Highlights from Visiting Arts week in Edinburgh 2016

Ambassadors from the World Cultures Connect (WCC) workshops in Trinidad & Tobago, Ethiopia, Malawi, Fiji and at the Pacific Arts Festival in Guam, joined us in Edinburgh last month for a series of events forming the culmination of the Culture Works Connections programme where they were able to make new international connections, participate in exchange opportunities, promote the cultural offerings of their local arts communities and share knowledge and skills gained from the training. 

At the opening reception at the vibrant Dance Base studios, Visiting Arts Director Yvette Vaughan Jones, Roy Luxford of Edinburgh International Festival and Astrid Audibert, Team Leader at ACPCultures+, welcomed the Ambassadors and spoke about the strength of coming together to support and celebrate culture and creativity from around the world. We witnessed special performances from Damien Whiskey as infamous carnival character The Midnight Robber and moving spoken word from Mtima Solawzi of the Caribbean based ROOTS FoundationSee the photos. George Kalukusha also performed live on the Janice Forsyth Show and spoke about his WCC experience. VOU Dance Company was announced as the 2016 winner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Sustainable Practice Award for their production 'Are We Stronger Than Winston?' choreographed by Navi Fong. You can find highlights from the week on Storify.

Ambassadors participated in an international professional exchange day with Scottish practitioners and gained new connections as well as a stronger understanding of the potential opportunities and challenges for international working within the arts. They also met with local arts spaces to find out more about how they operate. See highlights on Twitter with the hashtag #WCCtraining.

Visiting Arts held a stimulating Arts & Law Conference in partnership with Anderson Strathern with a fantastic group of speakers: independent theatre producer Jo Crowley, Douglas McLachlan from Anderson Strathern, Anne Mannion of Swan Turton and artist Mihret Kebede who joined us via Skype from her studio in Ethiopia. A summary publication is now available on the World Cultures Connect Resources page.

Trinidad & Tobago based writer Rochelle Amour, Ebonie Fifita of ON THE SPOT Arts Initiative from Tonga, Ethiopian storyteller Tesfaye Weldemedhin, and Malawi based McArthur Matukusha of Solomonic Peacocks Theatre, joined Edinburgh International Festival Director Fergus Linehan and Holland Festival Artistic Director Ruth Mackenzie for a panel discussion around the role of festivals in platforming new and marginalised voices at Visiting Arts International Producers Breakfast. The event was in partnership with Creative Scotland and ACPCultures+ and held at Edinburgh Festival Theatre. Watch the discussion on YouTube. See the photos on Facebook. The event is also captured on Storify.

The Edinburgh visit was made possible through the ongoing support of ACPCultures+ as part of the Culture Works Connections programme. Be sure to subscribe to their newsletter for inspiring stories, opportunities and to hear about the cultural activities in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific. Watch Tesfaye talking about his experience on the programme in this interview clip from ACPCultures+. 

Want to find out more about the World Cultures Connect workshops? Watch this video with clips from participants and trainers!

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