Mainland China/Hong Kong/Macau In-Person and Virtual Exchange Program

The Mainland China/Hong Kong/Macau In-Person and Virtual Exchange Program is currently not receiving applications. Please refer back to the Fellowships & Grants page for any updates or new opportunities.



The Asian Cultural Council's mainland China/Hong Kong/Macau Program is inviting proposals from applicants from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau for two types of fellowships and grants programs in 2021. The first supports research and creative project that involves in-person travel between the applicant’s place of origin and any destination(s) in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or other countries/regions in Asia. The second is a special, limited program supporting virtual exchange and engagement in the arts between mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, any country/region(s) in Asia or the United States.

In both programs, priority is given to process-driven activities that enable cultural immersion, relationship-building, collaboration, or the exchange of knowledge among peers. Examples of process-driven activities include research, training, study, and exploration. ACC fellowships and grants are not intended for production-focused activities such as touring, performing, exhibiting, publishing, or making work.

Proposals that involve a hybrid of in-person travel and virtual engagement are also welcome.

Length: 1-6 months
Funding Period for In-Person Travel Grants: June 2021-December 2022
Funding Period for Virtual Programs June 2021-June 2022
Who: Individuals and Non-Profit Arts Organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Eligible Fields: Eligible Fields
Activities: 1) In-person travel 2) Virtual engagement*


*Please Note: This is a temporary program that does not follow the same general guidelines, FAQ, or application instructions found elsewhere on the ACC website.

1) In-Person Travel

The Individual Fellowship Program supports individuals—or up to two collaborators—pursuing research, and creative inquiry across cultures involving travel. This may take the form of observation tours, specialized training, dissertation fieldwork, or other non-commercial creative, scholarly, or professional activity. As in all ACC programs, the emphasis is on process-driven activities that enable cultural immersion, dialogue, relationship-building, collaboration, or the exchange of knowledge among peers.

Organization and project grants are awarded to support cultural exchange opportunities for specific project participants who will benefit from the experience as individual fellowship recipients do – through cultural immersion, research, specialized training, exchange of knowledge among peers, and other process-oriented activities. Project participants must be practicing artists, scholars, and/or arts professionals. Touring, performance, exhibition, and public-facing activities are not eligible, though these activities might make up the larger context in which ACC-eligible exchange activities take place.

Artist-led projects involving collaboration between three or more individuals are also considered in this category.

2) Virtual Engagement

In 2020 and 2021, in response to the widespread human crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainty of international travel until the pandemic is resolved, the Asian Cultural Council is calling for proposals from individuals and organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau with projects intended to strengthen and enhance impactful international connectivity and engagement with any country/region(s) in Asia or the United States through activities and projects that can be enacted without international travel.

This program will support creative, innovative responses to international engagement during this period of limited travel. In response to the economic impact of the pandemic, grant funds may be used to support artist honoraria and organizational costs of managing virtual programs.

Application Priorities
  • Programs that build, strengthen, and maintain international connectivity between artists, scholars, and arts professionals across borders
  • Programs that create positive social impact through the arts
  • Programs that address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion such as new immigrants, ethnic minorities, and other marginalised groups
  • Programs that focus on bilateral exchange and pave way for future collaboration or continued cross-border engagement in the arts, including exchange between mainland China and Hong Kong
  • Grants to organizations will take into consideration the financial needs of the organization and whether it is receiving recurrent funding from public or private sources
Application Eligibility
  • In-Person Travel: Individuals and organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau conducting cultural exchange programs within Asia
  • Virtual Programs: Individuals and organizations in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau conducting virtual exchange projects with artists, scholars, and arts professionals within Asia and/or the U.S.
  • Applicants must be practicing artists, scholars of the arts, or arts professionals in an eligible field
  • Individual applicants can apply with up to one collaborator.
  • Organizations must be a registered nonprofit or NGO in the local jurisdiction

To be selected, applicants must: 

  • Show artistic, scholarly, or professional excellence and potential for continued growth
  • Be positioned to share their fellowship experience or the outcomes of their research to influence a larger community or field
  • Demonstrate compelling need for this opportunity at this specific time in their life and career
  • Be independent, resourceful, and open to cultural exchange experiences beyond the specific goals of the fellowship activities
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of their proposal, including consideration of the accessibility of communities or cultural resources of interest, and the logistics of transportation, accommodations, language barriers, and budget

Once selected, fellows are expected to:

  • Begin their fellowship travel within the funding period described above
  • Notify ACC of any changes in their fellowship plans

Please note the following restrictions to In-Person Travel Grants:

  • All travelers are expected to research and observe Covid-19 protocols in the country they plan to visit. ACC will not be liable for any penalties incurred by individuals failing to follow protocols where they travel
  • In 2021, due to the pandemic, related visa and international travel restrictions, ACC may only provide limited programmatic services in its offices in Taiwan, Japan, and the Philippines
  • Collaborators must submit a single application to ACC and must plan to travel together; separate trips by each individual are not permitted. Financial support for collaborative fellowships is not likely to be larger than an individual fellowship, so successful applications tend to be those proposing a shorter period of travel
  • This program is not intended for creating new work, exhibiting, performing, presenting, or other public activities
  • This program is intended for deep and engaging cultural immersion and scholarly or professional research. Generally, focused research involving single or fewer destinations is preferred over an expansive itinerary of short visits involving multiple destinations
  • Funding amounts are calculated based on the proposed destination city(ies) and length of travel, and are subject to revision if plans change significantly after the fellowship is awarded
  • For dissertation research longer than six months, applicants must indicate additional prospective funding sources

Please note the following restrictions to Virtual Program Grants

  • Programs must be able to be carried out without international travel. Examples may include, but are not limited to, peer discussions, interviews, online training, symposia, conferences, workshops, etc.
  • Process-driven activities (such as research, training, study, or exploration) that enable connections and understanding across different culture without physical presence, relationship-building, collaboration, or the exchange of knowledge among peers; public-facing events are permissible, but should not be the primary focus of the program
  • The project activity must take place during the period of June 2021 to June 2022
1) In-Person Travel

Unless otherwise specified in the program-specific guidelines, ACC fellowship and grant program funds may only be used for activities that involve travel between one or more eligible countries/regions; funding cannot be used for any activities that take place in the individual's country of primary residence.

In 2021, ACC in-person travel grants are not available for travel to the U.S.  For support for travel to the U.S., please check our website again in fall 2021 for guidelines on travel programs between Asia and the U.S.

ACC funds may be used for costs associated with the research specified in the proposal and travel associated with the research only. Research is broadly defined as any activities in pursuit of creative, scholarly, or professional inquiry, and may take many different forms. The following examples of allowable expenses are not a complete list and are given as a general guideline only:

  • Allowable travel expenses may include international airfare, local transportation, visas, travel insurance, accommodations, and living expenses.
  • Allowable research expenses may include admission fees and tickets to cultural institutions and events, fees for classes or workshops, and modest translator fees.*

*Projects requiring the extensive use of paid translators are unlikely to be funded.

ACC funding cannot be used for: 

  • Activities that do not involve travel except for virtual programs described below
  • Commercial and industrial design
  • Commercial activity or commercial artists of any kind
  • Production costs (including exhibitions, tours, film production, and publication)
  • Arts in education
  • Undergraduate or secondary school study
  • Full graduate school tuition costs
  • Projects taking place outside the funding period
  • Regranting programs
2) Virtual Engagement

The following examples of allowable expenses are not a complete list and are given as a general guideline only:

  • Individuals
    • Project management fee for program leader or stipend for researcher
    • Technical support for programs moving online
    • Hosting or residency fees paid to partner organizations
  • Organizations
    • Program management costs (up to 20% of itemized program costs)
    • Honoraria for program participants (artists must be compensated for their participation in the proposed program)
    • Space rental
    • Investment in the equipment/technology needed to make virtual engagement possible
    • Translation
    • Documentation (including website, leaflet, video documentation, and modest publication expenses)

Ineligible Use of Funds

  • International travel and accommodation
  • Commercial activity
  • Exhibitions without accompanying exchange/engagement programs
  • Shipping work for exhibitions, in-person public performances, film production, and similar production-related expenses
  • Arts in education
  • Projects taking place outside the funding period (June 2021 - June 2022)
  • Regranting programs
Budget Guidelines

From 7,000 USD up to 20,000 USD

*Strong applications will include a reasonable budget for the expenses required to carry out the project. Requesting a smaller amount is not an advantage.