Sustaining international cultural exchange

27th November, 2023

12 Northern Ireland arts organisations and artists set to partner with UK and international organisations in a series of cultural exchange projects.

Two women in white t shirts seen in profile, looking at each other as they raise their hands palm to palm

Further funding for international cultural exchange and collaboration has been awarded to 39 new projects in a second round of the Four Nations International Fund. They bring together 60 partners from across the four UK nations and 50 international partners across 25 different countries, from Portugal to Lebanon, Norway to Nigeria, and Canada to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Twelve NI artists and organisations in total will benefit from these creative exchange projects, with five of the 12 leading on projects. The five lead artists and organisations in NI include, Armagh Pipers Club, artist, Cat Brogan, City of Derry International Choir Festival, Northern Lights Project and Prison Arts Foundation. The other seven NI artists and organisations partnering in projects include, Kabosh, The MAC and Circusful, who will partner with England-led collaborations, and artist, Ruth McCullough, Aisling Ghéar, Theatre & Dance NI and Catalyst Arts, who will partner with Scotland-led collaborations.

The Four National International Fund investment of £315,765 from Creative Scotland, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International, enables individual artists and arts organisations, across the four UK nations and internationally, to share, connect and learn from each other in new ways.

One of the five lead projects receiving funding in Northern Ireland includes, Our Queer Isles: Unearthing the Ancestors. This project delves into the queer histories within the isle nations of England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Three extraordinary artists, poet Cat Brogan, storyteller Rachel Rose Reid and musician Branwen Kavanagh, will shine a light on the often-obscured queer narratives of the past, culminating in a live performance hosted at the Strule Arts Centre in partnership with Omagh Pride. Seamlessly blending their creative input across storytelling, poetry and music, they’ll encapsulate the legacy of queer lives of those who came before in a powerful narrative that will resonate with audiences, inspire conversations, creativity and a greater understanding of queer heritage.

Project lead, Cat Brogan, said, “This grant will afford us the time and space to collaborate as multidisciplinary artists in a performance piece that blends music, storytelling, spoken word, myth, characters, research, and reimagining to shed light on untold queer stories. I am delighted to welcome Rachel and Branwen to my hometown in collaboration with Omagh Pride, centering new work with queer themes in a rural context.”

Creative Scotland manages the fund’s application process for the four nations’ arts councils and agencies. On the partnership’s behalf, Dana MacLeod, Executive Director of Arts, Communities and Inclusion at Creative Scotland said,

“This second round of the Four Nations International Fund has made possible some new and exciting initiatives for artists in the UK and around the world to connect, exchange and collaborate. The 39 projects demonstrate a strong diversity of cultures, practise and perspectives highlighting the positive effect arts and culture can have on communities globally. Coming together as agencies and funders to share resources and knowledge enables a much broader reach and impact for our artists and audiences. We can also tackle important issues and challenges facing artists and practitioners around the world.”

Siobhán Molloy, Festivals, Venues & International Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to partner with our colleagues in Creative Scotland, Arts Council England and Arts Council of Wales/Wales Arts International in the Four Nations International Fund. This important initiative offers vital opportunities for artists to collaborate, exchange and learn from one another, and I look forward to seeing the 39 projects develop. Congratulations to all involved.”

To view the full list of all projects being funded visit