British Council & Creative Scotland Partnership
UK in Japan 2019-20
Funding brief and guidelines


British Council and Creative Scotland are seeking to identify mid-scale collaborative projects between Scotland and Japan, to form part of the Scottish element for the UK in Japan 2019-20 programme, currently being developed by the British Council and the British Embassy in Japan.

We have allocated a total budget of £70,000 which is now available to receive project proposals from cross-disciplinary artforms including performing, visual and applied arts. Grants are likely to be in the region of up to £10,000 per project.

This opportunity has been made available to support projects to be initiated by end of March 2019 with the core activity happening between September 2019 and August 2020. It is particularly targeted at organisations and individuals who are already in the process of developing project ideas with their international counterparts; and whose projects are either underway or at advanced stages of development. We expect the projects core activity to take place in Japan.
Ultimately the aim is to support long-term sustainable partnerships between the UK and Japan where collaborations can flourish, and sustainable networks can be formed. As we are looking to support projects which form part of a continuous chain of growing collaboration between partners in Scotland and Japan, we require your application to describe how your project has evolved with the partners. This opportunity has been made possible jointly by both Creative Scotland and British Council.


British Council/Creative Scotland Partnership

British Council has a longstanding partnership agreement with Creative Scotland aiming to develop bilateral relationships to ensure Scotland’s creativity is recognised internationally and is part of British Council’s UK cultural relations offer.
There is a genuine interest from the arts sector in Scotland to work with Japan and this has helped inform the partnership’s choice to focus part of its activity on continuing to work with Japan.

You can find out more about this strategic partnership here

UK in Japan 2019-20

A major initiative to celebrate the UK/Japan bilateral relationship will commence in September 2019 at the same time as the Rugby World Cup, closing in September 2020 with the culmination of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As host country of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan is set to enjoy an unparalleled moment in the international spotlight. As previous hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2015, with all home nations involved in Japan, and with two of the most successful Olympic and Paralympic teams in the world, the UK has an opportunity to tell a story that it could not in any normal year.

Using the catalyst of these two global sporting moments UK in Japan 2019-20 aims to showcase the UK’s excellence in business, innovation, culture, the arts and diversity and inclusion. A series of events and activities will take place across these areas to demonstrate the strengths and opportunities for continued and new partnerships between the UK and Japan. At the same time, the Japanese government will lead on reciprocal activity in the UK.

The British Council will lead the cultural and education strands of this major initiative working closely with Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department of Culture Media and Sport, Department for International Trade and a wide-range of cultural partners in both countries. UK in Japan 2019-20 was announced by both Prime Ministers during Prime Minister Abe’s official visit to the UK in January 2019.

The key vision of the cultural programme developed by the British Council is to forge new partnerships between Japan and the UK to create a future where arts and culture play a role for increased well-being, mainstreaming diversity and inclusion and driving prosperity.

Key themes of the programme are:

  • Cities and Public Spaces: We will bring artists together with technologists in future city conversations and develop activities that create rich and fulfilling human experiences making cities better places to live, work and visit
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Well-being: We will drive the mainstreaming of work by disabled artists and improve access to arts and culture for those who have fewer participation opportunities leading to enhanced well-being for all, especially disabled and older people
  • Digital Technology: We will explore the potential for digital innovation to make arts and culture enriching, diverse and relevant to the 21st century. 


Projects could be manifested in a number of ways such as cultural exchange, touring of artists’ work, conferences, residencies, festivals etc. All proposals should be mutually beneficial for both partners and should demonstrate sharing and/or exchange of expertise, skills and/or artistic practice.

Projects should seek to respond to one of the key themes described above.

Proposals should meet the following criteria:

  • The artist/s or organisation are based in Scotland
  • There is a Japanese partner and/or promoter identified and appropriate management arrangements are in place
  • The project’s core activity takes place in Japan
  • The projects must be initiated before the end of March 2019 and concluded by the end of August 2020
  • There is a comprehensive budget breakdown and a viable (contingency) plan for closing any potential gaps
  • There is funding already in place and/or funds are being sought (at least 10% cash or in kind) from the Japanese partner(s)’ side
  • It is realistic, achievable and deliverable within the timeframe and budget
  • It is appropriate, of high-quality and demonstrates impact
  • Has the potential to bring collaborative work to Scotland
  • Has the potential to build new partnerships between artists, producers, curators and organisations in Scotland and Japan beyond 2020
  • Can contribute to demonstrating the diverse, inspiring, challenging and innovative nature of Scottish/UK culture

Proposals should include: 

  • Brief project description
  • Aims and objectives
  • Partners (UK and Japanese partner) and their respective roles
  • Timeline
  • How the project is mutually beneficial for those involved
  • Budget breakdown including: total project cost, request to partnership, details of any cash and in-kind income from other sources
  • Plans for documenting and evaluating the project
  • A letter of support from each UK/Japan partners

Please also include any supporting material which you feel will strengthen your application.

The deadline for submission of proposals is midnight Monday 18th February 2019 using the online application form accessible via this link:

Proposals will be assessed jointly by British Council Scotland, British Council Japan and Creative Scotland and successful applicants will be informed by Monday 25 February 2019. Given the size of the budget, it is highly unlikely we’ll be able to support every proposal.

We would advise applicants to submit as early as possible to avoid any risk of technical issues. Please also follow the technical guidance given in the form in relation to browser use and file size.

Enquiries should be made to Gwen McLeod, Arts Officer on 0131 524 5776 / 07900 406867 or email