Northern Ireland arts and cultural organisations encouraged to apply to Cultural Bridge, a bi-lateral UK-Germany partnership

27th September, 2023

The Cultural Bridge partnership which promotes cross-border collaboration and exchange between Germany and the UK will welcome applications to their 2024 programme of funding for organisations from 11 October 2023.

Cultural Bridge aims to build new relationships and foster artistic collaboration and cultural democracy between Germany and the UK. It celebrates bilateral partnerships between the UK and Germany through collaboration between Arts Council England, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, Creative Scotland, Fonds Soziokultur, Goethe-Institut London and Wales Arts International / Arts Council of Wales.

A group of young people performing a dance theatre piece called Ode to Earth, a collaborative Cultural Bridge project between DU Dance, Beyond Skin and VILLA Leipzig.  The young people are wearing costumes and pouring water on the ground to symbolize wasting water.
Young people from NI and Germany perform, Ode to Earth, in Belfast's St Anne's Square, a collaborative Cultural Bridge project between DU Dance (NI), Beyond Skin (NI) and VILLA Leipzig (Germany).

Arts and cultural organisations from Northern Ireland are encouraged to apply to the Cultural Bridge 2023-2024 programme. Applications will open on 11 October and close on 22 November 2023. This is an excellent opportunity for organisations based in the UK and Germany who embody cultural democracy and wish to forge or develop bilateral partnerships to work together and share artistic practice.

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

“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 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. Thanks to Cultural Bridge, DU Dance, Beyond Skin, The MAC and the participants involved in these projects, have all benefited from this important programme and I would encourage other arts and cultural organisations from Northern Ireland to apply when the programme reopens on 11 October.”

Three organisations from Northern Ireland have benefitted from involvement in two Cultural Bridge Projects to date including the below:

Ode to Earth, a collaboration between DU Dance, Beyond Skin and Villa Leipzig

Ode to Earth is a collaborative project between DU Dance (NI), Beyond Skin (NI) and VILLA Leipzig (Germany) bringing together different cultural mediums to tackle the complex topic of climate change. Following a successful phase 1 project in 2022, when young people created a social media campaign around climate change, the group took the next step for phase 2 and delved deeper into the artistic practises with a performance project and two organisational exchanges in Germany and Belfast.

In August 2023, five young artists from Belfast aged 17-24 travelled to Leipzig, Germany for Phase 2 of the Ode to Earth project. Ready to share their skills in dance, circus and music with six young artists from VILLA Leipzig before welcoming them to Belfast. What they encountered was a busy two weeks of creating, discussing, exploring and learning which resulted in a series of 20-minute live performances on the streets of Belfast.

Read the blog written by Du Dance about the project here -

Watch the video featuring the Ode to Earth project below.

At the Table - a collaboration between The MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) (Northern Ireland) and coculture e.V. (Germany)

This project used the arts to explore themes of migration, asylum and sanctuary by co-designing and producing socially engaged projects with people seeking asylum. Through At the Table, the partners plan to use grassroots activism to transform perceptions and attitudes towards asylum seekers and refugees against the backdrop of racism in both countries.

On Monday 12th June 2023, the MAC hosted a unique event designed to highlight the conditions under which people in the asylum system are living in Northern Ireland. The evening was an outcome of the initial conversations between the MAC and coculture's director, Khaled Barakeh, a Syrian conceptual artist, who decided to co-design several artistic interventions with people in the asylum system to explore and celebrate the resilience and skills of artists, creatives, tailors, and designers who fled violence and war to seek safety in Northern Ireland. The MAC and coculture are now arranging for a group of Northern Ireland-based artists with asylum seeker status to visit Berlin and work with coculture's artists who are in the refugee system in Germany, as part of the next stage of the collaboration.

Read the blog written about the project here - Blog | Cultural Bridge (

Watch The MAC’s video about the project below.

Guidance for the Cultural Bridge 2023 - 2024 programme is now available on the Cultural Bridge website and it is encouraged that organisations start to develop their collaboration and project proposals ahead of the application. Applications will go live on the Cultural Bridge website from 11 October 2023. Find out more at