May 20, 2024


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Call for applications for three-year UK Cultural Protection Fund

Bedouin of the Al Weis tribe playing the Rababa © Cultural Corridors of Peace (INHERIT)

  • New funding available through the UK Cultural Protection Fund over the next three years
  • Organisations working in target countries in the Middle East, North and East Africa and South Asia are invited to apply for grants up to £2M for multi-year projects
  • Fund aims to address on-going threat from conflict and climate change to cultural heritage 

The British Council has today announced new open funding calls through the UK Cultural Protection Fund to support cultural heritage at risk in the Middle East, North and East Africa and South Asia.

Delivered in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, £30M will be spread across three years to fight the growing impact of conflict or climate change on cultural heritage across 16 countries – including Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Sudan, Syria, Uganda and Yemen.

The fund will cover both tangible heritage, such as historic places, buildings or artefacts; and intangible heritage, like oral traditions, rituals or craftsmanship and will allow global experts to collaborate with international partners and communities to mitigate risk and preserve cultural heritage vital to each country’s culture and identity.

Both small grants (less than £100K) and larger grants of up to £2M will be available for multi-year projects. The projects must include activities that safeguard cultural heritage for future generations as well as demonstrate meaningful involvement of the local community either through heritage protection activities, training or advocacy.

Speaking about the new open call, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Nadine Dorries said: “Conflict and crisis pose a huge threat to cultural heritage in countries around the world.

“This important scheme, backed by government funding and delivered jointly with the British Council, will help preserve ancient treasures and important artefacts for future generations to enjoy.”

British Council Chief Executive, Scott McDonald said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with DCMS to protect cultural heritage at risk. At a time when so much of the world’s cultural assets are under threat due to climate change and conflict, the Cultural Protection Fund is a powerful tool for bringing stability, security and peace to regions.  It allows communities to come together to share knowledge and skills so that some of our greatest global heritage is preserved for future generations. We look forward to seeing this transformative programme in action.”

The Cultural Protection fund was originally launched in 2016 operating in 12 countries in the Middle East. In 2019, the fund expanded its remit to protect cultural heritage at risk because of climate change and natural disasters and expanded geographically to other parts of East Africa. So far, £35M has been awarded to 112 projects with around 15,000 people receiving education and training to preserve cultural heritage in their local communities. 

Grantees have included partnerships between museums, universities, libraries, cultural foundations and government ministries. Recent projects in conflict-affected areas include restoration of three historic buildings in Raqqa, Syria, protection of Iraq’s threatened watercraft heritage through training and advocacy activities in Iraq and the revival of three community museums in Western Sudan. To protect against natural disasters and climate change, projects have involved developing disaster risk management plans for heritage sites on the Kenyan coast, protecting the heritage of the Bakonzo and Alur communities in Uganda at risk due to melting Rwenzori glaciers, and assessing and digitizing coastal sites in Tanzania to prepare for rising sea levels.

The UK’s Cultural Protection Fund is now open. Potential applicants can find more details on how to apply to the fund here: The deadline to submit expressions of interest is Thursday, 30 June 2022.

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