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. 

Discover Phyllida Barlow’s exhibition at the British Pavilion in Venice

Discover British artist Phyllida Barlow’s ambitious installation for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) in Venice. Commissioned by the British Council, Barlow’s exhibition, entitled 'folly', playfully challenges us to explore our own understanding of sculpture as she transforms everyday materials, such as timber and fabric, into bold sculptures that infiltrate the entire building and even spill outside.

Arts Opportunities Opens in a new tab or window.

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

Installation view of Phyllida Barlow British Pavilion exhibition

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 read to discover the UK exhibitions at the Venice Biennale, news on the Bridge Theatre, see why London's culture spend is third highest in the world and much more.

exhibition photo

On the Line: New perspectives on craft in Southeast Asia Opens in a new tab or window.

On the Line explores craft through the practices of women in the region. The free exhibition opened this week at The Aram Gallery to coincide with London Craft Week 2017 and will run until 17 June. Watch out short film that accompanies the exhibition follows three craft research residencies that took place in Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam as part of our work in Southeast Asia.

behind the scenes filming

Belfast 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, Sheffield and London with our latest arts tour focussing on Belfast. Delve into the cultural scene of Northern Ireland’s capital and discover how it's lively arts and music scene is of global recognition.

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.

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. 

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.

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.