Filming as part of Camara Chica, a project that creates opportunities for young people in Cuba to discover and develop creative and technical skills through filmmaking. ©

Andres Franko

What is Culture and Development at the British Council?

Culture and Development is an area of work in which we explore the value of arts, culture, creativity and heritage for international development that is longterm and sustainable.

We do this through:

  • developing and delivering a global portfolio of programmes in collaboration with individuals and organisations in the UK and overseas;
  • hosting events and activity to share our learning and understanding;
  • developing research and resources to share our methodology and evidence.

An alternative approach to development

We are committed to exploring alternative approaches to the applied, top-down solutions that are often seen in traditional international development practice.  

We believe that to create sustainable and inclusive development, it's important that the challenges that are being addressed are mutually identified by the people facing them, and any subsequent solutions are co-created and delivered. 

This promotes individual agency, and ensures that socially and politically excluded groups/individuals have the opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the decisions and changes that affect their lives.  

This creates opportunities for sustainable development, and helps to build inclusive, stable and prosperous societies. 

Valuing the transformative power of arts and culture 

Arts, culture, creativity and heritage are powerful tools for this approach. We have already seen how arts can foster social inclusion and change lives in the UK. Applying this learning to an international development context allows us to connect UK expertise and experience with the equivalent expertise and experience overseas in order to collaborate on global challenges in a sustainable way. 

Find out more:

Explore the programmes we are co-delivering with partners on the ground. Read more about the Cultural Protection Fund, an example of a large-scale development programme that follows this approach. Browse our blog to learn more about this area of work.