Portrait from Mohamad Khayata’s photography collection ‘Stitching My Syria Back'
Portrait from Mohamad Khayata’s photography project Stitching My Syria Back for British Council's Syria: Third Space exhibition. ©

Muhammad Kayata

We explore the use of culture and creativity for development that is longterm and sustainable. 

We aim to:

  • extend safe spaces for culture, creative exploration and exchange;
  • build trust, enable dialogue and present marginalised voices;
  • support the protection of cultural heritage and expression of cultural identities.

See below for more information on our culture and development activity around the globe. 

Two men breakdancing as part of British Council's Say it Through Breakdancing programme
Image from Say It through Breakdancing, a Culture and Development supported project in which breakdancing was used to support young people to express themselves in Tunisia. ©

Helen Maybanks

We deliver culture and development initiatives around the world

  • We work collaboratively with the British Council global network, and with partners and colleagues across the globe to deliver our culture and development initiatives. 
  • Through this collaboration, specifically with colleagues in the region we are working in, we are able to identify needs specific to the local context. We then work to foster cultural arts programmes in response to the social and economic needs of developing countries.
  • Our programmes take place over a number of years and provide long term strategy and committment in the region we are working in.
  • Explore our work.

We explore the notion of cultural heritage for inclusive growth

  • We have published a research report exploring the use of cultural heritage for growth that benefits all levels of society. 
  • As part of this work, we are delivering a £3m pilot programme in collaboration with our counterparts in Colombia, Kenya and Vietnam. 

We manage the Cultural Protection Fund in partnership with DCMS

  • The £30million fund has been set up to protect heritage in conflict affected areas in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • The Fund aims to help create sustainable opportunities for social and economic development, through building capacity to foster, safeguard and promote cultural heritage at risk due to conflict overseas.
  • Find out more and how you can apply.

We provide research and resources for best practice and to inform policy

  • We work to collate research, including that from our programmes, to show what cultural programmes can do in international development, how they can work, and what their benefits are in the UK and around the world.
  • We are currently requested case studies, articles and reports for an arts and homelessness literature review. Find out more here. 
  • Using arts for as a means for social change has been recognised by the  British Council’s Arts Strategy