Our work in arts

Arts is a cornerstone of the British Council’s mission to create a friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and the wider world. We find new ways of connecting with and understanding each other through the arts, to develop stronger creative sectors around the world that are better connected with the UK. 

Different Trains 1947

Marking 2017 as the 70th anniversary of Indian independence, artistic laboratory Metal will present Different Trains 1947. The project is a collaboration between some incredible film-makers and musicians who, with a little inspiration from Steve Reich, will perform a new audiovisual composition in response to the events of 1947. 

Arts Opportunities Opens in a new tab or window.

Find out about our current and upcoming international opportunities for artists, creatives, professionals and organisations.

Spirit of ’47

Announcing our Spirit of ’47 season at Edinburgh International Festival, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. The series of talks and events explores ideas of global citizenship and international collaboration in a changing world, with special performances from Anoushka Shankar, Martin Creed and Benjamin Clementine, plus more to be announced. 

Projection of a peacock on Buckingham Palace

UK-India Year of Culture

A celebration of the long-standing relationship between the UK and India which will see cultural events taking place in both countries throughout 2017. Highlights of the programme include an interactive digital project with Aardman Animations, a tour of Studio Wayne McGregor’s production ‘FAR’, and a screening of the silent film ‘Shiraz’ with the Taj Mahal as a backdrop.

behind the scenes filming

Read the latest Arts Newsletter Opens in a new tab or window.

Keep up to date with our projects and the latest news from the UK arts sector. In our latest edition explore our online arts tour of Belfast, BBC Proms heads to Hull UK City of Culture 2017, watch Cheek by Jowl's 'The Winter's Tale' and more.

untitled: dock: emptystaircasehoarding, 2014, Phyllida Barlow.

Phyllida Barlow: British Pavilion artist at Venice Biennale Opens in a new tab or window.

For the past 80 years, the British Council has looked after the exhibitions at the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. This year, artist Phyllida Barlow will present a major solo exhibition of new work in the British Pavilion, from 13 May until 26 November.

UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration Opens in a new tab or window.

Throughout 2017, we are bringing a diverse programme of arts and cultural events to the UAE. We are showcasing the very best of UK arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade to Emirate audiences. Keep up to date with the highlights from the season. 

The Storytellers Opens in a new tab or window.

An interactive documentary of a journey made by six British and Russian artists on the Trans-Siberian Railway in late 2016. Seen through the eyes of the writers and artists who travelled over 4,000 kilometers from Moscow to eastern Siberia, The Storytellers оffers a glimpse of lesser-known Russian landscapes and their inhabitants.

two dancers from Atomos

UK/Korea 2017-18

Running from February 2017 to March 2018, the season will bring the latest arts and culture from the UK to different parts of Korea. Launching with a concert from the London Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, the programme showcases a wide range of British art forms across dance, theatre, film, visual arts, literature and music in multiple Korean cities.

the new design museum in london

London online arts tour Opens in a new tab or window.

In the run-up to UK/India 2017 we're celebrating arts from around the UK. So far we've visited Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Sheffield, with our latest arts tour focussing on London. From The Yard to BFI's London Film Festival, the Victoria and Albert Museum to the Turner Prize, explore the arts and culture scene of England's capital city.

Pavement work after electrical and sanitary installation, 2011

Cultural Protection Fund

In partnership with the Department for Culture Media and Sport, the British Council has launched a £30 million fund to protect cultural heritage overseas at risk due to conflict. Find out more.