The British Council invites young digital creatives to take part in the third edition of ColabNowNow in partnership with Maputo Fast Forward and Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festivals.

ColabNowNow will select 11 digital artists from Africa and the UK to develop cutting edge digital artworks through collaborative artmaking and storytelling. Applicants will apply with proposed projects which will then be developed with artistic and technical facilitators. Together they will create a collaborative exhibition to be launched on 11 October 2019 at the opening of the Maputo Fast Forward festival.

ColabNowNow has been developed by the British Council as a space for the leading minds in digital art in Africa and the UK to connect, collaborate and learn from each other in a safe, supportive and enabling environment. Do you think you have what it takes?



We’ll be answering all your ColabNowNow questions during a public webinar on 17 July 2019, 3pm UTC. Please click here to register. 


Are you a daring artist or storyteller working in a digital medium and living in Africa or the UK?

Are you open to collaborating with other artists/storytellers?

Do you want a chance to see your collaborative work shown across Africa, the UK and extensively online?

  • Artists can include, but are not limited to: visual/graphic artists, architects, technical artists, programmers/coders, music/sound artists, performers and animators.

  • Storytellers can include, but are not limited to: writers, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, bloggers and vloggers.


Selected creatives will meet in Johannesburg at the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival (3-8 September) where they will share their creative work with each other and the public through workshops and presentations. These days will set the groundwork for the collaborative work over the next month, where an artistic and a technical facilitator will engage with the creatives online to develop the work from 9 - 31 September. (Facilitators have been selected from a closed call including ColabNowNow creatives from 2017 and 2018)

Creatives will then meet in Maputo, Mozambique, 2-12 October, to work collaboratively in the lead up to the opening of the ColabNowNow exhibition which coincides with the opening of the Maputo Fast Forward Festival.

The exhibition will be catalogued and digitised, allowing it to travel from November 2019 - February 2020 to East, West and North Africa, THE UK, and in its entirety online.


  • Creatives will receive artistic and technical support from two facilitators, who will work with the creatives to develop complex collaborative works in both their conceptual and technical forms.

  • All travel, accommodation, meals and VISA costs are covered by the British Council.

  • Artists will be paid a fee of 500 GBP for their participation.

  • A technical and installation budget is available for the collective use of the ColabNowNow team.


Applications for ColabNowNow go through a strict and anonymous blind-jury process where gender and country balance are developed into the shortlisting process. Applicants will be judged solely on their artistic proposals and their ability to work collaboratively with others in order to develop new work from their proposal.

The jury will be made up of representatives from Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival, Maputo Fast Forward, British Council (UK, EastAfricaArts, SouthernAfricaArts, WestAfricaArts), and the artistic and technical facilitators.

Eligible Countries

East Africa: Ethiopia | Kenya | Rwanda | South Sudan | Sudan | Tanzania | Uganda

West Africa: Ghana | Nigeria | Senegal | Sierra Leone

Southern Africa: Botswana | Malawi | Mauritius | Mozambique | Namibia | South Africa | Zambia | Zimbabwe

North Africa: Algeria | Egypt | Morocco | Tunisia

United Kingdom: England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales


  • 28 June - Open Call launches
  • 17 July - Webinar 
  • 24 July - Open Call closes UTC end of day
  • 26 July - Shortlisted artists notified
  • 31 July - Selected artists notified
  • 3-8 September - Fak’ugesi Festival, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 9-31 September - Online collaboration and development
  • 2-12 October - Maputo Fast Forward, Maputo, Mozambique

Application Requirements

  • Applications are open to artists and storytellers working in digital media who are aged 18-35.
  • You must live in and have a valid passport from one of the eligible countries.
  • You must be available to travel to Johannesburg 3-8 September, and Maputo 2-12 October - including travel time before and after said dates. Full attendance is required.
  • Previous selected ColabNowNow creatives are not eligible to apply.


The British Council Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts programme works in the diverse and varied cities of SSA and the U.K. Individually, each city and art sector has much to offer and exchange, collectively they tell multi-layered stories of contemporary SSA and the U.K. Our programmes are delivered by partners (artists, arts professionals, arts organisations, collectives, hubs) who have the vision and understanding of their creative communities and are best placed to lead and tell the stories of their local art sectors. With our partners, we stimulate new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts. Find out more 

Maputo Fast Forward is an open platform dedicated to debate, presentation of ideas, analysis of trends, networking and the exchange of experiences. The platform engages the creative industry, corporations and social organisations to recognise creativity and innovation as the engines of the new “knowledge economy“. Find out more

Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival was founded in 2014 as a collaboration between the Tshimologong Innovation Precinct and the Wits School of Arts. It was founded on the premise that in order for innovation with technology to succeed, a strong connection needs to be made to African cultural practices and creative encounters. A multi-disciplinary festival creating access to and showcasing the intersection of culture, innovation and technology with an African focus. It takes place annually in Johannesburg.

The Fak’ugesi Festival 2019 (30 Aug to 8 Sept.) theme is ‘Own Our Force’ and centres on an African vision of the future of digital creativity by asking: Who owns our digital value chain? How do we protect our creative and cultural equity in the digital world? How do we value our contributions to digital culture in an African economy? Where are the threats and the opportunities for culture and technology in Africa in a world driven by market interests? Find out more

See Also

Sub-Saharan Africa: Art Connects Us