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. 

#FiveFilms4Freedom 2017

The world's first global, digital LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) short-film programme is brought to you for a third year by the British Council and the British Film Institute (BFI). From 16 March 2017, people from all over the world can watch five films from the BFI Flare film festival for free online. We'll be announcing the films soon, as well as our annual list celebrating the individuals who are promoting LGBT rights through culture globally.

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.

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.

Rosalind by James Cousins Company

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 we include our short film about James Cousins Company's new dance production Rosalind, the UK-India Year of Culture launch, our Manchester online arts tour plus much more. 

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.