Two women examining gems spread out on sheet of paper
Participants on the Turquoise Mountain Jewellery Residency in Afghanistan.  ©

British Council 

Encouraging engagement with cultural heritage

South Asia is home to very diverse communities and therefore cultural heritage; historically cross cultural interactions have formed the social fabric of the region. However, current or recent conflicts, inequality and social exclusion particularly based on age, gender, race or ethnicity, threatens plurality, diversity and freedom of expression, inhibiting harmonious interaction among people and groups with varied and dynamic cultural identities as well as their willingness to live together.

Young people largely grow up within this context, often given little exposure to diverse narratives or opportunities to explore their cultural heritage.  Our programme in South Asia aims to support museums, heritage sites, the cultural and education sectors to engage young people with cultural heritage by innovative approaches using creative and digital innovation. Through better understanding of shared cultural heritage, we aim to foster inclusion, respect for diversity in addition to a sense of belonging, participation and legitimacy.

Supporting the inclusion and economic empowerment of women and girls

This second strand of our South Asia programme aims to utilise the power of the arts to challenge and shift attitudes that can perpetuate gender inequality, and harness the potential of the creative sector as a source of economic empowerment. 

A piece of action research will be conducted, designed to identify effective and appropriate arts interventions which can offer a tailored and impactful approach.

We aim to make the empowerment of women and girls a priority across our regional arts work in order to, where appropriate, support programmes which identify women and girls as beneficiaries of culture and development programmes.