The British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts programme works in the diverse and varied countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Individually, each country and art sector has much to offer and exchange, collectively they tell multi-layered stories of contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. 

Our arts programmes are underpinned by research, focused on young people (18 – 35-year olds), and are committed to: 

  • Supporting the creation of new art and sharing this art to audiences both online and in-person
  • Sharing skills and knowledge between creative communities in the countries of SSA and the U.K
  • Creating new connections between young people in the countries of SSA and the UK.

Our programmes are delivered by partners (artists, arts professionals, arts organisations, collectives, hubs) who have the vision and understanding of their creative communities and are best placed to lead and tell the stories of their local art sectors. With our partners, we stimulate new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts.

We focus our resources on three areas:

Cultural Exchange

We have developed the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts Cultural Exchange Open Call to provide grants to cultural organisations, festivals, artists, and creatives between the countries of SSA* and the UK to create art, build networks, collaborate and develop markets​ and share artists’ work with audiences. See our current Open Calls for our 2022/23.

Creative Economy

The Creative Economy 2021/2 funding round will focus on supporting the creative economies in 8 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to provide young people with the skills, opportunities and knowledge that they need to build sustainable creative enterprises.

This will include mentoring, business incubation and acceleration, and peer networks, for cultural and Creative Organisations and Institutions based in the UK and one of Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and South Africa will be invited to jointly develop content for Creative Economy SSA Arts.

Ignite Culture

Ignite Culture is a new and exciting grant facility for the cultural and creative sectors in 14 countries in Eastern Africa! This Eastern Africa focused fund is part of the global ACP-EU Culture Programme which is being implemented by HEVA , in partnership with the British Council Kenya with the financial contribution of the European Union, and with further support from the Organisation of ACP (African, Carribean and Pacific) States.The call goes live on the 9th of August 2021.

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Southern Africa: 
East Africa: and
West Africa:

For information on our work in the Arts in North Africa please contact

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Photographer Andrew Munuwa's (Tanzania) installation during ColabNowNow 2018 at the Maputo Fast Forward Festival.

New Narratives

Find out more about our approach to our Arts programming through our New Narratives research.