Social Innovation Grants to explore international partners and projects

Can we help you travel to build international contacts, make connections, learn about others and develop your work? We’re offering grants of between £250-£1,000 to individuals and organisations in the city to gain access to and develop international networks and experiences.

In October 2018, Bristol City Council hosted the Global Parliament of Mayors Summit. The British Council was an international partner of the summit, contributing research around the role of the creative and social economy in shaping the cities of the future.

As a result, The British Council has since selected Bristol to trial a social innovation small grants programme.

The focus of the grants scheme is on building international links and sharing social innovation in cities. By social innovation we mean developing new ideas and practices that aim to tackle social problems or better meet social needs. This may be a new product, service, initiative, organisational model or approach. It may address city challenges in areas such as working conditions, education, community development or health so that civic society is extended and strengthened and the quality of life for citizens and neighbourhoods is improved.

The micro-grants will fund organisations to work more internationally and to share good practices from their existing social innovation work with their counterparts in other cities and countries outside the UK in order to enhance their learning and international standing and to explore new partnerships.

£10,000 has been made available in this year to provide grants of between £250-£1,000 to individuals and organisations living and working in Bristol. Those living outside the city, but where their project relates to the city and will take place in Bristol, can also apply. You could use this grant to:

  • Attend conferences or seminars abroad to disseminate your models of practice.
  • Engage in a ‘go-and-see’ trip to observe innovative practice elsewhere.
  • Participate in a workshop or visit with a potential international collaborator or partner to identify future collaborations.
  • Scope out international market opportunities.
  • Capture case studies of work for a defined international publication or online platform which would promote the social innovation, the city of Bristol as a social innovation hub and the UK as a country with extensive experience in social innovation.
  • Attend global social enterprise network meetings, such as Social Enterprise World Forum, taking place this year in Addis Ababa
  • Host an organisation from another country whose work is relevant to social innovation practices here in the UK for a workshop, seminar, conference or network meeting.

Grant holders will have the opportunity to feature their work in the third Festival of the Future City (16-18 October 2019).

Who can apply?/

The purpose of the scheme is to test the impact of international sharing and experience on individuals and micro-organisations who normally would not have the opportunity to work internationally. Organisations that apply should not have a turnover more than £500,000.


Open call for proposals from: 28 April 2019

Proposals must be submitted by: 12 noon 15 May 2019

Decisions: 20 May 2019

Festival of the Future City: 16-18 October 2019

All activity to be completed by end December 2019

How to apply/

Full details on how to apply are here.


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Listen Again: Festival of the Future City 2017/


How do we make the cities that we really want to live in? The future of cities is fraught with challenges, but full of possibility.

Our second Festival of the Future City took place 18-20 October 2017. Set over three days the festival – which aims to be the largest public debate about the future of cities – brought together politicians, writers, artists, scientists, change-makers, academics, journalists, students, the public, economists, futurists, policy makers, roboticists, philosophers, filmmakers, think tanks, charities, social enterprises, city-builders and more. Participants explored the key issues for the future of our cities: how we can solve growing inequality and segregation; build healthy cities and places; foster sustainable cities; and explore a future of devolved powers.

Download the brochure here

A book providing background to the festival themes was distributed free to audience members and can be downloaded here. You can find further details of the sources used for the book on the blog page.

Audio recordings of events are available in a special playlist on SoundCloud.

There are albums of photographs taken by @JonCraig_Photos on Flickr:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

We hope to run the third Festival of the Future City in 2019.

Festival of the Future City 2014/2015/

The first Festival of the Future City 2014/2015 was an 18-month programme of work that culminated in a major series of 69 events over four days from 17 to 20 November 2015 – including the buildup there were 139 events in total with over 20,000 participants. Details of the first festival are here. Much of the festival was filmed and a book has been published.

An album of photographs of events is available on Flickr and audio recordings are on SoundCloud.

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