The British Council has been organising the  Women of the World Festival  in Nepal since 2017. The Festival is now in its fifth edition. Since 2018, the Festival editions have worked with artists to visually exhibit harmful practices affecting women/girls to raise awareness of key issues and their intersections with other socio-cultural barriers.

The United Nations in Nepal defines harmful practices as persistent behaviours that discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, age, caste/ethnicity, language, religion, and more. They leave women and people from excluded groups at risk of violence, poorer physical and psychological health, educational and economic outcomes, injury, and even death.

Over three editions (2018-2021), British Council has worked with two pairs of photojournalist and curator to produce exhibition and programming to further WOW objectives. Uma Bista’s Our Songs from The Forest and Nabin Baral’s Witch Accusation and Persecution in Nepal are the primary outputs to date. Curators Nayantara Kakshapati, photo Circle and UK-based Anna Colin have support the two artists respectively.

British Council intends to explore all the five recognised harmful practice through WOW in the coming editions. Please see resources for reading on harmful practices in Nepal.

Dhansara Kumari Mijar(15) left her school a few years back because of family issues. Her elder sister got married and she is now responsible for household chores. Menstruation shunning practice in her community, Chhaupadi pratha, affects her responsibilities each month.  ©

Photo Credit: Our Songs from the Forest, Uma Bista 2018

Sunkesi Chaurdhary shows a photo of her mother, Parvati Devi Chaudhary, who was beaten to death at midnight on 16 August 2013. Parvati was ambushed by her neighbours who had accused her of witchcraft. Photo Credit: Witch Accusation and Persecution in Nepal, Nabin Baral, 2013

About Women of the World Festival

WOW — Women of the World — is a global movement that champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential. Festivals take place year-round across around the world. They are formatted and include dedicated strand activities.

The first editions of WOW were held in Kathmandu in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 the Festival was moved to cultural city of Janakpur. Through the pandemic, the Festival has operated virtually. A hybrid festival with both digital and physical streams is planned for delivery in March 2022.

Multiple exhibitions are created for each edition, encompassing photography, visual arts, multi-media, installations, and screenings.

Introduction of Opportunity

Nepal is home to over 120 ethnic communities each with distinct cultures/languages and social structures. This diversity is source of national pride – a unique characteristic for a country its size – but the intersections of caste and gender, coupled with historic marginalisation of many minority and indigenous communities, is ripe with issues that require attention and action.

A majority Hindu population practices a mix of caste systems with strong geographic indicators. More recently, Nepal has taken legal and policy action to curb caste-based discrimination, however without wider public engagement, the systemic problems of caste-based discrimination and especially its disproportionate burden on women/girls cannot be effectively remedied.

Perception change will play a critical role in shifting values and amending behaviours sustainably. To support the agency of marginalised women/girls, the Women of the World Festival is committed to exploring all five harmful practices recognized by the United Nations in Nepal through UK and Nepal collaborations. The British Council is inviting a UK-based curator(s)/visual artist(s) (or organisation) to express interest in working with Nepali visual artists to develop and deliver a presentation on the harmful practice of caste-based discrimination for its fifth edition.

Curatorial Responsibility

The curator will be selected through an Expression of Interest (see below). Selected curator is required to take on the following responsibilities, all of which are delivered through remote collaboration over digital platforms:

- Conduct a desk review of caste-based discrimination in Nepal with interest in arts-based advocacy and behaviour/perception change media development.

Research is expected to inform the curator about local, regional contexts which will benefit their engagement with their Nepali collaborator. British Council Nepal is providing a bibliography with this call to support EOI submissions. It will support further engagement to the selected candidate by brokering connections with key informants.

- Contribute to a call for a Nepali visual artist to form a collaboration and project output on caste-based exhibition.

British Council will produce promotional assets (text, social media graphics and digital application forms) to announce the call. Selected curator will help finalise the call text, a frequently asked questions document and provide an overview of the exchange (see next point). The curator will also have to commit time to review applications with a panel comprising of members of the British Council team and a member of the WOW Expert panel.

- Design and lead a virtual exchange with a Nepali visual artist to develop an exhibition on caste-based discrimination and gender intersections for the fifth edition of Women of the World Festival.

Exchange period covers the period of artistic production (December – February). Exchange needs to include weekly virtual meet-up to discuss progress and to share feedback. Schedule finalised with the artists needs to be recorded with the British Council via email. It will be the collective responsibility of the selected curator and artist to maintain their proposed schedule and meet deadlines.

- Present collaborative output through Women of the World Festival in March 2022

The curator shall help finalise the body of work to be presented with the artist. The curator is responsible for authoring the introductory text (up to 800 words) and for captions (up to 1200 words for entire body). A minimum of 20 images (and captions) as main body of work is expected from this assignment.

We also expect an overview of the entire project as a blog for our Culture and Development website (under 2000 words) The curator will commit to production design meeting with WOW Festival vendors to supervise the physical and digital layout of the presentation. Curator will be required to commit to at least 180 minutes of online public programming/press interviews in the lead up to/during and post WOW Festival.

The total commitment period for the curator is 4 months (November to March) requiring up to 25 days of work across that period. To support the delivery of their responsibilities, British Council in Nepal will issue a grant award of GBP 4000.

Additionally, British Council Nepal will issue an artist grant and provide a budget for the WOW Festival production team to design and fabricate an exhibition for the content. Finally, the exhibition will be integrated into a digital campaign and platform will be produced to host public programming reporting on the process, lessons, and outcomes of the collaboration.

Important Dates



Expression of Interest Call for Curators

21 –  17 November 2021

Orientation for Interested Curators

30 October 2021

Curator appointed

25 November

Call for artist designed and administered

15 December 2021

Exchange with Collaboration and Exhibition production

15 January – 28 February ‘22

Finalising exhibition design/fabrication for physical stream

1 – 10 March ‘22

Presentation and programming

TBC, March ‘22

 Expression of Interest

We are seeking an emerging to mid-career curator who have experience curating photographic projects or working with journalistic outputs should highlight these in their submission.  

UK-based curators and/or visual artists with relevant experience/expertise are eligible to express an interest in this opportunity. Other criteria for eligibility include:

  • At least 5 years of experience working in visual arts sector either as a curator or visual artist
  • Evidenced record of working with collaborators 
  • Experience working on intersectional gender issues, and those with lived experiences that can add value to the curatorial oversight required will be prioritised

Assessment of EOIs will be conducted through a panel consisting of British Council representatives including the Visual Arts department, South Asia regional programme leads and Head of Arts in the Nepal office. 

To submit an EOI, you will need:

  • A statement of purpose highlighting your personal/professional interests/ambitions with regards to the subject-matter (less than 500 words)
  • A portfolio overviewing most recent years of relevant work (up to 15 images and 800 words) – please note our mailing system will not accept attachments above 10 MB, you are recommended to use file-sharing platforms to send your portfolio in high-resolution and PDF format.

These can be submitted to by 11:59 pm UST, 17 November 2021

Interested candidates are requested to review past projects and review the reading list supplied below, see Resources, before submitting an EOI. You can also request a call to discuss the specifics with the British Council Nepal’s Arts team. Please send your requests by 18 October 2021 by emailing 


Questions and queries can be sent to Please use the subject line “WOW – Harmful Practice.” Response time varies but on average will be between 24-48 hours.  


External links