New Conversations announces third round of UK-Canada investments that respond to the current world context

September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020—British Council, Farnham Maltings, Canada Council for the Arts and the High Commission of Canada in the UK and are inviting applications to the third round of their jointly funded New Conversations programme.

Applications are now open to UK-Canada artistic partners working in theatre and dance for grants of up to $6,000 CAD / £3,500 GBP to explore how they can develop new creative ideas, exchange knowledge and practice without meeting in person.

Launched in 2018, New Conversations started as a two-year programme designed to encourage exchange between Canadian and UK artists with an emphasis on physical exchange and artist mobility. The first two rounds invested £121,000 in 22 partnerships, many of which have developed into ongoing projects, further exchanges and friendships. Following the success of the first two rounds, Canada Council joined the partnership in 2020.

Round Three of the programme responds to a radically different context. In light of the current restrictions on international travel and the ongoing climate emergency, the ambition of this round is to learn how partnerships can develop and flourish remotely and see how artists and arts organizations respond creatively to this challenge.

New Conversations is open to Canada and UK-based individual artists, collectives, independent companies and organizations of theatre and dance. Cross artform collaborations with a strong and relevant theatre and/or dance foundation are also welcomed.

Now more than ever, finding new ways to connect internationally is vital to ensuring intercultural dialogue and understanding continues. Our hope is that this round of New Conversations will allow artists and arts organisations to test new ideas and lay the groundwork for more innovative and sustainable collaborations in the future. We are grateful to Arts Council England for their continued support, which enables us to invest in this impactful programme.

Gavin Stride, Director of Farnham Maltings

During this time of significant change in the cultural sector, artists and arts organizations alike are being asked to think outside the box when it comes to the future of international collaborations. British Council is committed to offering opportunities for UK and Canadian artists and arts organizations to explore new possibilities for collaboration, partnership, and creation from a distance. The New Conversations programme has always been about building connections and engendering trust, and this year’s rendition offers a new opportunity for innovation in the international theatre and dance sector.

Mariya Afzal, Country Director, British Council Canada

I am so pleased to be able to announce the High Commission’s continued support for the New Conversations programme. Building on the success of the first two rounds, I am thrilled that our Canadian and UK partners have worked together to re-invent a third iteration of this important collaborative opportunity that allows us to work together even if we can’t meet in person. During these times, the ability to connect and share our stories is vital. The UK-Canada relationship within the arts is already strong, and it is with projects such as this that we will continue to find ways to make it stronger.

Janice Charette, High Commissioner for Canada in the UK

We are extremely pleased to support this ongoing exploration of new ideas and conversations between artists and arts organizations from Canada and the UK. By continuing to advance international connection, collaboration and exchange, despite the current restrictions on mobility, applicants have an opportunity to take the dialogue of theatre and dance to a whole new level.

Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Applications for the Round Three of New Conversations open on 28 September and close on 27 November 2020.  The application pack and guidelines are available from the Farnham Maltings and British Council websites.



New Conversations is funded by British Council, Farnham Maltings, Canada Council for the Arts and the High Commission of Canada in the UK. Farnham Maltings’ involvement is made possible by support from Arts Council England.

Farnham Maltings is a cultural organisation based in Surrey, England and working on a local, national and international level. We support, collaborate with and invest in artists to make new theatre and reach new audiences. We believe that the arts help us to make sense of the world, bring people together and articulate new ideas. We support a network of 180 venues across the south east of England, organise a bi-annual showcase of new English performance for an international audience, produce a stable of independent theatre companies and are working to diversify the makers and audience for the arts in the UK. Farnham Maltings is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and receives specific support for its international programme. Registered charity no 305034.

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder. The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments contribute to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and support its presence across Canada and abroad. The Council’s investments foster greater engagement in the arts among Canadians and international audiences.

The High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom is the country’s diplomatic mission to the UK. The High Commission works to enrich the Canada-UK bilateral relationship across cultural and creative industries through a range of activities including: exhibitions hosted in our gallery space within Canada House on Trafalgar Square, events that showcase Canadian culture across the country, our work with UK and Canadian partners and a Culture Canada website all to build awareness of the Canadian cultural presence in the UK.

Media Contacts

Hannah Slimmon

International Projects Producer, Farnham Maltings

Farnham Maltings


+44 (0) 7814 438070

Canada Council for the Arts

Communications and Engagement


1-800-263-5588, ext. 5151