Co-creating new narratives  



British Council’s Sub-Saharan Africa strategy aims to create opportunities for young people, enabling them to improve their chances of employment, bolster their resilience, and grow their networks. The strategy has been developed through a consultative process using extensive market research and depends on long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships between Africa and the UK to lead to more prosperous and secure futures.

As part of the strategy, we have embarked on a new programme, New Narratives, that will support more diverse, alternative narratives between young people in Africa and the UK. The programme aims to contribute to changing reciprocal perceptions between both places to stimulate new understanding which will unlock new connections and collaborations for mutual benefit. The programme will work across our business areas including the Cultural and Creative Industries, Education and Social Inclusion. It will include online and offline activities that present new ways for young people across countries of Africa and the UK to engage with each other.

To inform the programme's design, we commissioned M&C Saatchi World Services to undertake some research. This investigated perceptions and stereotypical narratives of countries of Africa and the UK, and how it affects UK - Africa relations. 


Targeting a youth (18 – 35-year-old) audience, the co-creation grant aims to support Africa and UK cultural partnerships to develop digital, face-to-face, and hybrid artistic projects that examine New Narratives. We are offering THREE co-creation grants of up to GBP20,000, to three different hubs/collectives.

We are inviting multidisciplinary hubs and/or collectives working across technology, science, or arts and culture to co-create works and/or deliver projects that speak to New Narratives through exploring thematic areas in different disciplines. Themes for projects can range from climate, higher education, arts, digital innovation, heritage/culture, media, and more. The grant will support the production of new works, building connections, and collaboration across different countries. While this grant is not designed for research, an element of research can be included in the project.

Objectives of grant

  • Storytelling – Using a variety of mediums and platforms, supporting the creation, sharing, and promotion of more nuanced stories that disrupt stereotypical narratives about countries of Africa and the UK.
  • Creative output - To support young people to produce new works that offer more contemporary, diverse, and plural narratives. 
  • Young engagement – To support and engage with more young people to shape current narratives and to facilitate stronger connections between the young people across the countries of Africa and the UK 

All applicants will have access to the New Narratives research (commissioned by M&C Saatchi World Services) as a reference point. The research presents:

  • A historical review of the narrative trajectories, cultural and socio-political themes dominating relations between the countries of Africa and the UK from 1500 to the present. 
  • An analysis and comparison of how young people in countries of Africa and the UK view each other, using images from popular culture. These images were gathered by narrative scouts and young people across the two regions. 
  • Youth discussions with young people from countries of Africa and the UK.

Who are we looking for:

Multidisciplinary hubs and/or collectives applying need to work directly with young people aged between 18 and 35yrs old and the core team can include creatives/practitioners/experts from different countries of Africa and the UK.

  • The administrative lead of the application needs to be from one of the primary1 countries listed, with the rest of the members of the group being from any of the listed secondary2 countries.
  • The group’s capability and skills must be spread across Africa and UK
  • There should be a clear articulation of the roles and responsibilities of each member of the group
  • The successful groups need to have Intellectual Property and other applicable rights agreed on and in place upon the signing of the contract.

Primary Countries: England, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Scotland, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Wales, Zimbabwe.

Secondary Countries: Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia


  • Disciplines: technology, science, or art
  • Thematic range includes climate, education, digital innovation, heritage/culture, media, and more.
  • Projects must have relevance across both Africa and UK and contribute to new narratives.
  • The projects must be multidisciplinary and innovative, across different artforms, that appeal to a young audience.
  • The project can take the form of collaborations and exchanges, exhibitions, installations, dialogue, and more, and should encourage the exploration of our different cultures and languages.
  • Projects should have the potential for scale to be further developed and shared with a broader audience, particularly through digital means, and have an impact on the group’s communities.
  • Projects must engage young people between 18 to 35-years through activities that are delivered face to face and online or that take on a hybrid approach, with a reach of at least: 
  1. 200 for face-to-face engagement
  2. 500 for online engagement (excluding impressions), 
  3. 250 face-to-face and 250 online for hybrid engagement, in countries across Africa and the UK.
  • Project to be delivered between September 2022 and September 2023. 
  • Providing a report/summary sharing insight  

Application process

  • Interested and eligible collectives/hubs will complete an online form with details of the proposed project and make-up of the collective. 
  • Hubs/collectives are requested to complete the online form by 30th August 2022 midnight CAT.
  • The 3 successful hubs/collectives will be notified by 12th September 2022.

Terms of the Grant

  • A grant agreement will be issued with detailed terms and conditions and will be signed with the lead administrative applicant. 
  • Project teams will be responsible for the marketing and communications of their project across the different countries of delivery.
  • All project collateral must adhere to British Council’s communication and branding requirements and should be visible across different social media channels to gain maximum visibility of the project (branding and social media guidelines will be provided). The collateral should be signed off by the British Council marketing team.
  • During delivery, the selected teams will be required to meet regularly with the British Council team to provide updates on the project and report on progress.
  • Upon completion of the project, teams will be required to submit financial and narrative reports using the project report templates provided.


Interested applicants will find a summary of the New Narratives Research here. For any queries, please send an email to: 

Glossary of terms

  1. Administrative partner - individual or organisation taking on responsibility for signing contract and managing finances and will be liable to British Council
  2. Art – artistic expression including visual arts, literature, film, dance, theatre, design 
  3. Climate – issues related to climate change and sustainability
  4. Collective or hub – group/team of individuals and/or organisations working collaboratively, across different countries towards a common goal
  5. Digital Innovation – creative solutions that respond to digital challenges, particularly with the advent of COVID-19 and the challenges it has highlighted across different sectors and communities
  6. Discipline – a broad field of interest and expertise that can include art, science, and technology
  7. Technology - the creation and use of technical means and how they relate to life, society, and the environment
  8. Theme – under a specified ‘discipline’, a subject or topic of discourse or of artistic representation

See also