India-UK Year of Culture

The India UK 2017 Year of Culture Aims to Build Relationships at All Levels Of Society

November 20th, 2017
Matthew J. C. Carrington, CD News

Buckingham Palace, in February 2017, illuminated by a peacock inspired pattern designed by Studio Carrom, a Bangalore and London based design studio. The peacock is the national animal of India.

The United Kingdom and India celebrate a year of cultural exchange in 2017, through a programme of cultural events and activities in the UK and India organised by the British Council and the Government of India.

The extensive programme of cultural events and exchanges, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, is designed to celebrate the long and rich history between the two nations, to facilitate understanding and to build genuine relationships for the future.

The programme of events sees the British Council organising events in India and the Government of India planning a similar programme in the UK. The aim is simple, to explore the joint history of the two countries and to building deeper and more meaningful connections for generations to come.

The joint Year of Cultural was initially announced in 2015 during the Indian Prime Minister’s state visit to the Britain.

The UK’s then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced “The great partnership between India and the UK extends beyond economic ties to the boards of the Bard and the beaches of Bollywood. We have some of the best cultural exports in the world and it’s about time we celebrated this, together.”

It is this joint celebration of culture that have bought various UK cultural institutions, such as the British Library, British Museum and British Council, together with their Indian counterparts, not only to showcase Indian and British culture but, more significantly, to strengthen cultural and economic ties between the two nations.

Highlights of the cultural exchange programme are the Indian Festival of Dance and Music touring the UK and two of Britain's iconic texts, Shakespeare's First Folio and the 1225 edition of the Magna Carta touring India.

In addition to this, there have been joint art collaborations. The Arts Council England has invested more than 2.5 million in collaborations between artists in England and India. Over 1.8 million has been awarded from the Reimagine India fund to encourage artists and organisations to exchange ideas and develop partnerships with their Indian counterparts.

Not only are cultural ties being strengthened but also economic ties too. Madame Tussauds, whose Bollywood figures are some of the most popular in London, announced that it would be opening its first Indian venture in New Delhi. Parent group Merlin is also set to invest 50 million in India over 10 years, launching other successful UK ventures, such as Sea Life aquariums and Legoland Discovery Centres, across Indian cities.

Cultural Diplomacy between India and the UK is key to developing and strengthening their cultural partnership. India and the UK have an extraordinary relationship, through their historical, cultural and economic ties. Continued Cultural Diplomacy after the 2017 Year of Culture will be important in building relationships at all levels of Indian and British society, and in creating a shared future of cooperation and understanding between the two countries for generations to come.

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