Festival Connect: Festival to Festival | Festival to Artists & Creatives

Applications are now closed.

FestivalConnect 2020 is open to festivals in the UK and SSA*. It facilitates connections, exchanges and showcases contemporary arts between UK and SSA festivals across art forms and at a scaled ambition. We believe festivals are unique environments and make for condensed and intense experiences, and we would like to see ambitious and experimental projects fostered through this call. This requires a partnership between two festivals, one in SSA and one in the UK, but does not necessarily have to take place at both festivals, or it could be programming new art or creative work by young international artists.*see eligible countries below


Join us for a FestivalConnect webinar where you will find out more about this open call with: the kind of projects we are looking for, the criteria for application, an application walkthrough, and lastly, a question and answer session. Both webinars will be recorded - with links added below 3 days after recording.

SSA Arts programme - Why festivals? 

Festivals are vibrant artistic platforms - they are meeting points, and a hive of activity for people to network, exchange skills, share ideas, and each other’s art with wide and varied audiences. Across SSA and the UK, we engage and work with festivals in different ways; encourage sharing of knowledge, build intelligence on festival models and exchange and offer opportunities to showcase and collaborate across art form and countries. This provides audiences with fresh content and access to contemporary African and British art and artists. We do this through engaging with young festival leadership, support a digital arts residency in partnership with several festivals, and through our FestivalConnect open call.

There are two streams you can apply to: 

  • Festival to Festival– Supporting exchange between Festivals who would benefit from connecting and sharing with each other, creatively and professionally. 
  • Festival to Artist & Creatives – Supporting festivals to programme artists and creatives from SSA and the UK, so more SSA and UK 18-35-year-old's have access to take part, collaborate and showcase their creative work with audiences of that country.

FestivalConnect requirements: 

  • Your proposal value should be between 10,000 – 20,000 GBP (or the equivalent in local currency) 
  • A confirmed partnership or booking between festivals, organisations or artists 
  • Proposals must be festival led 
  • Your proposal must address one or more of the expected outcomes
  • Your proposal must have one partner in SSA and one in the UK 
  • If you are proposing to programme artists, the artist needs to come from the reciprocating country (ie UK or SSA) 
  • The activity should take place between May 2020 and May 2021 
  • The festivals involved should have presented a minimum of three iterations of its festival 
  • Your project should attract an 18 and 35 years old audience
  • Artists programmed must be between 18 and 35 years old
  • Open to festivals, biennales, art fairs, large-scale exhibitions or seasons


Applications will be assessed against the requirements and project aims. They will be reviewed by a selection panel, including representatives from the British Council Arts team and external partners (who sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements).

What can this look like:

  • Programming of young, emerging artists between UK and SSA festivals 
  • Incubation of existing art (e.g. Existing work that would benefit from further development) 
  • Cross programming/curating of work  
  • Professional development of artists and festival management teams or professionals  
  • Co-producing work 
  • Experimentation between festivals

What it is not:


  • Commissioning new work  
  • A quick fix to programme shortfall 
  • Doesn’t need to be reciprocal 
  • Mobility only * 
  • Technical skills training programmes

*We have other opportunities for mobility: in_Motion (SSA to SSA), in_Motion Scoping Grants (UK to SSA).

Eligible Countries

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

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

West Africa: Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leonne, Senegal

UK: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales

Disability Arts

The British Council aims to promote the work of the unique generation of excellent disabled artists, disabled-led companies, inclusive arts organisations and festivals. You are able to indicate disability arts in your application and to insert additional budget items over and above the 10 000-20 000GBP budget in alignment with your requirements. For more information on our Disability Arts please visit - Disability Arts International.

Expected Outcomes

  • Foster stronger connections between the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa festivals to share best practice, festival led models and collaborations.
  • Increase the festivals ability to programme international contemporary art and share this with young audiences in the UK and/or SSA.
  • Increase knowledge, professional and creative skills and networks of participating artists and/or festival managers/teams.

Questions & Feedback

  • questions around application must be made during the two webinar sessions (13 December 2019, 15 January 2020). Links to the recordings of the webinar are available in the webinar section of this page.
  • Ad-hoc questions can be made here (any questions already answered on the FAQ document, coming 6 January, will not be responded to)
  • Shortlisted projects will be notified by 9 March 2020.
  • Non-shortlisted projects will be notified by 9 March 2020 – requests for feedback on non-selection will not be accepted or responded to.
  • Shortlisted projects not selected will be notified by 2 April 2020 – requests for feedback will be answered in the month of April, please allow up to 30 days for response.


April 2020 - Shortlisted projects may ask for feedback from the first week of April