied for British Council funding before. Each project was carefully considered by a jury of sector professionals to ensure representation across a wide geographical spread and art forms. 

Among the beneficiaries there is a UK/Palestinian digital festival helping young people address mental health, the global pandemic and racial justice, led by Mandala Theatre Company (England) and ASHTAR For Theatre Productions (Occupied Palestinian Territories). 

Iman Aoun, Artistic Director of Ashtar Theatre, said: "ASHTAR Theatre is very glad to have won this grant. It has been a continuous desire for ASHTAR Theatre to host Mandala Theatre from Oxford at ASHTAR International Youth Theatre Festival. This grant will make this dream come true, and will help our youth to plan and implement the festival together which forms real cultural ties between them."

As well as, The Revolution's Promise (Theatre) presented by Relative Motion (England), The Freedom Theatre Jenin Refugee Camp (Occupied Palestinian Territories) and Creative Destruction (England). The project consists of an Arabic/English made-for Virtual Reality theatre production/experience capturing the personal stories and creative legacies of leading artists from the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Ahmad Tobasi, Artistic Director of the Freedom Theatre said: "This year is the 10th anniversary of the murder of Juliano Mer Khamis founder and artistic director of The Freedom Theatre and we are proud to continue his legacy of practicing cultural resistance through our work including this project. We are excited to be working with our associate company Creative Destruction as well as Relative Motion on a VR version of ‘The Revolution’s Promise’ and are thrilled to have received the support of The British Council to make this happen."

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