Opportunity: Grants for creative projects with the United Arab Emirates

DEADLINE EXTENDED : The British Council is offering up to four grants to support collaborative exchange between UAE and UK literary professionals as part of the Sharjah Market Focus and the Gulf Culture and Sport Programme.


The British Council is offering four small grants of £3000-4000 each to UK or UAE based organisations for activity taking place between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. These grants are being offered as part of the Sharjah Market Focus at The London Book Fair and as part of the Gulf Culture and Sport Programme, which aims to develop mutual understanding and respect through sharing and appreciating Gulf and UK culture, history and heritage, and by developing long-term arts and education relationships between institutions. 


Programme Objectives

  • Create opportunities for writers and other literary professionals from the UAE and the UK to reach new audiences, grow their profile and develop their professional practice;
  • More writing from the UAE available and shown in the UK in cultural and commercial realm; this writing showcases the quality, breadth and diversity of writers and writing from the Emirates;
  • Literary professionals from the UAE and the UK have more contact and deeper connection with each other and there are more UAE-UK collaborations .


About the Grants

The grant can be used for the delivery of a small-scale project or the scoping/research for a larger project which achieves at least one of the stated objectives above. Examples of funded activity include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • A visit a writer from the UAE to participate in a literary festival, mini-residency, workshop or deliver a talk
  • A showcase of literature from the UAE (in the UK) or from the UK (in the UAE) either online or in print
  • A research/scoping trip to develop a specific collaboration or partnership in the UK or the UAE
  • Online or digital collaborations or sharing of work between writers, organisations, translators or other literary professionals

Applications should describe in detail the opportunity for building connections, sharing expertise, skills and artistic practice. We will not accept applications for artist visits/performances where there is no element of local knowledge sharing or artistic or professional exchange. Collaborations that develop new connections will be prioritised over existing relationships.



Literature professionals (writers, translators, publishers, editors, programmers, booksellers) based in either the UK or the UAE may apply.

Proposals must specify the name of both the UAE and the UK individual or organisation they hope to collaborate with. If you do not know exactly which UAE or UK individual (writer, translator etc) or organisation (festival, publisher etc) you wish to work with, the British Council can make recommendations and introductions if your application is successful. (For example, your proposal can include a plan to host a writer from the Emirates, name tbc.)



Deadline extended: APPLY HERE by 23.59 GMT on Sunday 15 March 2020.

The application asks you to:

  • Describe what you propose to do with the grant, including specifics on the individuals/partners you will / might like to work with. (200 words)
  • How does the activity/project meet some or all the objectives stated above? (200 words)
  • How does this activity fit strategically with your work? What experience do you have of delivering similar projects? (200 words)
  • What is the budget breakdown? Are you receiving in-kind or financial support from other sources?
  • When will the proposed activity take place? Please give a brief timeline.
  • Provide a short biography for the applicants / individuals applying for this grant and/or an organisational blurb. (200 words)


Selection Process

Grants will be awarded based on responses to the above and which is most likely to contribute to the stated objectives. There will be up to 2 grants issued to UK based individuals/organisations and up to 2 grants issued to UAE based individuals/organisations. 

If you receive a grant, you will be required to evaluate the activity against your proposal and submit it as a written report to the British Council within six weeks of completion.

We welcome any questions about this programme before the 15 March 2020 deadline. Please contact Rebecca Hart, Literature Programme Manager (Rebecca.Hart [at] britishcouncil.org) and we will respond as soon as possible to enable you to submit on time.

Applicants will be notified whether their application has been successful by Wednesday 18 March 2020.

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