34 UK artists travel overseas to build creative links

This fund helps talented individuals explore work outside the UK and kickstart their international careers

rachelRachael Nanyonjo travelled to Uganda with the support of the Artists International Development Fund. Photo: Davis Elisha Sebulime

We're excited to announce the 34 theatre and dance artists who have received awards from the Artists' International Development Fund (AIDF) in the 18th round of applications. 

AIDF is an initiative from the British Council and Arts Council England to help artists collaborate with other countries and forge international contacts. The fund allows creative practitioners to travel overseas to develop their skills and connect with local organisations, artists and audiences. The programme is open to creative producers, curators, editors and artists as well as architects, fashion designers and designers based in England. 

Since the fund opened in 2012, 788 artists have been awarded a total of £3,358,199 to travel to 116 countries.

Round 18 was the last round of AIDF, and to mark this the British Council offered £250,000 in extra funds to support artists to work in developed countries, including in the EU.

788 artists have been awarded a total of £3,358,199 to travel to 116 countries

“International collaboration between artists develops their experience, creates new networks and promotes their work on the international scene" says Graham Sheffield, British Council Director Arts. "We were delighted to be able to make an additional investment in the final round of AIDF, in the particular hope that it will strengthen artistic partnerships between the UK and countries in the European Union."

Artists who have previously received AIDF support return home with a different perspective. "I feel I have now been challenged to not make work that sits within my comfort zone but to be bold and experiment more", says Rachel Nanyonjo who collaborated with Tabuflo, Ndere Dance Troupe and Mackerere University in Uganda in 2015. "My ideas and views on sustainability as an artist have changed."

If you missed out on AIDF, Arts Council England has announced a new strategic fund: Developing Your Creative Practice — specifically designed to support individual artists to work internationally. Artists will be able to apply for grants of £2,000—10,000. You can also check our handy guide to funding opportunities for UK-based artists to work overseas.



Successful theatre and dance applicants for AIDF Round 18:


Andrew Burton will travel to Utrecht for five days hosted by Het Literatuurhius (House of Literature) to network with, and share best practice in theatre writing with some of Holland's most renowned theatre writers.

Catherine Hoffmann will attend IETM Munich to build new networks, and will travel to Hamburg, Berlin and Frankfurt to build links with venues such as Kampnagel and discuss possible collaboration.

Clare Murphy will travel to Australia and undertake a two week intercultural development of The Line – a collaboration with Irish artists and Aboriginal and white artists from Australia that examines the shared Irish and Aboriginal experiences of colonisation, and the resonances between their cultures.

Cleo Lake will travel to Ghana with New Orleans based poet Michael Quess Moore hosted by Dzuta Dance Theatre. She will develop relationships with dance artists in Ghana and support creating new work that can push beyond the traditional forms whilst maintaining cultural integrity.

David Sheppeard will visit Australia and engage with intersectional queer practice. He will focus on queer work being made by First Nation artists and artists of colour in collaboration with Linda Catalano

Deborah Williams has been invited by Mashirika Performing Arts and Media Company  to work with a group of young disabled people in Rwanda. They will create a new show in the lead up to this year’s Ubumuntu Arts Festival.

Alice Fauve will travel to Poland, visiting Warsaw, Wroclaw and Lubin with host Joanna Wyrwa — Artistic Director of socially-engaged arts company Trampolina. She will explore socially engaged practice in Poland, develop contacts and host joint workshops.

Frauke Requardt will spend 2 weeks in Seoul with co-director David Rosenberg to work with local dancers and parkour specialists. This will feed in to a new version of his 2014 performance The Roof.

Harpreet Kaur will travel to New York to research arts projects by diverse artists, mainly people of colour, to encourage and facilitate diverse artistic responses to climate change. She will bring his learning back to the West Midlands and open doors for collaborations between the US and the UK.

Jamal Gerald will undertake a two-week residency in Trinidad and Tobago, to develop his practice in an international context and research a new show exploring the historic experiences of slaves, colonialism, internalised racism and anti-blackness.

James Manganello travel to Berlin to explore the method of director-dramaturg collaboration in German theatre and opera. He will work with Barrie Kosky during rehearsals for his production of 'La Boheme' at the Komishe Oper and be mentored by Maja Zade, a dramaturg at the Schaubühne theatre. 

Jayne Compton will travel to Skopje, Macedonia where she will meet international LGBTQ+ artists and potential collaborators.  She will attend discussions and workshops around sexuality, meet queer groups and present work at their LGBT+ pride festival to further the development of queer arts and culture in Macedonia.

Jesse Briton will travel to Hong Kong, hosted by acclaimed dance artist Kingsan Lo. She will meet with local artists and organisations to develop new relationships and potential co-producing partners. She will also lead a workshop with theatre makers exploring the plight of domestic workers and mainland Chinese immigrants.

John Joseph Bibby will travel to Mexico to continue his work exploring global expressions of gender non-conformity. He will complete a residency with La Teateria and film material for a new video work at a religious festival which celebrates the third-gendered Muxe people.

Katherina Radeva will travel to Poland to visit the City of Women and Mladi Levi festivals, and to Latvia. She will make new contacts and learn more about the political context at these festivals. This will feed into her work Fallen Fruit, specifically for audiences with experience of the cold war.

Kumiko Mendl will travel to China to undertake a programme of meetings and artistic exchanges in Beijing and Shanghai. She will research models of actor training in China, connect with writers to investigate presenting their work in the UK, and investigate touring possibilities for Yellow Earth and A Thousand Cranes.

Louis Gulliver King will attend a summer intensive in Poland to work with Gardzienice  — an experimental anthropological theatre.  She will study the unique techniques that Gardzienice have developed in order to develop her own practice.

Lucy McCormick will visit New York during the January festival season where she will perform her work Triple Threat. She will also engage with queer female/femme identified cabaret performers, discussing the expectations and permissions given and denied in their performance, and sharing strategies to subvert them.

Matthew Linley will travel to Sweden to visit Stockholm’s Stadsteatern and Malmo City Theatre. He will also visit Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend Sarejevo’s Mess Festival. He will develop a producing framework for two touring projects including finding co-commissioning partners and confirming dates.

Mez Galaria will spend two months in India exploring the history of the country’s dance tradition with a pre-colonial focus. From this she will create a new piece of dance theatre exploring cultural intersection and diasporas resulting in a sharing at Bradford's The Theatre in the Mill in 2019.

Nathalie Clarke will travel to Australia hosted by Back to Back Theatre — a  learning disability led theatre ensemble. She will participate in the company's process and the making of their large scale work. She will also connect with other disability theatre organisations in Melbourne such as RAWCUS and Weave Movement Theatre.

Nathan Geering will travel to South Africa to work with Creative Culture Productions. He will share his experience as Artistic Director of the Special Olympics 2017, and one of the company's dance artists will come to the UK to observe Geering’s work with both disabled and non-disabled artists.  

Nicole Vivien Watson will visit the New York Butoh Institute to participate in their annual festival and connect with the international Butoh community. She has been invited based on her experience of Butoh in Japan and Europe and her commitment to developing the art form in the UK.

Oyejuwon Ogungbe will travel to Zanzibar to work with Farouque Abdela. He will research and develop a new music theatre piece, working with local artists from traditional folk backgrounds. He will present the work in progress at the Zanizibar's Stone Town Amphitheatre. 

Philip Holyman will spend six weeks with Toneelgroep Amsterdam as they create a new show. He will take part in rehearsals, production and scheduling meetings and hold interviews with the directorate and actors.

Rachel Kay will undertake an exchange in Galicia, Spain. She will provide theatre workshops, mentor local hip hop artists, and support the creation of short performance works that will be presented to the local community and sector.

Rebecca Crookshank will travel to Vietnam hosted by the Vietnamese Women's Museum. She will work with local artists through a series of workshops that will centre on female voices from Hanoi, and voices from her home town in rural South Devon. She will develop relationships artists and connect with new writers in Hanoi. 

Ryan Murphy will undertake two weeks of training, exploring using juggling to create scenes of complexity, character and chaos in Madrid, hosted by director and deviser Ana Mirtha Sariego. He will then undertake a juggling and theatre collaboration in Paris with Maia Ayling.

Samantha Bell will undertake a cultural exchange in South Africa and the UK with performer Samukelisiwe Khumalo. They will develop ideas and learn about each other’s cultural, political and historical contexts and present informal sharings.

Sian Haslock will travel to the USA to work collaboratively with Aloft Aerial. She will explore the notion of hidden disability through circus and will share the work with the circus community in Chicago.

Tim Wheeler will undertake a research trip to Hong Kong, China and India. He will attend meetings, workshops and seminars and meet with potential partners. He aims to create systemic change in the way disability is viewed within the cultural sector.

Toby Peach will travel to New York, USA to work with Stupid Cancer. He is developing a programme to create stories for, and with, young adults who have experienced cancer in the UK. His time with Stupid Cancer will allow him to further his methodology and build new relationships.

Topher Campbell will travel to Brazil to learn more about the history of black uprisings, resistance and the aesthetics of theatre in Brazil. This will feed into his new work around black diasporic culture and a future international tour of his work.

Yassmin Foster will travel to Canada to learn about the dance of the African diaspora in Toronto. This project stems from her research into intangible cultural heritage and her career progression in diverse dance advocacy, in particular the inter-generational transfer of cultural in migrant communities.


Find out more:


> Apply for Art Council's England's Developing Your Creative Practice Fund

Read Rachael Nanyonjo’s blog about her AIDF supported trip to Uganda.  

Discover how Nathan Jones took cross-artform poetry across borders

See a case study about Luke Pell's trip to New York to learn more about diverse art in the USA

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