Monthly Archives: January 2013

Indian English Summer in London in January


British Council India, working in partnership with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) and Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), presented the UK India English Partnerships Forum in London on 30 January 2013 at its corporate headquarters at Spring Gardens.

Over 100 key external contacts from the UK English language teaching sector, drawn from the public as well the private sectors and cutting across all levels, including research interests from the HE, took part in the intense half-day event.

The Indian delegation included Mr Rajendra Darda, Honourable Minister of Education form Maharashtra, one of India’s largest states with a strong industry, finance and entrepreneurship background, Prof Sunaina Singh, VC of the English and Foreign Language University (EFL-U) of India and Sanjiv Kaura, CEO, Corporate Social Responsibility of Times of India Group, one of the largest media conglomerates in India and Dr Rukmini Banerjee, Director of Pratham ASER Centre, the largest NGO working in education India.

Rob Lynes, Country Director, British Council India, and Mark Robson, Director English and Examinations, stressed the role of English in growing cultural relations and international business.

While Prof R Amritavalli of the EFL-U framed the extremely varied context of English language learning in the country, Alison Barrett (Assistant Director, English Partnerships, India) shared lessons the British Council has gleaned from working extensively in tandem with state governments, NGOs, corporate social responsibility organisations, UK institutions such as the Open University and donors such DFID and UNICEF.

Dr Rukmini Banerjee presented the findings of the English learning outcomes at the primary level in India from the ASER 2012 survey.

Michael Connolly presented the British Council’s DFID-supported work in the state of Bihar, one of the least developed states in India, through an excellent film that captured the yearning for education among some of the most deprived and marginalised communities in India, and the role of English within that demand for quality education. Prof Richard Smith of Warwick University and Prof Paul Gunashekar of EFL-U presented the priorities and a framework for bilateral cooperation between the two countries in ELT research.

Chris Brandwood, Director English, South Asia, chaired the second session which presented opportunities in India for English language providers in the UK. Leighton Ernsberger, Senior Education and Skills Advisor, British High Commission in India, presented bespoke research on the ELT market in India, while Nirupa Fernandez, Assistant Director English Digital Partnerships, British Council India gave an overview of what opportunities India offered in terms of English language learning technology platforms, softwares and applications.

Rebecca Walton, Director Partnerships and Business Development and member of the British Council’s executive summed up the day’s proceedings by underlining the importance of partnerships in British Council’s work.

The British Council is extremely relevant in India because it brings together people and expertise from several sectors on one platform, from English language, to education, to development, to civil society partnerships,” said Dr Rukmini Banerjee. She was responding to a question from a journalist, on why the British Council continues to assist 11 state governments in India in improving English in the public education systems despite the in-house expertise of a country that has over 300 million speakers of English.

There were several face-to-face meetings set up on the sidelines of the forum, and delegates from India also visited the National College of School Leadership in Nottingham, the BETT Show in London and visited the Centre for Applied Linguistics at Warwick University.

At Warwick, the impressive buildings of the Warwick Manufacturing Group, many of them sporting the Tata logo, brought a smile on the face of the Indian delegates and staff, a timely reminder of the ties that bind India and the UK and the language we share in common – English.

Download reports:

  1. UK-India ELT Research Collaborations
  2. UK India English Partnerships Forum presentation 
  3. ELT Market India – Market Opportunity Report
  4. Demand for English Language Services in India and China
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Akram Khan Company India Tour 2012; by Farooq Chaudhry

In September 2012, Akram Khan Company undertook a six-city tour of India with its dance production Gnosis. The company performed in Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. The tour was a partnership between Akram Khan Company, the British Council and the Prakriti Foundation in India. It was an intense schedule whereby the company spent three days in each city – a travel day, technical set up day and performance day. It was Akram Khan’s first tour to India after a gap of nine years. The programme was a balance of classical kathak and modern dance. After the success of Akram’s section in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and his ever-increasing status as an internationally renowned artist, the expectations in India were high.

When the company first toured India in 2003, the audience was of an affluent high status fashionable crowd, as such one gets at major opera houses in Europe. This time around the audience was much more diverse. It was great to see many young people, students, and established and fledgling artists. The audience was much more knowledgeable and enthusiastic than previously, and it was an immense pleasure to share our work with them. They were more in line with the audience demographics we get in London and Europe, and
it was very reassuring to see how India is embracing more contemporary expression and accepting the fact that it is more relevant to its evolving culture. In my opinion, Gnosis performance has attracted more attention because it was a mixed programme of classical and contemporary dance, Akram’s enhanced status and the programme was part of a touring festival arranged by Prakriti foundation. All venues were suitable for showcasing our work though there still remain issues over the availability of good quality technical resources.

Akram and I conducted workshops as part of the programme. Arts managers and artists mainly attended the workshops. That’s no surprise because of the workshop programme focusing on dance producing and dance creating. It was a real mix of experienced professionals and those who have just entered the market. I believe the expectations of those that attended were realistic and it was an enjoyable experience to share processes with those who were hungry to learn. As I said earlier the primary expectations of participants was to understand how they could develop their own creative process, rethink the best models for managing their organisations, being better leaders and thinking how best their work could be positioned and developed in the context of a “market.”

We did not really have time to establish any collaborative opportunities on the tour apart from hiring a local musician who appeared to learn a lot from working with Akram and his company. We did however meet with a very promising young choreographer called Deepak Shivaswamy. He had just won a choreography award and we decided to support him by inviting and paying for him to attend a creative process with Akram in Europe and to mentor him through the creation of a new work he is making. Aside from Deepak we met many
talented artists and we certainly sense the tour has paved the way for future collaborations.

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Gearing up for Champloo

champloo changed againAfter an immensely successful run of 4 tours from the UK, we are eagerly awaiting the last and final tour by Champloo, who with their explosive & unique production are a fitting end to this exciting season of dance titled impulse.

February will be a bittersweet month for us as we gear up for one of the biggest dance companies from the UK to hit Indian shores.

Bristol based Champloo is one of UK’s leading B-Boying dance companies – founded in 2007 by Wilkie Branson. Highly regarded for his dance film work, White Caps represents Wilkie Branson’s first major live work. Integrating lyrical film with explosive breakdance, White Caps is a multimedia experience that follows the journey of two young men as they embark on an epic and gruelling personal adventure.

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Protein Dance Company – Performances


3 big screens that create a wall like backdrop. Facebook, Emails, Twitter.. The ever familiar sound effects of an email pinging in your inbox, a facebook notification, people liking your status, your photos, the awkwardness of online dating sites and the reality of the people you meet online.. All this and much more formed the crux of Protein’s LOL.

An extremely well written, witty take on the social mores in an internet age, LOL was performed by versatile actors/dancers who kept the audience engaged and connected with their quick moves and breathtaking dialogues.

Director Luca Silvestrini also made appropriate changes in the script to connect to the audience of the city they were performing in with words like Dosa and Big Bazaar featuring prominently.

Protein is a must watch performance for all internet users. It makes you laugh yet think at the same time.

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