Our purpose is to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people worldwide in the fields of Architecture, Design and Fashion.
Our team aims to present the best contemporary, innovative design practice from the UK to promote international collaboration and creative exchange to audiences around the world through the British Council's global network. We work with designers and architects by leading or supporting projects including exhibitions, seminars, workshops, collaborative projects, educational initiatives and specialists’ visits to the UK. The department also works extensively with designers and cultural organisations internationally, building capacity and cultural awareness. Our programme reflects the wide range of disciplines practised to a world class standard in the UK including graphic design, fashion, architecture, city planning and the built environment, interior design, digital media, industrial and product design, furniture and design education.
We work closely with our offices overseas and in-country partners (such as festival directors, artistic programmers, host venues) to put together specific programmes appropriate to the regions in which we work. These are planned according to British Council strategic objectives, local aims and are generally planned a year or more in advance.
Programme and strategy varies from country to country specific to the particular locality. For instance, a programme in Korea or Indonesia will be very different from one in Argentina or Colombia. Often, a British Council office will come to us with a very specific request for one key individual to attend, say, a design festival, or a designer whose work is relevant to the local context will be invited to visit. At other times we have more leeway to suggest someone and are able to suggest individual designers and practices to take part in work overseas.
We do not have a stable of designers and architects with whom we work, instead we continually work to research and identify the widest range of potential designers on a project by project basis, according to their suitability to undertake the particular activity in question. To do this we take advice from our Architecture, Design and Fashion Advisors and our network of contacts within design organisations including the Arts Councils, design organisations, museums, galleries, independent curators, critics and academics.
It is vital that we remain up to date with current work in order to advocate it to international audiences. The most important thing UK designers can do is to keep us up to date with the work you are doing. We welcome information from designers, architects, museums, galleries and organisations so that we can keep this in our information bank.
Through this we build up a picture of the UK design sector, new work being created and are able to identify where a particular designer or project would be appropriate to work with an overseas partner. If work is seen which seems particularly relevant or appropriate for an overseas market we will actively promote it to our overseas partners and colleagues. New opportunities are continualy created through this dialogue and advocacy.
Arts Group have a team based at our London offices and a smaller number of arts staff at our offices in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For details of how to contact the British Council Arts Group please click here.
The Architecture, Design, Fashion department are not a funding award body, If you would like to find out about funding for Architecture, Design, and Fashion please click here.