Cultural Skills Unit Research Call


We are pleased to announce a call for proposals to undertake research into skills within the cultural sector in India across four cities: Mumbai; Chennai; Bangalore and Kolkata.

This research is being commissioned by the British Council’s Cultural Skills Unit which develops global programmes in capacity-building and professional skills for institutions, organisations and individuals to support a stronger, more prosperous cultural sector.

The research aims to identify professional development and learning needs as well as market demand, address skills gaps and identify opportunities to support India’s thriving creative talent. Research is on-going in Delhi and we are looking to expand research across other cities.

We are seeking applications from organisations, groups or individuals with relevant experience to submit proposals. 

Who can apply

An individual or team who has experience of conducting social research, preferably in India, and within the cultural sector. They should have a good knowledge of the cultural sector across India, but specifically in the city or cities where they propose to work.

Agencies, higher education institutions or individuals may wish to form consortia to incorporate appropriate skill sets and experience. The researcher or research team must be able to conduct primary research in English in addition to the local language of the city in order to include a wide range of interviews. 

The purpose of this call

The better skilled any sector is, the better it is able to support growth at national and grass-roots levels, building a more sustainable industry which contributes to society socially and economically. 

Access to relevant skills programmes can enhance employability, open up new career pathways and bring confidence in building a stronger, more prosperous cultural sector.

Networks are formed opening up more opportunities for business, learning and exchange – individuals and institutions are better connected to eachother and collaborative working is enhanced. 

New local, national and international partnerships are developed which benefit individual professional and industry needs.

Deadline for receiving applications 

12 August 2016, for commissioning by 17 August 2016. 

For those interested in applying, please read supporting documents and complete the application forms in the downloads sections below. Completed applications must be submitted by 12 August. All clarification questions and applications for submission should be sent to the following address: by 2 August. 


Objective of Cultural Skills Research

The purpose of this research is to provide a contextual snapshot of India’s cultural sector, cultural-education and socio-economic landscapes. It should provide an overview of the skills gaps and opportunities (technical and transversal, not artistic) and labour shortages affecting the cultural sector in India, including any differences or similarities across sectors and cities. When talking about skills in the cultural sector, we are referring to all of the non-creative skills which support the artistic process. This includes technical skills, such as lighting design, stage management, exhibition installation, as well as more administrative roles such as arts management, arts marketing, finance skills in the arts etc.

Key players who can address the skills needs will be identified, as well as an outline of market demand for their products (if applicable). Potential partners and possible co-investors for future programme development will also be acknowledged in the paper. 

The findings from the research should have useful, practical applications that can assist in identifying the challenges and opportunities for the British Council to respond to the demand for capacity development within the cultural sector in India and providing skills that will further support India’s thriving creative talent. The research will also provide indications as to how to address this demand, including information such as structure, format, and price points for potential training courses.

The research will provide clear recommendations to inform the development of new evidenced-based programmes and products with recommended business models. The report will be available as a resource for Indian and international arts professionals alike who want to develop skills-based partnerships and programmes in India.



A mixed methods approach should be employed by the Consultant. This is in keeping with the precedent set in other regions of the world where CSU research has been undertaken. This should include: 

1.A desk based literature review which provides an introduction to the cultural sector and an overview of the skills gaps in the cultural sector across India as a whole.

2.Semi-structured interviews (approximately 30-40 per city) with professionals working in the areas of theatre, dance, music, fashion, film, festivals museums and heritage and visual arts. 

3.Focus groups with sector professionals.

4.Speaking with young people who are studying to enter into employment in the sector, either through an online survey or focus groups.

5.An online survey to increase reach and provide a quantitative element to the research (anticipated sample of at least 100 per city).



The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. In the Arts we work with the best of British and international artistic and creative talent to develop events and collaborations which link thousands of artists, organisations and audiences worldwide. In addition to staging shows and exhibitions, we partner with others on joint Arts projects and help develop creative leadership, professional networks and cultural educational programmes worldwide. The British Council is currently working to develop a more strategic skills offer for the arts and creative industries, responding to evidence of need and global demand. 

To support this endeavour, the Cultural Skills Unit (CSU), responsible for leading the scoping and coordination of skills programmes across the globe has been established. Everything the unit does is based on solid evidence. The CSU works to undertake research which identifies skills gaps, shortages and opportunities affecting the arts and creative industries internationally, in order to better inform the development of new programmes and partnerships.

The research consists of desk research into the cultural sector overall, and skills development in the sector, followed by interviews with sector professionals to get a clear understanding about the requirements of the sector, from those who know it best. 


Timeframe for this Research Call

RFP Issued to bidding suppliers 27  July 2016

Deadline for clarification questions (Clarification Deadline) 2 August 2016

British Council to respond to clarification questions 5 August 2016

Deadline for submission of RFP responses by potential suppliers (Response Deadline) 12 August 2016

Final Decision 17 August 2016 (anticipated)

Contract concluded with winning supplier 19 August 2016 (anticipated)

Contract start date 22 August 2016 (anticipated – to be agreed with winning supplier)

Agreement of list of interview and focus group contacts and mail out list for online survey 26 August 2016 (anticipated)

Primary fieldwork Early September 2016 (anticipated)

Online survey live Early - mid September 2016 (anticipated)

Discussion about recommendations and submission of findings so far Early October 2016 (anticipated)

Submission of first draft of report 17 October 2016 (anticipated)

Submission of final draft of report 31 October 2016 (anticipated)