British Council in Turkey announces a Grant Scheme for women artists working in the fields of music, theatre and dance as part of the Women Power in Culture programme

Deadline: Sunday, 29 November 2020

The British Council believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are crucial to creating inclusive, open, and prosperous societies. Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial not only as a basic human right but also has a multiplier effect across all areas accelerating sustainable development. 

The Arts programme of British Council in Turkey is focused on diversifying audiences for the arts by working outside ‘traditional’ arts spaces and identifying and developing skills of new curatorial voices and creative entrepreneurs who champion a more inclusive and accessible arts offering at new forums. Hence, supporting female leaders and artists in culture who are explicitly working to diversify audiences is a key aspect of our programme.

Our Women and Leadership in Arts and Culture programme that has been initiated to support and work with the women creatives and civil society activists working on gender equality in Turkey, started with Women Power in Culture Research. The programme continued with the women leaders’ professional development programme in the UK, #WomenPowerinCulture grant scheme for organisations showcasing UK female artists, Festival Arena - a radio programme on gender equality at Açık Radio followed by Istanbul’s input to the digital WOW Global24 festival in June 2020 and the Women of the World Festival Istanbul to be held digitally in March 2021.

WOW - Women of the World was founded by Jude Kelly in 2010, when the first WOW Festival took place at Southbank Centre. Since then, WOW Festivals celebrating women and girls, and taking a frank look at the obstacles they face, have taken place across the globe, reaching more than two million people. To date, WOW has staged over 65 festivals and events across six continents, reaching more than two million people. As one of the global partners to WOW Festivals, the British Council is proud to present WOW Istanbul in March 2021.

WOW Istanbul will create a safe, welcoming and inclusive digital space for dialogues with a priority of initiating collaborations between women professionals in the creative sectors and the civil society. 

In support of this, we have initiated an open call for a new Grant Scheme to support showcasing of four women artists from Istanbul to present works of music and performing arts (theatre or dance) online at WOW Istanbul. 

The aims of this Grant Scheme are;

-to create opportunities for women musicians, theatre and dance makers to voice their ideas on gender equality as well as showcase their arts and talents through diverse, inclusive, and innovative programming on the digital.

-provide an opportunity for artists to connect to audiences at the time of pandemic when audiences are advised not to get into closed spaces with crowds.

-share, celebrate and broaden appreciation of the artistic excellence of women artists from Turkey. 


1.Each artist will be asked to submit a soundtrack/video recording of a maximum 10-minute-long performance/s.

2.The selected artists will be required to participate in a max 5-minute length video interview that will be conducted by the festival producers, exploring views on their work and gender equality rights, to be published online within the festival programming in line with their performances. 

3.There are no specific requirements for genre, but we would encourage applicants for music projects to listen to Selector Radio here before submitting their proposals. 

4.Applications by artists proposing solo or group performances will be accepted. Where groups are proposed, the festival producers hold the right to assess and where necessary limit the overall number of performers on stage in accordance with current Covid-19 social distancing regulations.

5.The selected performances to be screened online at the WOW Istanbul Festival in March 2021 will be produced and filmed professionally in January-February 2021 by professionals in Istanbul.  Exact dates and venue to be announced. 

6.In support of their applications, each artist is asked to submit appropriate audio / video recordings of the musical work and/or live performances that they would like to showcase at the WOW Istanbul. These will be used for evaluation purposes only, therefore can be amateur audio/video recordings.

7.Please provide YouTube, Vimeo or SoundCloud links to the performances that you would like to perform during the festival. Music performances can be submitted under one or more links, with the condition of keeping them within the total time limit of 10 minutes.

8.The amount of grant per application is 15,000TRY and a total of four applications will be granted. 

9.It is expected that the grant will cover artistic honorarium and all the necessary budgets for costume, set up, production materials and the music instruments. The performers are expected to provide the production materials necessary for their performances (costume, properties, instruments).The festival producers will be liable to cover all necessary filming at the designated venue to be confirmed by the festival producers and complying with social distancing rules.

10.The British Council will not take responsibility for organising artists travel nor hospitality costs or any other budget aspects regarding artists commute to the filming location in Istanbul that will be announced by the festival producers upon selection.

11.Artists applying for grants should be older than 18 years of age, be citizens of Turkey and residents of Istanbul and hold bank accounts in Turkey.

Artist criteria

1.Working in any genre and medium of music, theatre and dance.

2.Relevant years of professional experience and a resume of artistic showcasing in Turkey.

3.Enthusiasm in collaboration and working on new artistic and creative projects on a digital international festival platform.

Selection committee

Selection committee is composed of Andrew Jones, Senior Programme Manager, Theatre and Dance and Arts, British Council, Ayşegül Turfan Mumcuoğlu, General Manager, Pozitif, Esra A. Aysun, Head of Arts Turkey, British Council, Shereen Perera, Producer, WOW and Tom Sweet, Music Programme Manager, British Council.

The deadline for submitting the applications is Sunday, 29 November 2020. Please complete the form and submit it through this link by 23:59 GMT+3, 29.11.2020. Please contact for further questions.