New UK-GCC youth initiative uses art to build bridges

A new collaboration between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will create opportunities for young artists to foster new connections. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 01 July 2020

New UK-GCC youth initiative uses art to build bridges

  • The initiative will pair an artist in the UK with one based in the Gulf to create new collaborative work

LONDON: A new collaboration between the UK and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will create opportunities for young artists to foster new connections while bridging the divide caused by coronavirus travel restrictions.
The Connect ME initiative, launched by the Arab British Centre in partnership with the British Council, will provide digital residency opportunities for young artists from GCC countries and the UK.
The initiative will pair an artist in the UK with one based in the Gulf to create new collaborative work that considers how digital tools can encourage connectivity across borders.  
“Now more than ever, we want to support emerging talent and offer opportunities to artists to develop their practice, create new collaborative work, and make new connections across borders,” said Amani Hassan, program director of the Arab British Centre.
With a focus on building ties between creative communities, the program will “serve as an opportunity for artists across the UK and GCC to build new friendships, and confront the universal challenges facing emerging creatives the world over,” she added. 
Artists aged 18-30 from any discipline can apply for the program, and their art can be “anything from an augmented reality experience to a short film, a zine, (or) a live performance,” the Arab British Centre said in a press release.
The only stipulation is that the art must be delivered to the public digitally and must be capable of stimulating international connections and creativity.
If successful, applicants will receive £1,000 ($1,229) in funding, as well as a host of mentoring and educational opportunities.
Cultural exchange remains a cornerstone of the UK-GCC relationship, with various initiatives already active and creating deeper mutual understanding through artistic collaboration.


WHO acknowledges ‘evidence emerging’ of airborne spread of COVID-19

Updated 14 min 50 sec ago

WHO acknowledges ‘evidence emerging’ of airborne spread of COVID-19

  • WHO previously said the virus spreads through droplets expelled from the nose and mouth that quickly sink to the ground
  • New evidence shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in

GENEVA: The World Health Organization on Tuesday acknowledged “evidence emerging” of the airborne spread of the novel coronavirus, after a group of scientists urged the global body to update its guidance on how the respiratory disease passes between people.
“We have been talking about the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19,” Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead on the COVID-19 pandemic at the WHO, told a news briefing.
The WHO has previously said the virus that causes the COVID-19 respiratory disease spreads primarily through small droplets expelled from the nose and mouth of an infected person that quickly sink to the ground.
But in an open letter to the Geneva-based agency, published on Monday in the Clinical Infectious Diseases journal, 239 scientists in 32 countries outlined evidence that they say shows floating virus particles can infect people who breathe them in.
Because those smaller exhaled particles can linger in the air, the scientists are urging WHO to update its guidance.
Speaking at Tuesday’s briefing in Geneva, Benedetta Allegranzi, the WHO’s technical lead for infection prevention and control, said there was evidence emerging of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, but that it was not definitive.
.”..The possibility of airborne transmission in public settings — especially in very specific conditions, crowded, closed, poorly ventilated settings that have been described, cannot be ruled out,” she said.
“However, the evidence needs to be gathered and interpreted, and we continue to support this.”
Any change in the WHO’s assessment of risk of transmission could affect its current advice on keeping 1-meter (3.3 feet) of physical distancing. Governments, which rely on the agency for guidance policy, may also have to adjust public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
Van Kerkhove said the WHO would publish a scientific brief summarising the state of knowledge on modes of transmission of the virus in the coming days.
“A comprehensive package of interventions is required to be able to stop transmission,” she said.
“This includes not only physical distancing, it includes the use of masks where appropriate in certain settings, specifically where you can’t do physical distancing and especially for health care workers.”