Transforming Narratives increase funding for online art

Eighteeen artists sharing £75,000 to create new digital collaborations.

Eighteen creative and cultural practitioners from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Birmingham have been awarded grants to create new artworks, develop artistic relationships and hold online events as part of the Transforming Narratives Digital Collaborations programme.

The successful creative and cultural practitioners will receive grants worth a total of £75,000, after the initial funding pot of £50,000 was increased in response to the quality of the applications.

The new works, which span visual arts, music, dance, theatre and combined arts, will be created between now and December 2020. Each digital project seeks to link creative and cultural practitioners and communities in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Birmingham, England.

Sophina Jagot, Transforming Narratives Project Manager said: “We had an incredible response to the Digital Collaborative Grants Open Call, a new funding stream developed to respond to the on-going pandemic and its impact. As a result, we were able to increase the funds available both reflecting the quality of applications and the number of artists we wanted to support in all three countries.

“The Transforming Narratives programme is all about making connections between artists and creative practitioners in Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and it seemed to us now more than ever we needed to support the cultural sector in making those connections. We are delighted by the many new and existing connections that these projects promise to make and develop. Both in terms of artists making connections for the first time but also in terms of the communities and people the funding will enable the commissioned artists to connect with.”

Bangladesh-based artist and curator Nafid Ahmed of BLKBX is one of the eighteen artists and practitioners to receive grant funding. Nafis said: “My response to this open call, in partnership with the Birmingham Museums Trust, is an outcome from research visits between Bangladesh and Birmingham through Transforming Narratives since early 2019. This commission will enable us to bring about a meaningful and timely narrative in the context of ‘Dystopia’, one that addresses the visible effects of the pandemic in Bangladesh, but also highlights the abstract causality of decades of systemic disruptions in the country. The commission will also enable us to invite a Birmingham-based new-media artist to highlight the spirit of Dystopia in Birmingham.”

The successful projects become part of the Transforming Narratives artistic programme. Transforming Narratives is a ground-breaking three-year project to establish Birmingham as a leading international centre for contemporary Pakistani and Bangladeshi arts, for the mutual benefit of Birmingham and cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is managed by Culture Central, supported by Arts Council England and delivered in association with The British Council.

Follow the projects over the coming months via

Front pic – David Rowan