CAN was founded in 2005 as a not-for-profit arts organisation (formerly Chinese/Chinatown Arts Space) to develop, commission and present to the public work exploring contemporary Chinese perspectives and art forms, and work that blends Chinese and other contemporary art forms. In 2018, CAN became a National Portfolio Organisation supported by Arts Council England.
CAN has built an extensive network of partner organisations interested in presenting this work including Southbank Centre, Rich Mix, Soho Theatre, Artsadmin, LSO St Luke’s, BFI, Camden People’s Theatre, Young Vic, Tamasha, Yellow Earth, Dance Umbrella, The Place, PRS Foundation, Asia House, Chopsticks Club and many more. CAN also has a close relationship with regional companies such as Pagoda Arts and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Arts in North West England.
In 2019, CAN held CAN Festival 2019, the first arts festival across London dedicated to showcasing to the public performing arts that explore contemporary Chinese themes, perspectives and art forms, and work that blends Chinese and other contemporary art forms. The festival showcased a diverse range of art forms (music, drama, live art, dance, films, digital arts) with over 60 events across London.