Bubblegum Club and British Council collaborate on Connect ZA’s new look, linking the past, present and future

British Council Connect ZA is a cultural programme working across the UK and SA. They are reimaginging their visual identity with BubblegumClub’s help and fresh perspective. The refresh is a culmination of a collaboration between Connect ZA and BubblegumClub, and will reflect the context and connections between the UK and SA, focusing on contemporary art practices and culture amongst the millenial generation.

Bubblegum Club has a history with Connect ZA, our creative director, Jamal Nxedlana has collaborated with them on a number of occasions including Bubblegum Club producing the Innovation ZA digital film work. The new look integrates the local into the global, asserting the artistic and cultural heritage of South Africa and the United Kingdom. This collaboration forms part of the ongoing relationship between the British Council and South African creatives, it speaks to the historic exchanges that have been ocurring between the two nations for centuries but also looks towards creating new, innovative connections within the country.

This  new look was a collaborative process, a standard set by the British Council in all their partnerships, a refreshing way to work. Read the press release issued by British Council Connect ZA below:

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Fresh start, new look

British Council Connect ZA is looking forward; following a successful three years as part of a SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015. The next phase of British Council South Africa’s Arts programme has begun, and we want the refreshed visual identity of the programme to reflect the past, present and future connections between creative practitioners in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

“It is so exciting that we get to continue to work alongside excellent SA and UK partners, participants and engage audiences for the foreseeable future. This is a direct response to the successes and desire for collaborative creative working between the countries. “

  • Levinia Jones, British Council South Africa Head of Arts

Our new look works alongside the global British Council ID while asserting the personality of the SA Arts offering Connect ZA.

“What an excellent opportunity to tap into the creative genius of the partners we have worked with these past years, and we reached out to several both in SA and the UK to interpret the vision for the future. We are thrilled with the fresh look and feel. “

  • Levinia Jones, British Council South Africa Head of Arts

Joburg-based Bubblegum Club was selected as the agency to create the refreshed identity into the future. Their proposal was successful as it innately understood British Council Connect ZA as both collaborator and audience. Our history with Bubblegum Club precedes its formation: founder Jamal Nxedlana has collaborated in his personal capacity and as a member of CUSS artist collective.

“Reflecting back on our involvement in various Connect ZA initiatives/programs we felt that the most genuine connections happened where there was an intuitive understanding, an ability to relate to, or recognise the other.”

  • Jamal Nxedlana, Bubblegum Club

A milestone in the relationship was Bubblegum Club producing the Innovation ZA digital film work, which was specially-commissioned to open the festival in August 2015.

Their approach was grounded in the belief that it is both common experiences and our unique perspectives that connect us.

“We began looking for ways to visually interpret and explore this idea, ways through which to express the idea of seeing something familiar but from a completely different perspective. Exploring different techniques and along the way found that it was the collaging of familiar imagery to create something completely new, which resonated most with people we showed the developmental work to.”

  • Jamal Nxedlana, Bubblegum Club

The process has been collaborative. The sort of relationship British Council Connect ZA strives to develop and maintain to while supporting partners.

BACKROUND: British Council Connect ZA is a cultural programme developed between the UK and South Africa.

From 2013, the programme has supported cultural connections between young people aged 18-35 in the UK and South Africa with a range of arts projects and use of digital platforms to build creative networks through art forms including, fashion, music, film design. Between 2014 and 2015 the programme fell under the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015, a project between the British Council and the South African Department of Arts and Culture. This was a multifaceted bilateral collaboration between the two nations, with a particular focus on artistic and creative capacity building and relationship development intended to raise cultural relations between the two countries.

As of April 2016, British Council Connect ZA continues to develop projects, reach new and diverse audiences for the arts and stimulate innovation, while inspiring connections between SA and the UK by enabling innovative creative content, collaborations and skills exchange. We do this through linking creative communities, partners and audiences between the ages of 18 and 35, both online and offline and across discipline.

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