UK-UAE Cultural Professionals Connect is a grant programme funded by the FCDO and delivered in partnership with the British Council in UAE to foster international mobility, networking and creative exchanges through arts and culture.

The programme provides grants to the following groups:

  • Artists, cultural professionals and creative practitioners.
  • Art and cultural organisations, art institutions and collectives.

What are the grants for?

The programme aims is to support new or existing connections, exchanges, and collaborations between artists in the UK and the UAE. It will foster international opportunities for UK artists through exposure to new audiences and access to the UAE market. In parallel, the programme will contribute to the creative development of the UAE.The grant should be used to support activities with artistic expression or creativity at the core and that will result in collaborative activities including one of the below three key elements:

  • Artistic exchange and co-creation
  • Contact with UAE audiences
  • Academic/educational sessions to share skills, knowledge and practice

Various approaches can be employed to realise the three elements such as art residencies, exhibitions, performances, showcases, publications, workshops, masterclasses, webinars, and conferences.

What are the available grants?

Eight grants will be awarded, each grant is up to £5,000 to support face to face or online / digital networking and collaboration between the UK and the UAE to develop art and cultural activities together or facilitate skills and knowledge exchange.

Face-to-face activities in the application should be delivered in the UAE; however, the applications that include an additional exchange component to the UK (activity to be delivered in the UK including a UAE-based artist) will be given extra points and additional funding up to £2,000.

If any applicants have access requirements for delivering the proposed activities, they will be able to request additional funding up to £2,000. The details of any access requirements must be included in the budget.

Grants are offered to applicants in the following art forms: Film, Literature, Music, Theatre and Dance, Visual Art. Inter- and cross-disciplinary practices are encouraged.

Eligibility conditions:

  • A UK lead applicant must nominate a UAE counterpart, or a UAE lead applicant must nominate a UK counterpart.
  • Each application must comprise of at least one UK applicant and one UAE applicant.
  • There is no preference whether the lead applicant is in the UAE or the UK.
  • A complete application should be received by 15 November 2021
  • Priority will be given to proposals working primarily with young artists between 18 – 35 years old, women, LBGTQ+, disabled artists, and/or address equality, diversity, inclusion, or environmental sustainability issues.
  • The grant will be paid to one applicant; however, the budget section of the application should show how the activities will benefit both UK and UAE applicants.
  • Activities in the application should be delivered no later than 15 March 2022.
  • Activities in the application should be delivered in the UAE. Additional points will be given to proposals which include additional activities delivered in the UK including UAE artists.
  • UK applicants should provide a letter of support issued by the UAE organisation or institution they want to partner with.
  • UK applicants are encouraged to partner with key organisations / institutions in UAE.

 Grantee’s obligations:

  • Grantees will be required to report about their activities using a template provided by the British Council.
  • Grantees should follow the British Council’s brand guidelines and highlight the British Council support when applicable.
  • Grantees might be requested to participate in case studies or short films to share their experience.
  • The British Council might collect feedback from the grant activities’ participants/attendees to inform the programme’s evaluation.
  • Grantees will be expected to join an online closing session in March 2022. Details to be confirmed.

Grant timeline:

The application site will be open for three weeks from 25 October to 15 November 2021.
Your application will be evaluated by British Council staff from the UK and UAE and we will let all applicants know the outcome of their applications via email by 22 November 2021.
Successful applicants will sign a British Council Grant agreement and share payment details for the transfer of the funds. Payment will be done in December 2021. As grantees deliver their activities, British Council staff will be in communication with them for support and progress updates. The grant activity must be completed by 15th March 2022 and a final report should be submitted by grantees using a template provided by the British Council.

How to apply?

Complete the online application form here.

UK applicants can find information about key arts and culture organisations in UAE in the enclosed Brief Guide to the Cultural Scene in the United Arab Emirates.

For further information and assistance, please email any questions to: