Transforming Narratives (Birmingham, Pakistan, Bangladesh) Open Call Research and Development Grants 2018-19

Culture Central, Birmingham and the British Council are seeking expressions of interest from cultural and heritage organisations, artists and creative practitioners from all disciplines and heritage practitioners who are working in Bangladesh, Pakistan and UK to undertake research, artistic exchange and/or develop potential collaborations, as part of the Transforming Narratives project in Birmingham and cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Transforming Narratives aims to establish Birmingham as a leading international cultural centre for contemporary South Asian arts practice presenting multi-art forms  through an artistic exchange programme for the mutual benefit of Birmingham and cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. 

Transforming Narratives is a project managed by Culture Central, Birmingham and being delivered in partnership with The British Council and 12 Birmingham-based cultural partners. It has been made possible through funding from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence programme. 

Apply by 30 November 2018  for research to take place between December 2018 and April 2019.

What we are offering:

  • Research grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to individuals or organisations who can demonstrate an exciting proposal for initial research and exchange which could lay strong foundations for artistic projects that could take place between 2019-2021 involving partners in Birmingham/UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 
  • Research proposals should involve partners in Birmingham working with Pakistan and/or Bangladesh and should demonstrate meaningful enquiry and research process. 
  • The emphasis in the research should be on building relationships through shared enquiry, sharing artistic and creative practice, intercultural dialogue and exchange, and the development of artistic collaborations and ways of working together.

Research could take the form of:

  • A programme of go-see visits and meetings with potential artists and partners; 
  • finding out more about your chosen art forms’ ecosystem in a particular country  or countries, through on the ground engagement with each other’s work
  • A number of days of workshopping ideas and carrying out collaborative R n D. 
  • meeting arts organisations to explore programming or collaboration opportunities.  
  • a period of artistic collaboration, 
  • and/or attending events and festivals with a view to programming or curating work in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh. 
  • Artistic programme
  • Cultural leadership development 
  • Audience development and engagement with a strong focus on diversity 
  • Archiving culturally diverse work produced by minority ethnic artists
  • Critical exchange and dialogue /Reflections on practice and intercultural relations. 

Research proposals will need to make a contribution to some of the five key areas of the Transforming Narratives project which is working to deliver a step-change in the cultural relationships between Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh and to focus on the reciprocal exchange of contemporary cultural practices between these countries and the UK.  These are:

All proposals will need to demonstrate: 

  • The quality of the artistic idea, rigour in the enquiry process and the rationale for wanting to undertake it; The quality of the creative personnel and organisations involved in the research,; the quality of the proposed activity and what makes it original or distinctive. We will be keen to see how the proposed research genuinely links to your own creative practice, ethos and values and your organisation’s strategy, policies  and longer term plans as well as demonstrating a clear reason for wanting to undertake this research.  

The proposals should also detail how your project will address one or more of the following areas:

  • How your research could develop the applicant as a cultural and city leader, or will offer development opportunities to others as part of the process. Leadership development of a new generation of talented cultural producers and curators in Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh is one of the key objectives of the Transforming Narratives project
  • How your research will contribute to critical exchange and dialogue about the cultural relationship between Birmingham, Pakistan and Bangladesh and offer new contemporary perspectives on that relationship. 
  • How it is proposed to share the research experiences and learning with your peers, other cultural organisations in your own context and your networks. 
  • How you propose to document your research and contribute it to the archive of the project. The TN project is working to create an ongoing archive of South Asian contemporary work, working with Birmingham Museums Trust and SADAA (South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive). We would want the documentation of this work to make a contribution to this archive. 
  • How you would see the research contributing to innovative audience development (in Birmingham, Pakistan or Bangladesh) and to engaging new and non-traditional audiences, potentially in non-traditional ways. 

The Grant

The British Council will award research grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 to proposals to undertake research in Birmingham, UK, Pakistan or Bangladesh between November 2018 and April 2019. This would cover reasonable costs incurred in the making of the visit. 

What applicants can apply for:

Grantees can apply to conduct  an independent research visit. This type of visit would be supported by the British Council on the ground . Read more about guidelines for these visits. 

Visitors to Bangladesh and Pakistan would also need to be hosted by a known partner organisation in the city/cities/areas they are visiting and working in. Applicants would need to be able to evidence that they have some experience of working, travelling in and visiting the relevant country / place and that they understand that, while the British Council have a primary duty of care, they also need to take responsibility for their own safety. Applicants will be asked to give details of their host partner and are advised to travel with a companion if possible. 

Organisations from Bangladesh and Pakistan can apply for a self-directed visit to the UK but also have the option of applying to be part of a specially curated delegation organised by the British Council (lasting approximately 1 week) in Birmingham. This visit would take place in February 2019. The Culture Central partners working with the British Council, lasting approximately one week in Birmingham towards the end of February 2018 

This curated visit to Birmingham would involve introducing the group of visitors to the rich cultural scene in Birmingham and many organisations in the city’s diverse cultural sector. You can find a full list of these organisations here. We would request that those who apply for the curated visit identify their particular interest in particular organisations in the city or in particular kinds of practices they would like to engage with. 

Criteria for applicants:

The successful applicant is likely to:

  • Be an arts organisation or individual based in Bangladesh, Pakistan or Birmingham, UK or with a demonstrated commitment to working in at least one of these places
  • Have a minimum of three years professional experience in their sector; or provide evidence of proven artistic potential 
  • Demonstrate how the research proposal aligns with (or addresses) the key areas outlined above. 
  • Demonstrate some experience in working with international partners to deliver collaborative arts projects or programmes;
  • Have a basic knowledge of their chosen art sector in the region which is being visited (although the British Council and Culture Central will provide support in putting together a detailed programme for the curated visits);
  • Have mapped out in outline terms a proposed programme to meet their objectives (if self-organised) or an outline of what you might like to engage with as part of a curated programme. 

On a more practical note, applicants should:

  • Be able to travel between November 2018 and April 2019 (find out more about our international visit guidelines)
  • Have researched and made contact with relevant partners
  • Be able to evidence that they have partners or hosts organised in the other countries/cities where they will work 
  • Have researched and made contact with relevant partners

How to apply

Complete the application form, outlining a summary of your proposed project. Any supporting materials must be provided in PDF format, high res photos or MP4s (maximum 10mb) and can be sent via We Transfer or other means. 

Find out more about our international visit guidelines

Email your application form to transformingnarratives@culturecentral.co.uk

The closing date for submissions is 5pm GMT on Friday 30 November 2018.

Selection 

Applications will be assessed against the project aims and criteria outlined above. They will be reviewed by a group of the Transforming Narratives partners. including representatives from the British Council, Culture Central and the Transforming Narratives network in Birmingham through a participatory process. 

Successful applicants will be notified by 18 December 2018.

Transforming Narratives: open call international visit guidelines