Actor Sarah MacKeever performs during her India Residency
Courtesy of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, aerial circus performer, Sarah McKeever

The India-Northern Ireland: Connections Through Culture is a new grant scheme by the British Council that supports artistic collaboration and exchange between creative professionals and arts organisations in Northern Ireland and India. 

Linked to the diversity of India and the UK’s devolved nations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; the India-Northern Ireland Connections Through Culture grants will enable development of cross-cultural practice and new artistic work with scope to tour to arts festivals in India and Northern Ireland over the longer-term. 

The grant is designed to provide support to successful applicants for a period of 3 years, where:  

  • Year 1 is for the R&D for the proposed project.
  • Years 2 & 3 would include production and festivals touring.

As part of British Council's Festivals for the Future programme in India, the grant supports artistic collaboration and exchange between creative professionals and arts organisations in Northern Ireland and India, and enables development of cross-cultural practice and new artistic work with scope to tour to arts festivals in India and Northern Ireland over the longer-term.  

Individual artists, arts organisations and festivals based in India or Northern Ireland are invited to apply for the grant by submitting co-created project proposals for Year 1.

Aims and objectives of the programme

The programme offers opportunities for:

  • mutual and equitable collaboration between India and Northern Ireland with research and development grants for emerging and established artists and independent festivals or arts organisations in the two countries. (Year 1)
  • sharing the rich cultural heritage of India and Northern Ireland through innovative, new artistic works that have been co-created for touring to festivals in both the countries (Years 2 and 3).
  • artists and festivals in both countries to benefit from the inspiration gained from exchanging ideas and sharing their cultural history through development of new arts product.

Eligibility criteria

Who is eligible to apply?  

  • Any individual artist, arts organisation or non-profit festival who wants to R&D and is in the process of developing an arts project with a counterpart arts festival resulting in an exhibition, performance or public event. 
  • Each Indian applicant must have a partner in Northern Ireland or Vice Versa to be eligible to apply.
  • To be eligible to apply, you must be an Individual artist or member of staff of an arts organization or festival working together to submit a proposal that highlights the focus areas mentioned above.
  • Individuals or Festivals that already have existing partnerships with counterparts in India/Northern Ireland or are in the initial stages of their projects.
  • 2 successful projects from year 1 will be given the opportunity to be taken forward in year 2 and 3 of the funding process.

Who is not eligible? 

  • Applicants that do not have partner in India or Northern Ireland are not eligible to apply. The objective of the grant is to submit a collaborative project with one counterpart in the opposite country. For example: an Indian Artist must submit a joint proposal with an Arts organization/festival in Northern Ireland and Vice Versa. 
  • Joint applications wherein both partners are from the same country will not be accepted.
  • Connections through Culture aims to develop institutional links and therefore individual artists can only apply if they are seeking to work directly with a festival.
  • Proposals related to Craft will not be accepted.
  • Funding bodies and for-profit companies are ineligible  
  • Festival & Artists Creative Connections does not support academic links.  
  • For Indian applicants, individuals based (living) outside of India are ineligible, unless temporarily living outside of India but retaining a home address in India.  
  • For Northern Ireland applicants, individuals based (living) outside of Northern Ireland are ineligible, unless temporarily living outside of the United Kingdom but retaining a home address in Northern Ireland and defined by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs as ‘resident the in the UK’ for tax


What does the grant cover?

The grant will enable either an individual or one member of staff from your festival to visit counterparts in India or Northern Ireland for one or more of the following reasons:  

Year 1

  • Face-to-face arts project development between a festival and artists e.g. R&D residencies for creative collaboration, contractual negotiations  
  • Seeing and evaluating festivals and arts product of partner arts organisations  
  • Developing staff skills needed to realise a creative project through shadowing counterparts in partner arts organisations  

Year 2 

  • Further to the R&D scaling the arts project to production and festivals touring
  • Sharing the combined creative practice of Northern Ireland and India with festivals related venues and new audiences

Please note: applicants will need to make their own travel, visa, and insurance arrangements. The grant cannot be used for overheads cost, general running costs or professional fees - such as the purchase or hire of materials, equipment, venues, goods and/or services.

Number of grants available & expected outcomes

R&D Grants (up to GBP 5,000 per application) - grants cycle years 1 to 3

Up to 3 grants between India/Wales, India/Northern Ireland, India/Scotland and subject to resources India/England to enable artists or members of arts organisations to visit their counterparts in India or the UK for up to ten days, to develop projects, exchange skills or see others' work. 

Artistic Output/Public Facing Grants (up to GBP 15,000 per application) year 2 

In subsequent years a limited number of grants related to the cohort of grants projects from the previous year will be invited to access follow-up funding to take projects further. These grants will only be available to alumni who received initial grants in year 1 and are designed to be strategic grants to further facilitate collaboration and partnerships for the Festivals for the Future programme. Grants will be offered annually. 

Key dates

The applications are closed.

For questions, please refer to the 'Downloads' section below, or write to