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The Australia Council for the Arts has funded 13 dynamic projects that enable Australian artists to collaborate with artists in Asia to create and present new work.

Australia Council Chief Executive Officer Tony Grybowski said the Creative Partnerships with Asia Program, now in its second year, was an important part of the Council’s strategy to build artistic networks and increase collaborations with Asia.

The program is designed to facilitate creative exchanges and collaborations between Australian and Asian artists in all artforms, Mr Grybowski said.

Grants of up to $40,000 have been awarded to enable the creation and presentation of new work to audiences in both regions and support long-term networks.

The creativity and diversity of the 13 funded projects is impressive and cover a wide variety of artforms, including writing, performance, visual arts, dance, music and experimental arts.

Australian artists will be working with arts professionals in nine countries, including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Cambodia.

One of the projects will see three Australian artists based in Queensland and two Iraqi artists in Baghdad collaborate and develop a new work that will be staged in Brisbane, Townsville and Baghdad.

Bilingual open performance workshops will also be held in the three cities for up to 12 established and emerging English or Arabic-speaking artists.

The project will be led by Iraqi-Australian Niz Jabour and hosted by La Boite Theatre Company in Brisbane and the Iraqi National Theatre, the Iraqi Experimental Theatre Group and Links Guide, all based in Baghdad.

La Boite Artistic Director and CEO Chris Kohn said the company was looking forward to working with the artists.

La Boite is thrilled to be involved in this breakthrough artistic collaboration between Australia and Iraq two nations whose recent histories have been so profoundly intertwined but between which there has been precious little artistic collaboration, Mr Kohn said.The LITERARY COMMONS! project will bring together writers from Australia and India, including Alexis Wright, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Anita Heiss and Tony Birch, to explore First Nations/Indigenous and bhasha/Dalit literature.

Curated by Dr Mridula Nath Chakraborty from the University of Western Sydney, the writers will take part in a number of literary events in India, including the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Goa Arts and Literature Festival, as well as workshops in Australia.

First Nations Australia Writers’ Network Chairperson Kerry Reed-Gilbert said the diversity of languages in India was similar to the Aboriginal language profile.

To be able to see how publications and literature are placed in India with this diversity is one that Australian literature could learn some valuable insights from, Ms Reed-Gilbert said.

I believe that this project could lead to many other opportunities in the future and will enhance individual writers with their work and career.

Eligible projects must achieve at least two objectives deliver workshops that enable artistic exchange and develop networks in both countries; presentation in both countries of final development showings or a program of open studio visits with curators or potential presenting partners; or showing completed work in both countries.

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