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British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020

Applications are open for the British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020.

The British Council with the help of this grant intends to strengthen connections between the United Kingdom creative sectors and the young creative art experts in Sub-Saharan Africa. As well as building connections, the council aims to expand knowledge of contemporary African art in the UK with a view  to increasing work from Sub-Saharan African countries being seen and experienced by UK audiences.

With this aim in mind the British Council is seeking expressions of interest from UK based arts organisations/curators/programmers working in any of the following art forms -Visual Arts, Literature, Music, Theater, Dance, Architecture, Design, Fashion and Film to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa to connect with the indegenous art sectors, and carry out research which will be distributed to a wider UK sector in their area of choice. The trips are expected to take place between April 2019 and March 2020.

The research may take the form of meeting with potential artists and partners; finding out more about  your chosen art forms’ ecosystem in a one or more countries; developing an insight into of Sub-Saharan African creative arts; meeting with arts institutions and participating in events and art festivals with the aim of programming or curating artwork in the United Kingdom.

Eligible Countries For British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants

The eligible countries covered under this programme (in which the British Council operates) are Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Aims of the British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants

The British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants opportunity aims to:

  1. Assist the UK creative sector’s ambitions in terms of connecting with young, African creatives and art experts who are within 18 to 35-year-olds;
  2. increase chances for UK arts institutions and individuals to visit African cities and gain further insight into the chosen country’s local art sector;
  3. strengthen and support the widening of networks that connect both the UK and Sub-Saharan African creative sectors for the very long term;
  4. broaden the opportunities for creative professionals within Sub-Saharan Africa to connect with UK creative art organizations and arts experts.


Benefits in the British Council Research Grants for Sub-Sahara Africans 2019/2020

The British Council will award up to 9 grants of £2,500 (each) to applicants to carry out research of their choice in the creative art sector & explore the Sub-Saharan Region between the month of April 2019 and March 2020. In the assessment of applications, the Council will be considering a spread across the continent geographical.

Selected applicants will be expected to:

  1. Commit time before the visit for preparation and research, including a briefing session with the British Council’s art team in advance (either in person or via video conference);
  2. Provide a plan of travel and outline areas of interest before departure for the research visit in the region;
  3. Document observations and keep a travelogue which could be published via the British Council;
  4. Provide a final report outlining main research finding, activity including who you met and connected with and potential suggestions for future programmes or curation linked to the artists you met. The report could take different formats (e.g. written, digital, film, photo-essay, interviews, podcast);
  5. Organize, in consultation with the British Council, a way to share the findings with your creative community in the UK;
  6. Be UK based.
  7. The selected grantees are expected to agree to any reasonable requests for press or media, to discuss media coverage with the British Council and to assist in ensuring the British Council is credited in any press coverage sought independently.
  8. Press information will be agreed upon with the British Council.

British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020 Selection Procedure

If you are awarded the grant you will be put in touch with your art form UK Programme Manager who will help you shape the content of your trip with input from local art staff in the country/countries, you are visiting. The Council can provide different levels of care depending on the country/countries you will visit. This will be discussed with you once your grant is confirmed but an overview is detailed below:

East Africa:
1. Email/phone advice prior to departure on partners/artists/organizations to meet
2. Meet and greet with country arts team once you arrive in your host country

Southern Africa:
1. Email/phone advice prior to departure on partners/artists/organizations to meet
2. Meet and greet with country arts team once you arrive in your host country
3. Connections to events and activities over the time you are in the country

West Africa:
1. Email/phone advice prior to departure on partners/artists/organizations to meet.
2. Visa support letter (if required)
3. A security briefing for important security tips

Criteria For British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020

The successful applicant for the British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020 is required to:

  1. be based at UK arts organization or individual with a proven track record of working internationally;
  2. have a minimum of 3years professional experience in their sector;
  3. demonstrate experience in working with international partners to deliver collaborative arts programmes;
  4. have a basic knowledge of their chosen art sector in the region which is being visited (although the British Council will provide support in putting together a detailed programme);
  5. demonstrate a clear rationale for the research they want to undertake;
  6. demonstrate a commitment to our British Council values
  7. commit to programming a UK public forum to share/disseminate the research findings, this can either be done online or in person(see Notes on page 7 for examples);
  8. have a valid passport for travel;
  9. have a valid visa for travel (if required);
  10. have valid travel insurance;
  11. be able to travel between April 2019 and March 2020.


How to apply for British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020

Interested applicants for this research grant should please submit a PDF Expression of Interest. Comprising:

  1. At least two examples of major projects and/or programmes which represent your area of work
  2. A brief statement (maximum of 800 words) highliting why you are applying for the grant and clearly state the following:
  3. State the country or countries you would like to focus and conduct your research
  4. State how the research proposal agrees with or addresses two of the ‘Art Connecting objectives’ of the council.
  5. State in details what you hope to achieve from the experience and outline some of the potential real applications of the research into a workable programme or project.
  6. Activity plan; identify the main stages of your activity during the research visit.
  7. A CV (up to 2 pages)

Your application should be in one PDF file and not more than 2MB in size. It should then be emailed to the address: [email protected] latest by 18:00 (GMT) on 8 March 2019.

Separate grant for a Personal Access Assistant will be discussed on a case by case basis for people with disability or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it difficult for you travel on your own.


Selection Process for British Council Sub-Saharan Africa Research Grants 2019/2020

Applications will be assessed against the criteria above and against the project aims as pointed out above. They will be reviewed by a selection panel, including representatives from the British Council Arts team, external partners and previous research grant recipients.

Application Deadline/Closing Date
18:00 hours (GMT) on 8th March 2019.
Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 25th March 2019.


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