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OPPORTUNITY: UK Gulf Exhibition Programme

OPPORTUNITY: UK Gulf Exhibition Programme Mathaf Museum, Qatar

Mathaf Museum, Qatar

25 January 2018

The UK-Gulf Exhibition Programme – which has been granted to the British Council by the UK government – will support UK galleries and museums to partner with institutions in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This new initiative will showcase the best of UK art and offer inspiration and high quality educational opportunities for the region’s youth who make up more than half the population in the Gulf.

UK-based non-profit museums can apply for grants of up to £5,000 (deadline 11 February 2018) for an initial scoping exercise. If successful they can then apply for a grant of up to £100,000 (deadline 21 June 2018).

This fund is part of a three year programme of culture and sports activities in the Gulf, responding to the growing interest among younger generations in the Gulf to produce, experience and participate in cultural activities.

It will also create new opportunities for UK and Gulf institutions to foster long-term cultural and educational relationships. 

The Exhibition Programme Aim and Objectives

The aim of this fund is to enable UK institutions to bring exhibitions to the Gulf, working in collaboration with museums in the region that are aligned in their aims and objectives. These exhibitions must offer extensive engagement and learning opportunities for the target audience (14–30 year old Gulf nationals), both at the museums as well as through digital platforms and educational activities.

  • Support and encourage new partnerships between institutions in the UK and the Gulf
  • Support the delivery of at least four large scale exhibitions in the Gulf between mid–2018 and end–2020
  • Deliver extensive audience engagement programmes associated with the exhibitions for the target audience (14–30 year old Gulf nationals)
  • Create opportunities for capacity building, skill and knowledge sharing between UK and Gulf institutions, ensuring institutional partnerships and collaborations beyond 2020 are deep and strong relationships are mutually beneficial, leaving a lasting legacy

Exhibition Selection Criteria

  • The exhibition content will be appealing to the target audience: 14–30 year old Gulf residents
  • The exhibition will provide a high quality educational experience not just within the museum, but also through outreach and digital
  • The exhibition will be family friendly and will have an engaging and interactive element
  • The exhibition content will be flexible, suitable for and able to adapt to a local audience
  • The exhibitions can travel to the Gulf with an opening date prior to April 2020
  • The Gulf/UK venue partnership will offer skills sharing and professional development opportunities
  • The exhibition content will showcase the best and most innovative exhibition practice
  • The exhibition will be the start of a new partnership between the institutions

UK Institutions applying to the fund must be able to demonstrate that they have the capability and resources to work internationally on a large scale exhibition in collaboration with selected institutions in the Gulf. They will not need to demonstrate that they have existing connections with Gulf institutions nor will they be expected to have previous experience of working in the Gulf. They will, however, need to ensure that they have mechanisms in place to ensure that they are able to report back to the British Council on how and where the funds have been spent, that the objectives have been met and that the collaboration has had a lasting impact.

Additional Considerations

  • All publicity must include the Culture is GREAT logo and British Council logo at the exhibition venue in the Gulf and in all related publication material e.g. catalogue, postcards etc
  • All written content must be in Arabic and English
  • All aspects of the exhibition must be inclusive and accessible
  • Successful applicants must provide images of the exhibition including images of people engaging with the items in the exhibition, permission will need to be sought in advance from people featured in the images
  • Visitor figures will need to be broken down by age, nationality and gender
  • The number of special outreach events organised that are directly linked to the exhibition must be reported
  • Media  & communication report documenting the media reach of the exhibition must be supplied
  • Income and expenditure report – detailing how the funds were used & detailing any additional sponsorship achieved as a result of the collaboration must be supplied
  • Successful applicants will need to provide a report outlining the impact of the exhibition on the UK organization, e.g. will this lead towards new exhibitions in the Gulf? Key learning from the partnership must be identified

Key Dates

Stage 1

  • 11 February 2018 Deadline for UK organisations to submit UK – Gulf Exhibition Programme applications
  • w/c 19 February 2018 The Exhibition Programme Selection Committee review applications
  • w/c 19 February 2018 Successful applicants notified in writing

We regret that due to the volume of applications we will not be able to provide feedback for unsuccessful applications

Stage 2

  • March 2018 Travel grants of up to £5,000 issued to successful applicants
  • March – 14 May 2018 UK institutions scoping visits to the Gulf to take place
  • 21 June 2018 Deadline for scoping visit trip reports to be submitted to the British Council
  • w/c 02 July 2018 The Exhibition Programme Selection Committee review submitted trip reports
  • w/c 09 July 2018 Successful applicants confirmed and announced publicly. Grants given of up to £100,000

 Stage 3

  • 2018 / 2019 Two exhibitions open in the Gulf
  • 2019 / 2020 Two exhibitions open in the Gulf
  • 01 April 2020 Any and all exhibitions awarded funding to have opened in the Gulf
  • 2020 Evaluation, impact and financial reporting at the close of the projects

How to Apply

Fill out the Application Form and return it to no later than 11 February 2018.

Before applying please read Application Guidelines.

Exhibition proposals will be measured against the Exhibition Selection Criteria outlined in UK-Gulf Exhibition Programme. 

Please use the UK-Gulf Exhibition Programme Venue Report to identify potential partner institutions in the Gulf.

If you have any questions please contact