British Council library in Hyderabad transforms into a cultural convening space
Announcement of new initiatives to promote cultural exchange between India and the UK
Hyderabad, July 19, 2016: Mr. Alan Gemmell OBE, Director, British Council India, today announced the transformation of the British Council library into a cultural convening space with its new premises. On his maiden visit to the ‘City of Pearls’ Hyderabad to launch the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture, the new Director India emphasised the need to promote cultural exchange for stronger ties and bring about a better contemporary understanding of India and the UK.
With new premises from April 2016, the British Council library will move a step further from being a repository of knowledge with books, magazines and newspapers, and aim to become an epicentre of cultural activity in the city with regular events and activities for all ages. The Library will host Film clubs, book groups, organise activities for children, workshops, book launches, arts events, performances, debates. It will also serve as a hub for partners and visiting UK institutions.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Alan Gemmell OBE, Director, British Council India, said, “India and the UK have years of shared history and 2017 UK-India Year of Culture seeks to promote this spirit of cultural partnership. Our future generations must understand and appreciate our past and the path that we have travelled together to reach where we stand today.”
The British Council has launched several initiatives across the country to create new linkages between the youth of the two countries. “We are enhancing our network of nine centres in India, making them vibrant, exciting focal points for our cultural relations work, and helping our Indian audiences to better engage with our full range of products and services. The transformation of the British Council library in Hyderabad will not only make it more relevant for all age groups but also serve as a platform for bring people together and appreciating art and culture”, he added.
As part of the new outlook, members will be enjoy free Wi-Fi and new technology that will facilitate self-service for issuing and returning of books The physical collection will now be complemented by a new digital online offer that gives instant access to over 50 of the top UK magazines, streaming movies, access to over 4000 local and international newspapers, e-books and journals, new content commissioned from the UK from cultural organisations featuring articles on topics like Fashion in South Asia and Shakespeare, as well as access to The Selector, the British Council’s weekly radio programme featuring the best of new and underground UK music.
Year of Culture
The year 2017 marks the culmination of four years of Re-Imagine: a programme in the Arts designed to build new creative connections in new ways between the people and institutions of the UK and India. It offers a chance to celebrate the achievements of the world’s largest democracy, and consider how the future relationship between the UK and India might help both to address the challenges of the 21st century. The purpose of UK-India 2017 Year of Culture is to increase the appreciation of contemporary UK in India, and vice versa, in order to give greater focus, depth and relevance to the long-standing relationship between the two countries. This will be done through events and projects, both face-to-face and digital in 2017, with a wider aim to reach out to newer audiences, not restricted to the metropolitan cities alone. UK-India 2017 will seek to challenge outdated perceptions of the UK with an inspiring programme that demonstrates the quality of contemporary British arts and culture.
The UK-India Year of Culture was announced during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to London in November 2015. The aim of this campaign is to highlight the vibrant cultural history of the two countries and celebrate the best ‘cultural exports’ together.
Mix the Play
‘Mix the Play’, a special edition of the popular ‘Mix the City’ platform (www.mixthecity.com), which will launch later this month to promote the Shakespeare Lives, was launched by Mr. Alan Gemmell OBE, Director, British Council India. This project is being commissioned with The Old Vic theatre, London. Where Mix the City placed visitors in the role of a DJ working with Kutiman’s music recordings, Mix the Play will offer digital audiences the chance to play director of one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays: A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Visitors to the Mix the Play website will be invited to make a short film from a scene in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The duration of a scene will be under 3 minutes. Using pre-recorded film samples and effects, locations, costume options, visitors will be able given a range of elements to control, including a selection or all of casting, setting, direction of the actors, background music etc. Audiences will need to consider meaning, symbolism, tone, and storytelling, and will learn through trying and doing.
The objective of Mix the Play is to engage audiences with Shakespeare and educate them about theatre direction in a fun way. In October, we will launch an Indian commission of Mix the Play with a different Shakespeare play.