(Above) Asian arts group Sampad will take on the world on behalf of Birmingham. Photo © bongovongo.com
Ballet stars, contemporary jewellers and choral singers from a shortlist of Birmingham's "most inspirational" cultural players will head to China, the US and Sweden after being granted £200,000 in funding.
Eight groups – including South Asian arts provider Sampad, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Birmingham City University School of Jewellery – will embark on separate tours under the International Partnership Programme, created by the city’s Cultural Partnership in a bid to raise the international cultural profile of the city.
Birmingham City University School of Jewellery. Photo: schoolofjewellery.co.uk
"There are many very talented and innovative organisations in Birmingham that can take the city's name and reputation for culture across the globe," said Partnership Chairman Martin Mullaney.
"As well as the cultural exchanges that will result from this programme there will also be huge economic benefits for Birmingham, promoting the city as a great place to live work and visit, attracting increased inward investment, business and tourism.
"It also helps us to showcase what Birmingham is capable of producing as part of our bid to be UK City of Culture in 2013."
Choir and early music ensemble Ex Cathedra. Photo: excathedra.co.uk
Highlights of the scheme start with Sampad's performance at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this summer, dance training in Abu Dhabi courtesy of the Sonia Sabri Company, site responsive sound and digital art across Scandinavia from Fierce and an exhibition by the School of Jewellery in Beijing.
"This is an exciting opportunity to profile the School of Jewellery," said Dean Jack Cunningham, calling it "an excellent vehicle for cultural exchange."
"It will promote the rich heritage of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, the city, and its creative industries."
Dean Jack Cunningham said the School of Jewellery would "promote the rich heritage of Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter." Photo: schoolofjewellery.co.uk
Choir and early music ensemble Ex Cathedra will take British and American compositions to the East Coast of America in March 2011.
"We have never had the opportunity to take our work to the United States," said Artistic Director Jeffrey Skidmore.
"Thanks to our CDs we already have fans there and, thanks to this grant, we will be able to raise our profile and promote Birmingham as an international centre of choral excellence."
The projects were chosen through strict selection criteria, judging each group on innovation, quality and potential.