Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe form part of the British Council cluster of Southern Africa Arts.

Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe form part of the British Council cluster of Southern Africa Arts. We create opportunities for urban 18 - 35 year old artists, creatives and audiences through programmes focusing on Creative Enterprise, Connections and Festivals. We do this through linking creative communities, partners and audiences both online and offline and across disciplines to build greater exposure for contemporary practice and culture. We undertake regional programmes where appropriate by responding to the interests and excitements of artists and arts organizations in the region and the UK. 

Our work in Sub-Saharan Africa

The British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa Arts programme (SSA Arts) works in the diverse and varied cities of Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.K. Individually, each city and art sector has much to offer and exchange, collectively they tell multi-layered stories of contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) 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 SSA and the U.K
  • Creating new connections between young people in 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.


Our research into the next generation of young people in SSA and the U.K. tells us that people want: 

  • Spaces to talk, share concerns, and support each other;
  • Business skills training, and peer to peer mentorship opportunities;
  • Capital to start-up creative businesses of their own.

We respond to this through our Creative Enterprise Support Programme, where we offer individuals and organisations training in business and digital skills, networking events, access to new markets, connections to resources and finance opportunities. 


Our British Council arts teams in SSA and the U.K. continually build their insight, expertise and first-hand knowledge of their contemporary art sectors in order to offer art making and mobility grants. At time of print, the live opportunities available are: 

new Art new Audiences: An annual open call for artists across SSA and the U.K. to make new art, and to share this art with international audiences. Apply here till 1 June 2019.

_in Motion: travel grants for SSA and UK artists to research and engage with each other’s art sectors, festivals, and creative communities - and to share their journeys with others.

We continually explore the art sectors in which we work, so that we can share knowledge with others and inspire new connections and imaginings between SSA and the U.K. We do this through storytelling projects such as the People’s Stories Project, and by being actively available to create new connections and respond to enquiries on our programmes. 


Festivals are vibrant artistic platforms. They are meeting points, and a hive of activity for people to network, share skills, exchange ideas, and share each other’s art with wide and varied audiences. We work with festivals across SSA and the U.K. through:

  • An annual meet up of festival leaders from SSA and the U.K
  • Future Festivals: An open call for SSA and U.K. festivals to exchange and showcase new contemporary art
  • ColabNowNow: A digital arts residency taking place within festivals, giving SSA and U.K. artists the time and space to experiment and collaborate in making new art, and presenting this art digitally.

See also