£100,000 funding boost for artistic links between Scotland and Japan

Projects exploring artistic links between Scotland and Japan are receiving a £100,000 boost.

Eleven Scottish projects are being supported to take part in the UK In Japan 2019-20 campaign through a partnership between British Council Scotland and Creative Scotland.

The campaign, showcasing areas such as UK business, science and arts, will start in September 2019 at the same time as the Rugby World Cup, and will close in September 2020 with the culmination of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The British Council will lead on cultural activities in Japan, bringing in work from across the UK in collaboration with a range of partners, while the Japanese government will lead on reciprocal activity in the UK.

The 11 Scottish projects chosen to receive funding cover several art forms, from theatre and music to visual arts and cross-disciplinary practices.

They include the Traverse Theatre, Creative Dundee and Tricky Hat Productions.

Jackie Killeen, director of British Council Scotland, said: “UK In Japan 2019-20 is a unique platform for the selected organisations and individuals to showcase their work and explore new opportunities.

“Japan is an important country for both Scotland and the UK, with a wealth of already established networks and partnerships, and many more waiting to be developed.

“We are very pleased to be working with our partners at Creative Scotland to enable those important international relationships to develop and grow.”

Sunniva Ramsay, creative producer with the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, said they are thrilled to be part of the event.

She said: “The Traverse will connect two Scottish playwrights with residencies in Japan, through which they’ll explore the intercultural similarities and differences between Scottish/Japanese language, culture and landscape, to inform the creation of new works for the stage.

“We hope to connect Scottish playwrights to experiences which will provoke them to consider different methods of theatre-making, to broaden artistic vision and ultimately create bold and exciting new work to be shared and enjoyed by both Scottish and international audiences.”

Creative Dundee also made a successful bid to the fund.

Gillian Easson, the organisation’s director, said: “Seemingly unconnected, the cities of Dundee and Kobe have experienced dramatic periods of renewal, resilience and have rebuilt their civic confidence through culture and design. As a result, both cities have been recognised as Unesco Cities of Culture.

“We are thrilled to be working with our partners, Unesco City of Design, Dundee, and Design and Creative Center Kobe (Kitto), supported by the British Council and Creative Scotland to run Small Society Lab Japan x Scotland in May 2020.

“Bringing artists, designers, technologists and citizens together across the two cities, the simultaneous Labs will feature live link-ups, enabling communities to share, learn from each other and explore how we inhabit our city spaces of the future.”

The value of each award ranges from £9,000 to £11,500.

The other organisations receiving funds are Jane Bentley, North Lands Creative, Julie Brook, Rachel Aisling Smith, Feral, Susan Christie, Gordon Douglas and Lateral Lab.