We are living through difficult and unprecedented times across the globe. The impact of the COVID-19 on arts and cultural practices around the world, including Wales, is profound. Artists and companies from Wales are facing significant personal and professional impacts, with the cancellation or suspension of international events, projects and productions for which they have worked hard to deliver for months, if not years.

Arts Council of Wales and its international agency Wales Arts International firmly believe that, despite our physical distancing, maintaining our connections with the outside world and in our communities will be vital through the coming months.

Whilst we may need to isolate ourselves individually, as an arts and cultural sector we can connect internationally with others going through the same challenges, many of whom are showing and engaging in cultural innovation in the face of extreme adversity.  

Whilst it is clear that our international operations need to be fundamentally revised for the coming year, our commitment to developing the arts in an international context is more relevant than ever. We are working through options for our international programmes and for supporting different ways for artists and companies to nurture and maintain connections and relationships internationally. We will be giving updates as soon as we are able.

Please read the Arts Council of Wales’ response to COVID-19 for an update on actions taken on a national level.

On the international level, severe travel restrictions to and from certain countries are in place, including to and from the UK, and the situation is changing rapidly. Several countries are introducing retrospective self-isolation restrictions and if you have recently travelled internationally it is important that you check on the latest advice on: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Further information can also be found here:  https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

Current information from UK Government advises against all non-essential international travel, but keep up to date: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice


Wales Arts International grant-related advice updated: 18 March 2020

International Opportunities Fund (IOF) and Connect Fund awards:

We are committed to giving you every opportunity to make use of the grant funding you have received. 

What happens to my grant from Wales Arts International?

Wales Arts International will look at situations on a case-by-case basis and we are committed to doing all we can to find ways that artists who have been granted an International Opportunities Fund (IOF), Connect Fund or other awards from us will not be out of pocket.

We’re keen to give you every possibility of making use of the grant funding you’ve received to cover project costs that you either have incurred or will incur in the future.  You might wish to explore whether activity can be deferred until later in the year. However, if this isn’t possible, all funding awards already committed to covering your costs will be honoured – regardless of whether the funded activity is cancelled, reduced or rescheduled.


Can we keep the grant and carry it over if rescheduled?

Should the planned activity be rescheduled, and you are comfortable participating, we are happy for you to use the grant support as previously planned.  However, we may not be in a position to provide top-up grant support in this scenario, so please consider this when making decisions.  Certainly, if your flight and accommodation permits you to reschedule rather than cancel, we would encourage you to consider this option. 


Can we keep the grant and carry it over to similar activity in 2021?

You may not, at this stage, know if the project or event will be postponed to a future date. We can leave your award open until the situation is clearer.

In all cases, we advise grant recipients to liaise with the WAI team.

As an alternative option you can pay back any unspent monies and reapply at a later date, which may also be the preferable option for you.


Can we keep the grant and spend it on another event or other activities?

If the project you have received funding for could be delivered in an alternative way, we ask you to contact us and we will deal with the request on a case by case basis. However, it is unlikely that your award could be used for other very separate activity.


What happens if the event/project looks like it’s going ahead but I no longer want to participate?

We understand that there will be instances where you have reasonable rationale for not wanting to or being able to participate in an event or project for which you are receiving WAI support. Please contact us to discuss and we will look at this on a case by case basis.

If you have already incurred costs for cancelled or postponed activity, we ask you to explore all avenues for insurance claims. If there are costs that cannot be recouped, we will not expect you to repay these costs.

In all cases, we advise grant recipients to liaise with the WAI team.

As an alternative option we may advise you to pay back any unspent monies and to reapply at a later date, which may also be the preferable option for you.

We will be in touch with all current IOF and Connect recipients to help you make a decision about your award.


International Oportunities Fund and Connect Fund applications currently submitted and being assessed:

We are continuing to assess, and make decisions, on applications already in our system.  We’ll do our very best to stick to the usual published processes and timescales. If you’re successful in your application, we’ll contact you to see if you need to amend your plans in the light of Government advice at that time.  We’ll try and find ways of helping you to realise your plans, but if that’s not possible you can choose to withdraw from your funding award. We’re aiming to take a pragmatic and flexible approach should plans require change as a result of COVID-19.

New and future applications to International Opportunities Fund (IOF) and Connect Fund:

We have made the decision to pause the International Opportunities Fund and the Connect Fund with immediate effect. We will not be accepting any new applications. This will be reviewed on a monthly basis, with a commitment to re-opening the schemes as soon as it is feasible.


We reiterate our commitment to developing the arts in an international context and our belief that that international connectivity is even more relevant than ever.

We are here to support you. We are more than happy for you to email your questions and concerns to us and we will monitor your situation alongside all artists who we are supporting. Please send your questions and concerns to info@wai.org.uk in the first instance.