Following a successful digital edition of the Festivals Academy Digital Intermediate Course (January2021) British Council launches the digital university accredited South Asia Festivals Academy 2021 through a 10-week immersive, structured, skills development programme delivered by experts, the course is made up of lectures, group work guest speakers, includes coursework, workshops and more 

In partnership with Edinburgh Napier University along with expert festival trainers in the UK and Region (Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh an India), the South Asia Festivals Academy will run a Beginner’s and Intermediate Course commencing in September 2021 

In 2019, we led a series of professional development residency courses with access to international arts management and creative opportunity working with various festival partners in Goa and Guwahati.


Course date and time

Beginner and Intermediate Academy will run through 10 weeks

Course Level Date  Timings 
Beginner  13 September to 15 November 2021  Mondays 09.30 – 12.30 UK time
Intermediate 17 January to 22 March 2021 Tuesdays 09.30 – 12.30 UK time

Who’s eligible to apply and will benefit from the course?

The course welcome festivals Women led, LGBTQI focus, Disability Arts (Audience, Artists and Festival Managers). Festivals can be single artform, cross artform, or multi-disciplinary.

For the Beginners Course: 

  • Applicants run cultural events with ambitions to develop these in to a festival format
  • Applications by entry-level festival professionals (up to 5 years)
  • Applicants should be promising leaders/founders of festivals of any genre. 
  • Applicants should be promising managers/employees/ consultants/project managers working with existing festivals. 
  • Applicants’ backgrounds can range from artistic and curatorial to management, marketing, business development, fundraising etc

For Intermediate Course:

  •  Open to all passionate and committed festival directors, founders, entrepreneurs, and senior managers of arts and cultural festivals across South Asia   
  • Those who demonstrate active festival experience in a senior leadership role  
  • Those who have 5 to 10 years’ experience in the arts and cultural sector  
  •  Applicants’ backgrounds can range from artistic leadership to organisational management, business development, marketing and fundraising etc
  • No sector experts, veterans, or policy makers  
  • No entry-level professionals  

What are the course areas and modules?

  • Income Generation : focuses on Income generation including festival sponsorship, CSR, grants and fundraising, and on working with the participants to shape their business plans
  • Business Development: Key components of developing a successful business model and learning through the creation of a practical draft business plan. 
  • Governance Structures: Introduction to models of governance and different leadership and organisational cultures. 
  • Artistic Policy and Programming: Programming strategies and matrix, taking risks and ensuring excellence, commissioning and supporting new talent, building successful partnerships and networks. 
  • Operations and Financial Management: Building and managing teams, choosing a financial model, management accounts, cashflows, and project budgets. 
  • Audience Development and Engagement: Developing audience segmentation, communication strategy, and building engaged communities. 
  • Arts Festivals contexts in South Asia and the UK: Understanding artistic, geographic and historic influence on festivals


What are the learning objectives?

  • Participants will be challenged in their knowledge and proficiency in festival management in a collaborative learning environment, imparting new skills in and approaches to business development and understand the environment during a crisis (crisis management) 
  • Participants will gain wider professional expertise centered on business development including festival governance, finance, operations, strategic approaches to income generation, audience development and engagement, artistic policy and programming, and social and environmental sustainability. 
  • Participants will be receiving an accredited at Scottish Credit Qualifications Credit (SCQF) levels, in line with all credit-bearing courses and degree programmes provided and delivered by Scottish Universities post completion of the digital Festivals Academy
  • Participants will draft, produce, and present a draft festival business plan and toolkit for their festival’s vision.
  • Participant will be leaving confident that they can apply the learning to support their festival strategies in their local contexts. 
  • Support participants to flourish as individual festivals and work together as a sector
  • Identify ways to support the festival sector and leaders of the future
  • Learning new ways to build EDI into digital products and services
  • Develop a national and international network and peer group

Application details to be announced soon!

Watch this space for more details.

Write to us at for queries.