Cultural Policy and Practice Exchange between Britain and Brazil

Submitting Institution

Queen Mary, University of London

Unit of Assessment

Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Language, Communication and Culture: Cultural Studies, Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Historical Studies

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Summary of the impact

Professor Paul Heritage joined QMUL in 1996. His research over the last two decades has opened up new understandings of Brazil's transformative arts practices within the UK cultural sector. Through practice-based projects, his research continues to deepen and extend the understanding of innovative Brazilian arts practices in Britain. Heritage has forged new opportunities for UK arts practitioners to develop their work in Brazil and shaped new policy exchanges between ministerial/governmental and non-governmental organisations. His research engages with a diverse range of artists and cultural institutions, reaching over 50,000 people in the period since 2008 via performances/screenings/seminars/exhibitions/events. Through disseminating research into Brazilian culture policy and practices that have responded to extreme social crises, he has strengthened the British cultural sector's confidence in using art in the advancement of social development.

Underpinning research

At the World Economic Forum (Davos, Jan. 2013), Heritage addressed the key question that shapes his research: `How can the arts transform?' The invitation to participate in a global event that brought together 47 heads of state, over 1000 CEOs, business leaders, intellectuals and journalists demonstrates the significance, reach and impact of Heritage's research. Since 1997, he has directed this investigation through People's Palace Projects/PPP, the applied arts research centre that he created at QMUL. Underpinned by interdisciplinary, multi-agency collaborations, Heritage's research understands the territorial production of knowledge and aesthetics as essential to building dynamic social resilience by individuals and marginal communities. This has been constructed through diverse projects such as Staging Human Rights (2000-05), Changing the Scene (2002-05), Love in a Time of War (2004), Cultural Warriors (2009-12), Encounters Beyond Text: Art Transforming Lives (2010-14), etc. In the last decade, Heritage has been awarded research funding of over £3.5million from sources including: AHRC, British Academy, UK Community Fund, Comic Relief, Department of International Development [UK], British Council, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Gulbenkian Foundation, Brazilian Federal Government, State Secretariats of Culture - Bahia, São Paulo and Rio. The findings of the research have been circulated through reports, lectures, seminars, workshops, consultancies and publications - including articles in Contemporary Theatre Review and Critical Sociology.

Heritage's research programme during the first 10 months of 2013 offers insight into how his research builds intellectual and cultural bridges between the UK and Brazil. From Davos, he returned to Salvador (Brazil) to direct the fourth edition of Fórum Shakespeare at Teatro Vila Velha with three RSC directors and speakers that included the former director of the Banco Central, the Secretary of Creative Economy (Ministry of Culture) and Brazilian contemporary playwright Marcos Barbosa whose works have been produced by the Young Vic and Royal Court, London. This annual project curated by Heritage explores contemporary ideas about Shakespeare in Brazil reaching hundreds of young professional actors/directors, graduate students and the general public. In March 2013, he curated Dance for Life for the Royal Opera House Covent Garden at Theatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro, a seminar examining the role dance plays in providing strategies for survival and resistance within marginal communities. For the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, Public Olympic Authorities and British Council in Rio in April 2013, Heritage directed an International Forum on the Cultural Olympiad: a productive dialogue between the directors of London 2012 and the Brazilian cultural sector (300 delegates). To accompany the Forum, he produced Unlimited: a festival of workshops and radical performances by UK artists with disability across Rio de Janeiro. In October, Heritage hosted a visit for senior Brazilian government and non- government delegates to London and Glasgow on the ongoing Points of Contact programme dedicated this year to arts and disability. Heritage has continued to underpin his research with writing, including the following publications: a 10-volume edited catalogue with critical essays on the London 2012/Cultural Olympiad project Rio Occupation London 2012 (Aeroplano Editores, 2013); and a co-edited translation of Celio Turino's The Point of Culture: Brazil Turned Upside Down with critical introduction and afterword (Gulbenkian Foundation, 2013).

References to the research

i. Staging Human Rights 2000-05 [Director of Programme] Performance-based human rights project which began in the State of São Paulo in 2000, and went on to be implemented in four distinct phases through to 2005, reaching over 10,000 adult prisoners, guards and their families over its six years. Initial funding was from AHRB (£160k) and UK Lottery (£105k). Created in partnership with a range of Brazilian public agencies - including Boal's Centre of the Theatre of the Oppressed (Rio de Janeiro) and the Latin American UN Agency for the Study of Crime and Delinquency [ILANUD] - the initial stage led to a human rights Performance Forum at the Latin American Parliament in São Paulo (Dec. 2001). Federal Ministry of Justice funded two further phases of the project in 11 states between 2002-05 (c. £100k in Brazilian reais). A parallel programme focused on women prisoners was led by Lois Weaver and Caoimhe McAvinchey (both QMUL). A further three-year research programme in the juvenile justice system ran from 2003 with funding from the UK Community Fund (£405,000). In partnership with the BBC's Writersroom, Heritage created a 90min play for Radio3, based on a historic case of human rights abuse in the São Paulo prison system (Carandiru: broadcast 2002, 2003; shortlisted for the Sony Prize 2002). Heritage also wrote and produced a 20min radio documentary about the making of the play (broadcast 2002). Both works are available from Staging Human Rights received the annual Betinho Citizenship and Democracy Award from the City of São Paulo for its promotion of human rights (2001).

ii. Love in a Time of War 2004 [Director of Programme] Designed by Heritage as an experiment in cultural interventions in sites of extreme conflict, Amor em tempo de guerra/Love in a Time of War was a weekly schedule of performances taking place both inside favelas dominated by armed gangs and also in elite theatres in the wealthy Southern Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Audiences were supported to cross the city and attend performances outside their own communities. Created in association with Grupo Cultural AfroReggae, Heritage directed a cast of well-known professional television actors in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra and Measure for Measure, with the opening performance taking place on a border contested by two rival drug factions. The project resulted in an 18-day ceasefire after 22 years of war and received extensive national and international press coverage (including Reuters and the Financial Times). PPP and AfroReggae created the 12-month Parada Geral to extend the impact of the initial project with a series of conflict resolution initiatives in the favelas of Vigário Geral and Parada de Lucas. Funding included £100k from Electrobras via the federal tax exemption laws, £33k from Ogilvy's and infrastructural support from the City Council of Rio de Janeiro and TV Globo. Heritage was awarded the Brazilian Orilaxé Prize for Human Rights (2005), and his work on Love in a Time of War and Staging Human Rights was the focus of a chapter in The Producers: Alchemists of the Impossible ed. by Tyndall and Micklem (ACE/Jerwood Foundation, 2007), pp. 23-28, ISBN: 978-0-7287-1347-5. See also Heritage's peer-reviewed article, `Parallel Power: Shakespeare, Gunfire and Silence', Contemporary Theatre Review, 15.4 (2005), pp. 392-405.

iii. Amazônia 2008-09 [Director of Programme; co-writer/director of two Young Vic Productions] [see REF2b] Created by Heritage in association with the Young Vic Theatre London and a range of Brazilian partners, Amazônia combined trainings in cultural and environmental strategies with audio-visual documentation and live performance [dance and theatre]. The programme culminated in a seminar at London's Royal Society of Arts [RSA] that explored the impact of arts and cultural initiatives in building resistance to climate change and environmental degradation. Partners/funders included: British Council (£15k); Fundação Roberto Marinho [audio-visual production]; ArtVenture (£20k); Acre's Serviço Social do Comércio and Young Vic London: infrastructure and production costs. Over 15,000 people engaged with the project in Brazil and the UK. Publications include: Amazônia by Heritage and Teevan (Oberon Books, 2008), ISBN: 9781840028959.

iv. Favela to the World I and II : project and performances 2006-13 [Director of Programme] [see REF2b] Six-year programme of performance/workshops/trainings/publications investigating knowledge-transfer to UK from arts-based programmes in peripheral communities in Rio de Janeiro. Includes large-scale productions such as Favela to the World (Contact Theatre Manchester and Barbican 2006); Favelization (Barbican 2008); The AfroReggae Experience (Southbank Centre 2010); collaboration between Bad Taste Cru [UK street dance champions] and AfroReggae for UK/Brazil small scale tour (2010); three-year youth leadership programme Cultural Warriors 2009-12 (Salisbury/Gateshead/London/ Manchester); creation of a summer participatory arts festival for young people from marginalised communities in Liverpool (run with the Liverpool Everyman Theatre). Publications include: Richard Ings, From the Favela to Our Manor: Translating Afroreggae - the Impact and Implications of an International Intervention in Arts Work with Young People at Risk (People's Palace Projects Research Bulletin Issue 4, 2007) ISBN 978-0-9551179-3- 0. Funding: ACE, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, British Council (grants: over £800k including AHRC Knowledge Transfer funding of £370k).

v. Points of Contact : 2009-present [Director of Programme] [see REF2b] Research programme on arts and cultural strategies for human development and social transformation. Focus on knowledge-transfer projects between British and Brazilian cultural organisations and agencies. Over 200 Brazilian and UK arts organisations have so far benefited directly from the exchange programme. Since 2009, Heritage has curated eight knowledge-exchange visits involving directors of major arts organisations, key representatives from charitable funding institutions, and senior policy makers from local, state and federal government in both countries. Outputs include public seminars in Manchester, Newcastle and London's Southbank Centre. The British Council has announced a pilot project on Creative and Cultural Skills between UK and Brazil based on the learning-exchange of this programme. Dissemination of findings include Heritage, `The Game is Violent: Opening Gambit at the Ministry of Culture', Critical Sociology, 38.6 (2012), pp. 877-87; Celio Turino, The Point of Culture: Brazil Turned Upside Down (Gulbenkian Foundation 2013), ed. by Heritage and Hunter with a critical introduction by Heritage. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture appointed PPP the first UK Ponto de Cultura in 2010 as part of its international programme.

Details of the impact

Heritage's work brings culture to the centre of the agenda... Heritage is well known across Brazil as intellectual, teacher, researcher, international mediator and creative artist, whose engagement to the nation's social development... is recognised by his wide circle of interlocutors with admiration, solidarity and gratitude. - L. E. Soares, former National Secretary of Public Security, Ministry of Justice [see].

In his stagings of Shakespeare in slum areas in the middle of tremendous violence where different groups of heavily armed drug traffickers confronted each other on a daily basis, art brought peace to the region. It was enough for many to realize that it was a concrete possibility worth fighting for. Julita Lemgruber, Director of Rio's Centre for Studies in Public Security and Citizenship [CESeC], University Candido Mendes, May 2013 [see].

I and other senior colleagues have been actively engaged in debate, in reading your papers, in exchange with this programme [Points of Contact] that aims to increase the capacity of artists, policy makers and funders to realise the full potential of dynamic and transformative cultural actions. Partly as a result of this engagement, we designed and launched a new 10 year programme, Creative People and Places which seeks to engage communities in the UK in new and radically different approaches to develop inspiring and sustainable arts programmes. - Moira Sinclair, ACE Executive Director London and the South East [see section 5]

Heritage's research seeks contemporary purpose in creative practices, and insists that social justice, development and enterprise are only possible through the inclusion of those who are behind the `doors on the peripheries' (Soares). His influence on new thinking in cultural policy and new forms of artistic practice is evidenced through inter-connected research projects. From dance projects with marginalised communities in the Amazon and a music-theatre production at London's Young Vic (Amazônia 2008-09) to the curation of a three-year programme of youth leadership with five major UK cultural institutions (Cultural Warriors 2009-12), Heritage's ongoing and deep-rooted contribution to the development of the cultural dialogue between the UK and Brazil has been recognised by Arts Council England with funding of over £410k to `support both the research and the practice that is informed by that research'. Moira Sinclair, ACE Executive Director London and the South East, cites the ways Heritage's work influences and informs thinking and policy development `in arts, culture and social development and in the growing understanding of Brazilian culture and the deep networks that are being established as a result between UK and Brazilian artists and policy makers'. David Lan, Artistic Director of London's Young Vic Theatre, positions Heritage as `a passionate and intensely imaginative collaborator, adding immensely to our theatre vocabulary and ambition'.

The capacity of the UK arts sector has been developed by the support Heritage's research has offered in identifying/programming/curating Brazilian artists at British institutions including Barbican (2006, 2008, 2010, 2011), Young Vic (2008-present), Southbank Centre (2010, 2012), Salisbury International Arts Festival (2010-12), Liverpool Theatres (2010), Dance City Newcastle (2009), The Globe (2000/2012). Heritage's production of Rio Occupation London brought £600k of Brazilian economic investment in the UK's London 2012 Cultural Olympiad Festival. 30 young and emerging artists representing diverse cultural territories from Rio de Janeiro presented more than 250 new works of art and performances in over 50 cultural and public spaces across London reaching over 37,000 audience members, spectators and participants. The project generated c.125 articles [print/broadcast/ online]. Social media reached 382,209 and the Occupation's Twitter feed had 513 followers. The production's overall Klout score of 52.87 in 30 days was a `significant achievement. This qualifies @RioOccupy London as a specialist with a highly engaged audience' (PR analyst Mark Borkowski). `It is unarguable', states Graham Sheffield, Director of Arts at the British Council, `that without the work of Heritage, the cultural relationship between UK and Brazil would be nowhere as well developed or mature as it is now' [see section 5].

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg invited Heritage to join a delegation of political, business and cultural leaders to Brazil in June 2011. Heritage briefed Jeremy Hunt (then Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) on key aspects of Brazilian cultural policy and practices in advance of a signing of a Cultural Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Brazil during the ministerial visit.

In 2012, Heritage co-created a project in partnership for People's Palace Projects, Battersea Arts Centre, Contact Theatre and the Agência de Redes para a Juventude (Rio de Janeiro) which was awarded the annual Gulbenkian Prize - described by the Independent and the Huffington Post as `the world's largest arts prize' (£175,000). Andrew Barnett, Director of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK sums up Heritage's contribution as `instrumental in the formation of important work being progressed by the Gulbenkian Foundation... none of these developments would have been possible without the inspirational leadership and knowledge of Professor Heritage'.

Sources to corroborate the impact

Evidence of the impact of Heritage's research is publicly available at and includes both formal evaluations that show the `significant social impact' of his work [`Telling Stories', see 2 below] as well as dozens of personal testimonies from independent evaluation reports.

  1. Impact of People's Palace Projects' Work in England: Summary of Evidence 2006-10 Available online: (IMPACT ON UK ARTS PRACTICES)
  2. François Matarasso, `Telling Stories: The Arts and Wellbeing in North Liverpool' (2010) Available online: (IMPACT OF AFROREGGAE'S WORK ON 1000 YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE INSTITUTIONS THAT WORK WITH THEM)
  3. AHRC/Centre for Business Research case study on Heritage as `the highly connected academic', pp.19-20 of Alan Hughes et al, Hidden Connections: Knowledge Exchange Between the Arts and Humanities and the Private, Public and Third Sectors (Swindon: AHRC, 2011) (IMPACT ON THE HE SECTOR AND RESEARCH COMMUNITIES), available:
  4. Director of Arts, British Council (IMPACT ON UK/BRAZIL CULTURAL RELATIONS)
  5. ACE Executive Director London and the South East (IMPACT ON UK ARTS & CULTURAL POLICY)

Director Calouste Gulbenkian UK Foundation (IMPACT ON UK ARTS & CULTURAL POLICY)