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Sophia Burke

Looking back at our 2017 cultural program

Cultural exchanges and the exploration of innovative ideas are integral to our work as we aspire to find new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts.

2017 highlighted a milestone for Canada, and it was an opportunity for the British Council to reflect on the meaning of cultural relations today. Defined by reciprocal cultural interactions, the 2017 cultural program titled About Now | À Propos explored the rich stories that can be found in the complex and prolific relationship between the UK and Canada.

Developed with a diverse range of partners in both countries, About Now | À Propos featured projects by Canadian and British artists and provided spaces that encouraged collaboration and social transformation. Across communities in both countries, About Now | À Propos inspired themes of equality, diversity and inclusion, and initiated progressive and inquisitive conversations which will be integral to our work moving forward.

Thanks to the profoundly talented artists who shared their time and craft with us, as well as to the open-minded organisations who we were lucky to work with, we have achieved those aims. Collaborations were successful because participating artists were open to engaging with new people and ideas, due to their celebration of differences in individual backgrounds, languages and artistic styles. Moreover, an important part of several UK artists’ experience in Canada was gaining an appreciation of Indigenous cultural expressions and an exposure to the current social dialogue around Truth and Reconciliation. We are thrilled about the quality of conversations, connections and insights that have come out of our collaborations and have elevated our program.

To give some insight into these collaborations, we have created short ‘snapshots’ of each of the 10 projects in the About Now | À propos program. We hope you will take a couple minutes to browse through them! The link is under 'downloads' below.

Be sure to check out the videos we created for Sound Journeys, a coast to coast musical train residency, and Walking Cities, a literary exchange between writers!

Sound Journeys here | Walking Cities here