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British arts beat to a Brazilian rhythm

People’s Palace Projects, the arts organisation based at Queen Mary, University of London has been awarded £369,885 for a new project that brings together performance artists from Brazil’s toughest ghettos with British arts institutions.

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Brazilian performer © Rãtao Diniz
Brazilian performer © Rãtao Diniz

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant will support Favela to the World, a three-year programme designed to overhaul the way UK cultural agencies expose young people from deprived parts of Britain to the positive influence of the arts.

Brazilian music and dance performers will be invited over to share their experiences of inspiring young people living in Brazil’s poorest communities to resist gang culture and succeed in making a real contribution to society.

Mastermind behind Favela to the World, Professor Paul Heritage, artistic director of PPP, explains: “In the face of adversity and extreme social crises, Brazilian culture is rich and diverse. Music, dance and drama are used, to great effect, to re-enforce a sense of identity, respect, resilience and self-esteem among communities marginalised by poverty and violence.
“Brazil recognises the vital role the arts can play in society; over 20 years it has developed creative programmes that have been transforming the lives of young people susceptible to the influence of gang and gun culture.”

“Such substantial funding will enable us to bring Brazilian artists over to the UK to help our cultural institutions reach out to young people in this country and support them in dealing with the challenges they face,” Professor Heritage added.

People’s Palace Projects (PPP), situated in Queen Mary’s Department of Drama - ranked number one in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise – undertakes research, workshops, seminars and practical teaching sessions to explore how the arts can address issues of social injustice. For more information on PPP, visit:

Favela to the World is working with the following UK cultural agencies: Shoreditch Trust; Theatre Royal, Stratford East; Contact in Manchester and Dance City in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.    

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