With funding from Creative Scotland, Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International, the pilot Four Nations International Fund is backing artist led proposals which address the key issues facing society - social justice, gender identity and environmental sustainability – in innovative new ways.
Creative Scotland is managing the fund’s application process for the four nations’ arts councils and agencies. On the partnership’s behalf, Paul Burns, Creative Scotland’s Interim Director of Arts and Engagement said,
“International collaboration and exchange are vital for new ideas and new connections between nations to flourish. Developed in partnership with four nations’ arts councils and agencies, this pilot funding will enable artists and creative practitioners across the nations to forge new relationships, develop practice through the sharing of ideas, explore new ways of working, and reach new audiences.
“Culture is shaped by communities, and while international in their focus these projects have community at their heart. These projects provide an important opportunity to explore with our international counterparts the contemporary issues of our time from environmental sustainability and social justice to working in a post pandemic world following the UK’s departure from the European Union.”
Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added,
“Congratulations to Sinéad O’Donnell, Accidental Theatre and Three’s Theatre Company in being chosen to take part in this exciting and important initiative. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to partner with our arts funding colleagues across these islands, all of us aiming to find solutions to the current challenges of international touring and exchange. The Four Nations International Fund is a lifeline and offers a platform for these artists to engage with their counterparts in the UK and Europe, and in particular, for artists based in NI, provides touring opportunities within the Republic of Ireland.”
One of the three projects from Northern Ireland includes a project led by Irish performance artist Sinéad O’Donnell. With support from Belfast based disabled-led arts charity The University of Atypical, Sinéad O’Donnell will collaborate with Selina Bonelli (Folkstone, England) and Marta Bosowska (Poznan, Poland) on new disability led project, Tairseach (Gaelic) / Próg (Polish) - meaning ‘threshold/the beginning of something’ - to develop a hybrid means of creative engagement using online dialogue, virtual and in person research, and realised through a residency and performance in Belfast.
Sinéad O’Donnell said:
“We are three disparate woman and non-binary performance artists coming together to find new ways of continuing to make art in a post-pandemic world and to develop new and innovative methodologies that can be used by us and other artists. This project is about not just adapting and managing but acknowledging that the world has changed and that our practices will never be the same. We want to use this project to develop new ways of working that encompass the past, the pandemic, but adapts to us.”
The Fund represents one of a series of collaborations between the four UK nations’ arts councils and agencies including the pilot, Arts Infopoint UK initiative offering advice on practical issues relating to artist mobility led by Wales Arts International, and an exploration of mutual and more sustainable approaches to bilateral initiatives with several European countries, such as German Fonds SozioKultur.