Call for applications: Sub-Saharan Africa Arts Cultural Exchange programme

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The programme seeks to build on previous open calls related to mobility, exchange and art. Launched on 26 July, the call supports organisations and individuals in SSA and the UK to develop new ways of working internationally and allowing cultural exchange to flourish despite restrictions on global movement. The emphasis will be on collaborating virtually to research or deliver digital arts projects with a partner based in the target countries and the UK.

Individuals and organisations in participating countries (see eligibility criteria below) can apply for grants in three categories:

Research (grants up to £5 000)

Grants to undertake research between SSA and UK arts and creative sectors. Research may take the form of meeting with potential arts partners, finding out more about the arts ecosystem in a particular country, gaining an understanding of artistic trends, meeting artists and/or attending events and festivals. Applicants should share research outcomes in a public format of their choice – for example, a diary, blog, photoblog, an event, or a film.

New Connections (grants between £5 000 and £10 000)

Grants to support new or early-stage collaborations between artists, arts professionals and partners in SSA and the UK. Projects can include research and development but must include at least one public event, online and/or in-person (in line with COVID-19 regulations in country). Applications from organisations or individuals who have little or no experience of working internationally and are establishing new connections are particularly welcome.

New Art Co-Creation (grants between £20 000 and £30 000)

Grants to support larger-scale collaborative projects by individuals or organisations in SSA and the UK. Projects should result in new art being created and shared with audiences online or face-to-face. Applicants should already have established working relationships with their partners and a track record of delivering collaborative projects. Projects must include public-facing activities in the eligible countries.


The call for applications is open to artists, arts organisations, festivals, arts professionals and creative sector researchers working across all art forms including music, architecture, design & fashion, film, literature, visual art, theatre and dance with audiences predominantly from 18 to 35 years. Applications may only be made in the eligible countries (below). There is no preference whether the lead partner that applies is in sub-Saharan Africa or the UK. Partner organisations are seen as mutual applicants.

The grant will be paid to one organisation. However, to ensure equitable distribution of funds between partner organisations, the budget should ensure a split of about 50%/50% of the grant award between two partner organisations, or no more than 60%/40%. Projects working primarily with women, LBGTQ+ and/or disabled artists will be favourably scored under the diversity section of the application.

Eligible countries

  • Research: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales), Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • New Connections: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales), Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  • New Art Co-Creation: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan and the UK.

NOTE: Both the New Connections and New Art Co-Creation require having one sub-Saharan Africa and one UK partner.

Applications will open on 2 August. The submission deadlines for each category are as follows:

  • New Connections: 8 September.
  • Collaborative Artmaking: 8 September.
  • Research: Rolling application until 1 February.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview at the end of September. Successful applicants will be contacted by the end of October and all applicants will be notified of their application status in November.

“We have always supported international collaboration through our work in arts and culture, but as travel becomes more challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic and with ongoing questions about the sustainability of international travel in the light of the climate crisis, we’re now looking to facilitate that collaboration digitally,” the British Council said. “We will prioritise projects which contribute to new narratives between countries of SSA and the UK. By this we mean projects that highlight/amplify less heard stories and perspectives of SSA in the UK and the UK in SSA.”

View the original call here.


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