Funding, Organisations, Partnerships

Beyond Skin, DU Dance & The MAC to collaborate with leading German arts organisations

18th January, 2023

The projects are part of 15 partnerships between UK and German-based organisations, who have been awarded funding, through the Cultural Bridge programme, to develop projects exploring socially engaged arts and cultural practice.

A group of young musicians and dancers performing around a large tree.
Beyond Skin, Ode to Earth project

With investment from seven major partners: Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London, Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, British Council, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International, Cultural Bridge is the first project that sees all organisations collaborate on a single fund.

The aim of the Cultural Bridge programme is to act as a platform of artistic exchange, enabling others to discuss social issues, strengthen the exchange between the UK and Germany and foster collaboration and cultural democracy. It does this by providing funding for partnerships to develop projects around specific themes including community engagement in post-industrial areas, working in areas or with communities that have fewer opportunities to engage with cultural practice or those transformed by grass-roots activism and projects that explore redefining the use of public space.

The new programme follows a pilot year that funded the creation of 7 partnerships between 2021-2022. Three of the pilot projects, ENTER, FAILSTONE and Ode to Earth (Phase 2) have been awarded funding to continue to develop their projects through Cultural Bridge 2023 - 2024. Key learnings and the impact of the pilot year programme is available through the evaluation report published today on the Cultural Bridge website at

The 2023 – 2024 programme partnerships applied through an open call which received over 95 applications, a testament to the international cultural sector’s commitment to developing work that enables social change. Applications were assessed and reviewed by an independent jury of professionals across UK and Germany.

Dr Katharina von Ruckteschell-Katte, Director, Goethe-Institut London said:

“We are thrilled at the variety and richness of the projects that have been selected to participate in Cultural Bridge this year. The focus on arts organisations with clear ambition to provide greater arts access and to develop socially engaged arts practice complements our wider programme of work, both here at the Goethe-Institut London and with our colleagues working globally. From new beginnings to established European partnerships, we look forward to seeing this collaborative UK/German project evolve and mature into the future.”

Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to partner with Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London and our arts funding colleagues across these islands in the Cultural Bridge programme. This important initiative offers a valuable opportunity for our artists to engage with their counterparts in the UK and Germany with the aim of using the arts to connect communities, develop shared understanding and facilitate social change through the creation of new work. Congratulations to DU Dance, Beyond Skin, The MAC and all those who have received support through this important initiative.” 

Beyond Skin, DU Dance (Northern Ireland) and VILLA Leipzig (Germany) will develop phase 2 of their project, Ode to Earth. The project will allow for cultural engagement on multiple levels, including engagement with young people from another country, travel and new cultural experiences, as well as interaction with music, dance, theatre and civic engagement as cultural mediums. The result is that young people will build a global network, feel more connected to the global community and other countries, and experience art as a medium for creative and cultural political expression and activism.

Philipp Niese on behalf of VILLA Leipzig and Beyond Skin & DU Dance said:

"With the help of the new funding, we are not only able to maintain our partnership, but have also been able to gain a new partner. This will enable us to give our young participants even greater opportunities to promote exchange between Belfast and Leipzig, and thus make a creative contribution to combating climate change."

The MAC (Northern Ireland) and coculture e.V. (Germany) will develop a project called ‘At The Table’, a project that will address issues faced by asylum seekers and refugees, support campaigning for changes to national immigration rules, combat negative stereotyping of migrants and work to improve the integration of migrants into wider society.

Elaine Forde on behalf of The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) and coculture e.V. said,

“The MAC Belfast and coculture Berlin are delighted to have been awarded funding from Cultural Bridge. Through our collaboration, we aim to use the arts to explore themes of migration, asylum and sanctuary by co-designing and producing socially engaged projects with people seeking asylum. By working in partnership, both organisations will learn new practices and have greater ability to effect positive change for individuals and the communities in which we work.”

The 2023 – 2024 partnerships are:

Tier one projects (new partnerships receiving funding up to £10k):

  • Illuminate Together - Handmade Parade (England) and Kapuziner Kreativentrum (Germany)
  • Co-creating with young voices - Mahogany Opera Group (England) and Frequenz_Festival Kiel (Germany)
  • Bespoke - Make Works Scotland 'Paved with Gold' (Scotland) and Kulturzentrum LUISE (Germany)
  • Going spaces: forming new connections and fostering collaboration - Motorenhalle Dresden (Germany) and SET studios London (England)
  • Our EARTH Hour - MOTTE eV. Stadtteil & Kulturzentrum (Germany) and Head4Arts (Wales)
  • Playing with Audio Walks: Storydive meets Produced Moon - Produced Moon (Scotland) and Storydive (Germany)
  • At the Table - The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) (Northern Ireland) and coculture e.V. (Germany)
  • Strictly Scottish and Schottish - Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland (Scotland) and Folk Dance Society of Germany (Germany)
  • Female Spaces - vier.D (Germany) and ACCA / Slung Low (England)
  • In Each Other’s Company - National Dance Company of Wales (Wales) and Of Curious Nature (Germany)

Tier two projects (existing partnerships receiving funding up to £30k):

  • ENTER - Creative Black Country (England) and Kuturvilla Nellie (Germany)
  • FAILSTONE - Folkestone Fringe (England) and Fine Arts Institute Leipzig - FAIL (Germany)
  • Ode to Earth (Phase 2) - VILLA Leipzig (Germany), Beyond Skin and DU Dance (Northern Ireland)
  • Between Moons. Spree~Channelsea Transmissions - Soundcamp CIC (England) and Archipel Stations (Germany)

Follow all of the projects’ progress and latest updates on Twitter and Instagram using #CulturalBridge or visit