25 May 2022

British Council

Arts & Culture Newsletter

Photo showing International Collaboration Grant activity – a vertical dance workshop. Copyright Chiara Becattini 


Welcome to the summer issue of our "Arts & Culture" newsletter.

With the temperatures on the up and up, it is good news that travelling between the UK and Italy has become easier with COVID precautions being eased over the last month. Our thoughts also remain with Ukraine and supporting our colleagues and friends there.

Having been to events with large numbers of people such as the Venice Biennale(with bragging rights as Sonia Boyce won the Golden Lion for best national pavilion), NID in Salerno (where UK dance professionals mingled with their international peers), and our own Arts & Disability conference at the end of April, cultural life feels to be returning to pre-pandemic levels of engagement and enthusiasm. But isn’t travel tiring!

Luckily, there is still activity offered online for homebodies, such as with the Hay Festival which will stream 75 of its events from 26 May, including some for free thanks to a collaboration between the British Council and the festival. The seven events will be available to watch for free for two weeks on the Hay Festival website from 7 June.  All events will be in English with captions.

Someone who has undoubtedly racked up huge frequent flier miles given her 70 years of service is Queen Elizabeth and celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee in early June are planned across the UK – time to get the bunting out!

What we are up to:

Photo showing International Collaboration Grant activity – a vertical dance workshop. Copyright Chiara Becattini 
  • International Collaboration Grants Programme: Activity has already started for two of the winning projects with activity taking place in Italy – see below for more information on the Vertical Dance training which took place in Venice this month. More information on the other projects will be shared over the coming months.
  • Vertical Dance: “Creating Connections” builds on the previous collaborative practice of Wanda Moretti (Venice, Italy), Kate Lawrence (Nant Peris, North Wales) and Lindsey Butcher (Brighton, England), drawing on a participatory spirit and inventiveness to address questions around participation and inclusion in their practice; of including different publics in our work. The three choreographers will collaborate on three events in their respective bases.The first took place in Italy on 17-20 May, engaging with refugees from different countries: Afghanistan, Columbia, Eritrea, Gambia, Libya, Pakistan, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Ukraine at the Rossarol Centre in Mestre and Vertical Dance Centre in Marghera.Further events will take place in Wales and in Brighton after the summer. Across these three meetings, aerial design artist Mish Weaver will respond with simple propositions, designed to encourage cooperation, trust, playful exploration and support, to create a tangible outcome. The project will conclude with an online symposium in December.  You can follow this project as it develops on Instagram and Facebook with the following tags on Instagram: @BritishArts @gravitylevity @wandamoretti2020 @ilpostodanzaverticale @verticalkl. Through the hastags: #InternationalCollaborationGrants #creatingconnections2022 #verticaldance and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gravityandlevity
  • https://www.facebook.com/verticaldancekatelawrence:
  • https://www.facebook.com/ilpostodanzaverticale
  • Design and sustainability: We are looking forward to designer Kaajal Modi’s upcoming proposal as part of the Temporary Home programme at BASE during the Milan Design Week (7 to 12 June). Kaajal will invite the public to explore their relationship with the food network and the different interdependencies that derive from it, through a multisensory path that involves sound, smell, touch and taste.
  • Jerwood CreativesThe Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries programmesupports 50 salaried jobs in arts and cultural organisations across the UK, for individuals from low socio-economic backgrounds. The British Council supports these individuals through offering an international experience and from 21 -25 June we will be delighted to welcome a group of 12 Fellows to Milan so that they can discover more about the Italian and local arts sector, in collaboration with BASE Milano amongst others.
  • Music: Ypsigrock, a boutique music festival in Sicily, is celebrating 25 years from 4 -7 August. Besides winning various Italian industry awards, it has been nominated over 8 times in a row for the Best Small Festival at the European Festival Awards and is known for its social inclusiveness and distinctive line up. We are delighted to collaborate with the festival in bringing some UK talent to the stages located in the stunning medieval castle and town of Castelbuono – Penelope Isles, C Duncan, Self Esteem and Anna B Savage are just some of the names on the line up and tickets are on sale now.

What else is on in Italy?

Visual Arts

Alan Knox: The artist’s show Universal Sympathy runs in Venice at Palazzo Bembo until November as part of the sixth edition of the biennial contemporary art exhibition Personal Structures, which features a wide selection of artworks from internationally-renowned and emerging artists, photographers, and sculptors as well as worldwide academic institutions.

Alice Sheppard Fidler: There is still time until 30 May to visit the artist’s solo show at Casa Regis in the province of Biella, following a month-long residency there. The site-specific installations generated from local and found materials connected to the house build from the central theme throughout her work of architecture as a metaphor for an enduring presence, shifting under time and pressure.


In the lead up to the 23rd International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, the theme of which is Unknown Unknowns, our friends at the Triennale Milano will host a discussion entitled “Becoming Undead” on Thursday 26 May with Emanuele Coccia (Philosopher), Julieta Aranda (artist) and Elizabeth Povinelli (anthropologist). Free entry and the event is in English – more details here: Sconosciuto / Sconosciuti. Becoming Undead | Triennale Milano.


Concert of The Armed Man: A Mass of Peace: This work by Welsh composer Karl Jenkins will be performed by the choir Canti Corum of Milan with the Symphony Orchestra of Lecco and mezzo-soprano Giulia Taccagni, directed by Maestro Vincenzo Simmarano, in order to support the Communità di Sant'Egidio. It will take place at the Basilica of Santo Stefano Maggiore, Piazza Santo Stefano, Milan on Tuesday 14 June 2022 at 8.45pm.


MiX festival: Looking ahead, the 36th edition of MiX Festival of international LGBTQ+ cinema and queer culture will take place from 16 to 19 June at Piccolo Teatro Strehler in Milan. Check out Isn't It a Beautiful World, by Joseph Wilson.

And Happy Pride to everyone whenever it takes place near you!

La Guarimba: The tenth edition of La Guarimba will be taking place from 7 to 12 August in Amantea, Calabria. 163 short films from all continents will be screened alongside some special programs: INDIGENOUS FOCUS, a program to celebrate Indigenous cultures from 5 continents (representing the Atayal, the Sami, the Maori, the Mosotho, and the Wayuu People), a focus on TAIWAN and SLÁVA UKRAYÍNI! - a program showcasing Ukrainian filmmakers.


On that note of multilateral collaboration, let’s cherish the blue skies and a busy summer ahead.


Alison Driver, Arts Manager, British Council Italy