Culture Works Connections

Applicant: Visiting Arts (United Kingdom)
Location: Fiji, Samoa, Cook Islands, American Samoa, French Polynesia, Solomon Islands, Tonga, East Timor, Hawaii, Rapanui, Guam, Palau, Papua New-Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Kiribati, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa.
Duration: 36 months
Amount of the grant: 444 120 €
Project url: website
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Click here to download the project factsheet

Culture Works Connections project leader, Visiting Arts, in partnership with Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Trinidad and Tobago, The Africa Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, The Pacific Arts and Culture Foundation, Suva, Fiji aimed at building an arts community and lasting network of cultural operators based in more than fifteen countries in the Pacific, the Caribbean and Africa.

Read our best practice here.

The project includes:

WCC Creative Skills training for artists and creative practitioners, designed to increase awareness and knowledge of the platforms tools and opportunities that exist to grow their creative businesses and promote their work to local and international audiences and partners.

The development and management of World Cultures Connect (WCC) - a new digital hub for international arts and cultural professionals, which Creative Skills participants are encouraged to explore the benefits of to promote their work, discover new ideas and intelligence, and connect with new partners, audiences and markets. WCC also gives the public an insight into the cultural offer of countries and how to engage with arts and culture worldwide.

The opportunity for selected participants from all the workshop sessions to convene in the UK for a networking week and to showcase their work during the Edinburgh Festivals. The results of the programme will be shared during this time at Visiting Arts annual International Producers’ Breakfast in partnership with Creative Scotland.

World Cultures Connect homepage

PROJECT PROGRESS is now live with over 15,000 arts professionals and organisations listed, current opportunities and events posted by the WCC network, insightful resources focused on international mobility and informative cultural directories.

The WCC Creative Skills training programme took place in EthiopiaMalawiTrinidad and TobagoFiji and Guam. Following intensive workshop sessions, the participants have been receiving virtual presentations and surgery sessions with experts to support self-directed learning and strategic planning. Their news can be followed on WCC.

In Trinidad and Tobago the training was led by Kate McBain, a freelance creative strategist and training consultant and C. Brian Williams, Founder and Executive Director of Step Afrika!. On Tuesday 20th October, WCC also held the inaugural ACPCultures+ Creative Networks event with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts – read about it in The Guardian, Trinidad & Tobago. See the summary of activities on Storify.

Tom Porter, who led the Africa training programme is Director of Arts, sub-Saharan Africa at the British Council. Read his reflections on the workshops here

In Africa, regional coordinators are Abel Asarat who is Wikipedian In Residence for the WikiAfrica project initiated by the Africa Centre, and Malawian author, filmmaker, and historian, Michael Phoya. On Friday 13th November at Jupiter Hotel, Bole, alongside the training, the inaugural WCC Creative Networks Event hosted by Visiting Arts and The Africa Centre took place, involving a discussion around ‘How can we make creativity pay for Ethiopian artists creative and the cultural sector?’. Tom Porter and Mary Helen Young were joined by eminent speakers, Meskerem Assegued, International Curator and Founder of ZCAC, Alison Primrose, Writer and Director of Arts and Partnerships, British Council Ethiopia, Metesabia Yoseph of Addis Design Week and Director, Producer and Composer, Dicken Marshall of Rafiki Publishing. This event was an opportunity for artists, creatives and leading figures from Ethiopia’s cultural industries to network and share experiences of working internationally. The afternoon event also allowed the Creative Skills participants to reflect upon what they are engaging with and to further explore their professional ambitions, among like-minded professionals and key stakeholders in the arts. 

On November 18th, Visiting Arts and The Africa Centre held a WCC Creative Networks Event on ‘Making Arts Pay’ at MHub, where Mary Helen Young and Tom Porter were joined by Reena Johl from the British Council, Rosebill Satha-Sambo of Malawi Tourism Council, Will Jameson of Lake of Stars and Milika Kalyati. The event brought Creative Skills participants together with other local arts innovators as well as key stakeholders to explore routes towards international working for artists and creative professionals in Malawi. Click here for the summary of activities on Storify. 

In April 2016, internationally renowned Festival Director Jonathan Holloway and Letila Mitchell who is founder of the Pacific Arts Alliance led a workshop programme at the Fiji Museum in Suva. Read an overview of the workshops here. Following this, Visiting Arts partnered with the Pacific Arts Alliance at the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam, delivering a Green Room space catering to all the festival delegates with a free networking space and programme of workshops, individual mentoring sessions and discussion groups, with speakers including Chili Hawes from October Gallery in London.

Following the training, Visiting Arts invited selected participants from the workshops to visit Edinburgh in August 2016 as Ambassadors for their regions and take part in a series of events where they were able to make new international connections, participate in exchange opportunities, promote the cultural offerings of their local arts communities and share knowledge and skills gained from the training. 

A number of the Ambassadors have already been approached regarding opportunities to present their work and collaborate. Damian WhiskeyGeorge Kalukusha and Mtima Solwazi performed at the opening reception with welcome speeches from Visiting Arts Executive Director Yvette Vaughan Jones, Roy Luxford of Edinburgh International Festival and Astrid Audibert, Team Leader at ACP Cultures+. George Kalukusha also performed live on the Janice Forsyth Show and spoke about his WCC experience. VOU Dance Company was announced as the 2016 winner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Sustainable Practice Award for their production 'Are We Stronger Than Winston?' choreographed by WCC Ambassador Navi Fong.

The group had a fruitful day discussing the potential opportunities and challenges for international working within the arts with Scottish arts professionals and also met with local arts spaces to find out more about how they operate. See highlights from the discussions on Twitter with the hashtag #WCCtraining.

WCC Ambassadors - Trinidad & Tobago based writer Rochelle Amour, Ebonie Fifita of ON THE SPOT Arts Initiative from Tonga, Ethiopian storyteller Tesfaye Weldemedhin, and Malawi based McArthur Matukusha of Solomonic Peacocks Theatre - joined Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan and Holland Festival Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie for a panel discussion around the role of festivals in platforming new and marginalised voices at Visiting Arts International Producers Breakfast. The Producers Breakfast is an annual event creating the opportunity for 200 UK and international producers, programmers and creators with a passion for international and intercultural performance to come together, make new connections and sow seeds of collaboration, exchange and partnership for the coming year. This year the event provided a unique opportunity for delegates to meet selected participants of the World Cultures Connect Creative Skills Training ProgrammeSee the photos on Facebook. The event is also captured on Storify.

More about the World Cultures Connect workshops: Watch this video with clips from participants and trainers

See highlights from the Edinburgh visit on Storify.

Find out more about World Cultures Connect.


C. Brian Williams leading WCC Creative Skills workshops in Trinidad & Tobago


Creative Skills participants in Ethiopia with lead trainer Tom Porter and Mary Helen Young of Visiting Arts

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