Funding for creatives in England to build links with another country

Hoping to expand your international horizons? Apply to the Artists’ International Development Fund, an initiative from the British Council and Arts Council England to help artists and creative practitioners develop skills and collaborate internationally

One of our aims at the British Council is to help UK artists and creative practitioners develop their international careers. And while there are established routes into creating and touring work, it can be difficult to start building links with a particular country. That’s where our Artists’ International Development Fund (AIDF), in partnership with Arts Council England, comes in – it supports individuals to explore new contacts, develop skills overseas and collaborate internationally. It opens four times per year, and the deadline for the current round is Thursday 8 March.

"Global connections have never been more important. By introducing UK artists to the benefits of international working, we are also empowering them to become advocates for a collaborative cultural network around the world,” says Kate Arthurs, our Director Strategy, Arts. “The Artists’ International Development Fund enables innovative creative practitioners to broaden their horizons, reach new audiences, and represent the UK as the outwardly focused, creative nation that it is."

"Global connections have never been more important"

Tristan Glover's performance at Castlemaine state festivalOpening ceremony of Castlemaine State Festival, Australia. Co-produced and delivered by Tristan Glover, AIDF participant. Photograph: Shane Carey

The fund is highly competitive. “If you’re thinking of applying,” says Neil Webb, our Director Theatre and Dance, “my tip is: prepare well. Take a good amount of time to do your research and build an initial relationship with a contact in the country you want to visit. Think about what you can realistically get out of your visit and how it will benefit your practice and your networks in the short-term and the long-term. The stronger your plan is, the more likely it is that you’ll be successful.”

The programme is open to creative producers, curators, editors and artists, as well as architects, fashion designers and designers. Although AIDF is aimed at individual artists, small groups of artists who normally collaborate in their work can also apply; including musicians and visual artists who usually create work together, or writers and their translators. You can apply for up to a maximum of £5,000 and if you’re disabled, you can include additional access costs.

"My ideas and views as an artist have changed"

AIDF supported Rachael Nanyonjo to collaborate with Tabuflo, Ndere Dance Troupe and Mackerere University in Uganda in 2015. She spent four weeks documenting traditional dances of Uganda through interviews, classes, workshops and observing local artists’ rehearsals.

“I feel I have now been challenged to not make work that sits within my comfort zone but to be bold and experiment more”, observes Nanyonjo. “My ideas and views on sustainability as an artist have changed, [after] having observed the innovative ways artists fund themselves – there is not much arts funding in Uganda.” Nanyonjo was awarded the ADAD Trailblazer Fellowship, which she credits in part to her experience collaborating in Uganda.


At a glance:


How much can I apply for?
A minimum of £1,000 up to a maximum of £5,000, not including access costs.

Where can I apply to work?
AIDF can support activities happening anywhere in the world, outside the UK. However, there may be some locations that are restricted when visiting using British Council funding.

What does it cover?
The programme enables artists and creative practitioners to develop international contacts and networks and to collaborate internationally with specific partners.  It does not cover making or touring work.

Where can I find out more?
Be sure to read the AIDF guidelines before you make an application.  If you still have questions after reading them, contact Arts Council England.

When is the next deadline?
The deadline for submission is 12pm (GMT) on Wednesday 8 March. Please note that in order to apply you will need to set up a new applicant profile on the Arts Council England online application system by 5pm, Wednesday 21 February.

How do I apply?
Visit the Arts Council England website.

What if I am based in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales?
Check out our handy guide to funding for UK creatives.


Find out more:

> Read Rachael Nanyonjo’s blog about her AIDF supported trip to Uganda.   

> See a case study about Luke Pell’s AIDF funded research in the USA.

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