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UK Minister for Culture and Sports visits Kolkata

India Blooms News Service | | 14 Oct 2014, 05:30 pm
Kolkata, Oct 14 (IBNS) The UK Cabinet Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid, visited Kolkata on Oct 13-14 and also launched a new £6.5 million fund set up by the Arts Council England and the British Council to build creative connections between the people of the UK and India.

Titled ‘Re-Imagine India’ the fund will support artists and cultural organisations to exchange ideas and influences, promote new creative collaborations, showcase the best of UK and Indian arts across a range of artforms and activity and build skills and leave a legacy. While the new funding is till 2017, there is likely to be additional funds for the project in 2016.

‘This is a brilliant project, not simply because of the creative links that will be formed but also because it will reach artists and audiences in communities that are sometimes overlooked, but whose passion for culture burns just as brightly as for those in the big cities. I look forward to seeing the fruits of this programme grow and prosper long into the future,’  Sajid Javid said.

Sajid Javid’s visit to India is the latest in a series of visits by senior British government ministers which aims to emphasise that Britain is keen to develop a stronger, wider, deeper partnership with India.

The two nations’ cultural relations are strong from supporting each others’ rich heritages to multiple collaborations in the creative industries.

The Minister was accompanied to Kolkata by a high-level delegation from leading UK museums including the British Museum, Natural History Museum, V&A, National Museums of Scotland, Tate Modern and the British Library.

The Minister, who led the delegation to further develop new and sustainable connections between the UK and Indian museums, hosted a roundtable on UK-India museum partnerships. Themed ‘Re-Imagine Museums & Galleries: UK-India Opportunities and Partnerships,’ leading Indian museum experts and the visiting delegation discussed both technical and artistic developments in the museums and galleries space and how new initiatives can be taken to benefit organisations both in the UK and India.

The British Council has been working with museums in India and the UK, facilitating training in areas such as audience mapping, educational programming and communication to public engagement and collections management. At the roundtable meeting the Council shared the findings of a research they are doing to further develop mutual co-operation, inform and enrich museum thinking, policy and practice in both countries. The meeting discussed opportunities to explore UK-India opportunities and partnerships looking at best practices in collections, policies, strategies, HR, education programming, and audience profiling in Indian and UK museums and galleries.

In the morning, the Minister paid tribute to those who had sacrificed their lives in the First World War at the Bhowanipore Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. The UK is observing national commemorations from 4 August 2014 (the start of the war) to the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day on 11 November 2018 to remember and learn about a defining part of the UK’s and global history and pay tribute to the fallen.

Sajid Javid later launched a community football development programme for 200 girls from the Orient Girls Shiksha Kendra, a free school for socio-economically challenged girls. The school has agreed to incorporate Premier Skills as part of their Physical Education curriculum. The Minister also met and talked to existing members of the Premier Skills Kolkata Goalz project which uses football as a tool to develop community coaches and referees and on supporting community projects. The programme takes the best of UK expertise in utilising football as a force for good and uses it to create opportunities for young people all over the world.

At the event, the Minister also met four young Kolkata Goalz participants who have been selected to take part in a Christmas Truce tournament in Ypres in December, organised by the Premier League to mark the famous truce in 1914 during World War I, during which soldiers from opposing troops played football during an unofficial ceasefire.

In Kolkata,  Sajid Javid also attended a big reception, visited a Bengali cinema shoot and interacted with government officials.

From Kolkata the Minister travels to New Delhi where he will deliver a keynote speech at a UK-funded Cyber Governance Security conference.

He will also have meetings with  Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Tourism and Culture Minister Sripad Yasso Naik.

He will also visit Raj Ghat and Gandhi Smriti. At the British Council he will engage with young Indian creative entrepreneurs and Indians who have studied in the UK.