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Opportunity: Art Connects Us



8 November 2017

The British Council's Architecture Design Fashion team (ADF) is seeking expressions of interest from UK organisations working in architecture, design, fashion and craft to undertake research in Sub-Saharan Africa between January and March 2018.

The research will be made possible by a maximum of 3 individual 'Art Connects Us' research grants of £2,500 (each) to proposals put forward by UK organisations operating across these different design disciplines, with an aim to increase the connections and understanding between the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) design sectors. This opportunity aims to:

  • Facilitate the UK design sectors' ambitions to connect with young African creatives (18-35);
  • Increase the opportunities for UK partners to visit African cities and gain further insight into the local creative sector;
  • Encourage and support the development of networks that connect the UK and SSA creative sectors;
  • Widen the opportunities for SSA creatives to connect with UK organisations

Art Connects Us

Art Connects Us is the British Council Sub-Saharan Africa strategy that supports our vision to develop stronger creative sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa that are better connected to the UK. Through commissioning research, new work and programmes we will enable the UK to hear clearly the voices of young Africans creatives. We work through our partners in the creative sectors of the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa to ultimately grow and strengthen the following:

Art, audiences and innovation - Sharing the best of arts and culture in the UK and SSA will be at the heart of our agenda. We will be a catalyst for partners working to bring new art to audiences. 

Skills and networking - We will continually strive to stretch audiences for the arts through developing new networks and skills for our partners. 

Brokering and communication - We will help communicate the work of the creative sectors where we work enabling artists and audiences to connect with each other.

Sub-Saharan Region

The region is arranged in three clusters: East, West and Southern Africa. Each one of the clusters has its own Arts strategy that takes as a starting point the overarching strategy for the region and responds to the needs of the local cultural context, its strengths, issues and potentials.

Expressions of interest will need to focus on a specific cluster and proposals that include research across more than one country in the chosen cluster are encouraged. Please find details of each cluster strategy and objectives in the Notes section at the end of the Call for Expressions of Interest document (see page 4). The countries in which the research can take place are: 

West Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone

East Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan

Southern Africa: Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia

The Grants

Up to 3 individual research grants of £2,500 (each) will be awarded to proposals across architecture, design, fashion and crafts for travel and research in Sub-Saharan Africa between December 2017 and March 2018. The selected organisations will be expected to:

  • Commit time before the visit for preparation and research, including a briefing session in advance (either in person or via video conference);
  • Provide a plan of travel and study before departure for the research visit in the region;
  • Document observations and keep a travelogue to be published periodically via the ADF website;
  • Provide a final report outlining main research finding and potential suggestions for future programmes - this report can take a variety of formats, e.g. written report, video diary, digital;
  • Organise, in consultation with the British Council, a public event in the UK to share the research findings with the UK creative community.


Cross-disciplinary research proposals are welcome. Applicants must:

  • Be UK-based organisations working in architecture, design, fashion, crafts, critical research and writing or curatorial
  • Have a minimum of 2 years' experience in their sector;
  • Demonstrate experience or interest in collaborative research and work;
  • Be able to travel to the region between January and April 2018;
  • Clearly explain how the research proposal aligns (or addresses) at least one of the ‘Three Key Objectives’ as outlined in the invitation to expressions of interest document;
  • Commit a proportion of their grant towards the organisation of a public event in the UK to share research findings.

How to Apply

If your organisation fulfulls the criteria above and you would like to apply, download the Call for Expressions of Interest document.

Deadline for applications is 18:00 (GMT) Thursday 23 November 2017.