Wide Days - Alex Amor. Copyright - JannicaHoney

Innovations in international cultural  exchange and collaboration

New funding for innovative models of international cultural exchange and collaboration has been awarded to 38 projects. The projects bring together 82 UK and 48 international partners based in over 24 different countries, from Mexico to Kenya, Barbados to Australia and throughout Europe and USA. 

With funding from Creative ScotlandArts Council EnglandArts Council Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International, the pilot Four Nations’ International Fund is backing artist led proposals which address the key issues facing society - social justice, gender identity and environmental sustainability – in innovative new ways.  

Creative Scotland is managing the fund’s application process for the four nations’ arts councils and agencies. On the partnership’s behalf, Paul BurnsCreative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts and Engagement said: 
“International collaboration and exchange are vital for new ideas and new connections between nations to flourish. Developed in partnership with four nations’ arts councils and agencies, this pilot funding will enable artists and creative practitioners across the nations to forge new relationships, develop practice through the sharing of ideas, explore new ways of working, and reach new audiences.    
“Culture is shaped by communities, and while international in their focus these projects have community at their heart. These projects provide an important opportunity to explore with our international counterparts the contemporary issues of our time from environmental sustainability and social justice to working in a post pandemic world following the UK’s departure from the European Union.” 

A selection of projects receiving funding include:  

Glasgow based drag ogre Shrek 666, will join an international cohort of gender-non-conforming drag artists for online/live hybrid residencies led by Oozing Gloop and culminate in an immersive performance presented at each of the core partners’ festivals - Take me Somewhere (Glasgow), Fierce (Birmingham) and Kampnagel (Hamburg).  

Karl Taylor of Take Me Somewhere commented: "This fund will build on Shrek666's enormous local popularity and connect them to their international peers to collectively create a swampy, murky club spectacular for 2023. There are few opportunities in Scotland for ambitious and large-scale alternative drag and club performance projects, so cross-border collaborations facilitated by funds such as this one are essential." 

With support from Belfast based disabled-led arts charity The University of Atypical, Irish performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell will collaborate with Selina Bonelli (Maidstone/England) and Marta Bosowska (Poznan, Poland) on new disability led project, Tairseach (Gaelic) / Próg (Polish) - meaning ‘threshold/the beginning of something’ - to develop a hybrid means of creative engagement using online dialogue, virtual and in person research, and realised through a residency and performance in Belfast.   

Sinéad O’Donnell said: “We are three disparate woman and non-binary performance artists coming together to find new ways of continuing to make art in a post-pandemic world and to develop new and innovative methodologies that can be used by us and other artists. This project is about not just adapting and managing but acknowledging that the world has changed and that our practices will never be the same. We want to use this project to develop new ways of working that encompass the past, the pandemic, but adapts to us.”   

Reclamation is an archival research and theatre project developed by Edinburgh-based writer and producer Aisha Josiah, London-based actor, poet and multidisciplinary artist Rachel Nwokoro, and New York-based director Olivia Songer. The project responds to an Igbo Nigerian artefact currently on display at London's Wellcome Collection, examining how the piece was acquired during 20th-century British colonial rule, exploring its original use in traditional Igbo rituals, and reimagining how this piece can be presented to a contemporary audience. 

Aisha Josiah commented: “The Reclamation project responds to the specific need for cultural institutions to re-examine their exhibitions within a postcolonial context. By engaging with historical pieces and exploring their significance in the present, we are encouraging institutions like Wellcome and the communities they serve to see cultural storytelling as a "two-way street", an ongoing process in which they are equal partners.” 

Wales' Celtic Neighbours Partnership is engineering ‘cultural collisions’ between the smaller nations and language communities of Europe and UK.  Working with rural communities in Ceredigion and the Vale of Glamorgan (Wales), Cornwall, Shetland and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Scotland), Gaeltacht Ireland, Netherlands (Fryslan) and Serbia (Sirogojno) their latest project will involve the exchange of artefacts, art and craftworks, writing and recordings that encapsulate their individual cultures to stimulate friendships, tolerance and shared aspirations.  

English Folk Expo's innovative international collaboration, Global Music Match (founded by Showcase Scotland Expo and GMM partners) will enable global connections for hundreds of folk, world and roots musicians.  

Danny Antrobus, Development Manager, English Folk Expo said: “The team at English Folk Expo are so proud to have helped found Global Music Match, working with our partners around the world to support more than 170 artists across 17 countries to reach new audiences, as well as encouraging exciting collaborations and providing a groundwork for future international touring.  

“As our partnership enters its third year, we’re grateful to receive backing from the Four Nations’ International Fund which will help Global Music Match support even more artists in even more countries and bring amazing global folk and roots music to new audiences.” 

Wide Events CIC, (which hosts Scotland’s Wide Days music convention) will team up with Focus Wales international showcase festival and Mexican vinyl shop and record label, La Roma Records to bring together music industry professionals, music media and export-ready artists from the three countries for market presentations, low-speed meetings and introductions. 

Olaf Furniss, Founder of Wide Days commented: “We’re looking forward to working with our friends at La Roma Records and Focus Wales to connect people and build the foundations for future collaborations and an in-person trade delegation. As a journalist I covered Mexico’s nascent club scene, interviewed some great bands and DJs, and years later hosted our first international Born To Be Wide in Mexico City. It’s great to have the opportunity to bring together Mexico, Scotland and Wales to lay the foundation for future collaborations.”    

The Fund represents one of a series of collaborations between the four UK nations’ arts councils and agencies including the pilot, Arts Infopoint UK initiative offering advice on practical issues relating to artist mobility led by Wales Arts International, and an exploration of mutual and more sustainable approaches to bilateral initiatives with several European countries, such as German Fonds SozioKultur.  

Contact Information

Sophie Bambrough

(+44) 07747 606 146


Notes to editors

For the full list of 4 Nations’ International Fund recipients please see below or download here.   

The £200,000 pilot Four Nations’ International Fund is funded by Creative ScotlandArts Council EnglandArts Council Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International.   
Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland distributing funding provided by the Scottish Government and The National Lottery. Further information at creativescotland.com. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.Learn more about the value of art and creativity in Scotland and join in at www.ourcreativevoice.scot  

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. www.artscouncil.org.uk 

Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts providing support to arts projects throughout the region, through its Treasury and The National Lottery funds.  Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach.  
Wales Arts International is the in-house international agency of the Arts Council of Wales, the public body responsible for funding and developing the arts in Wales. Further information at wai.org.uk and arts.wales. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram  

Media Contact:  Sophie Bambrough, Media & PR Officer, Creative Scotland  
M: +44 (0)7747 606 146