A group of young people dancing energetically on stage
Oona Doherty, Hard to Be Soft. Photo by Luca Truffarelli

The British Council has been working in Europe since 1937. Our arts programme across Europe aims to strengthen relationships following the UK’s exit from the EU and enable vital long-term partnerships between arts organisations and professionals from all four parts of the UK and the EU.

On this page, you can find an introduction to our arts work in Europe and useful sites for UK arts professionals, organisations and initiatives looking to connect with or work in an EU country.

Travelling to and working in the EU: Practical information

Detailed information is available on the UK government’s website guidance for the arts, culture and heritage sectors. This includes links to advice for both UK nationals, organisations and artistic businesses working with or in the EU, and EU nationals, organisations and businesses working with or in the UK.

If you are planning to travel to Europe on business, including travelling for meetings or conferences, providing services (including those for a charity) or touring for art or music, check the UK government’s checklists on touring and working in Europe for the arts, culture and heritage sectors, and refer to the government’s business travel webpage.

EU nationals wishing to travel to or work in the UK within their work in the arts, culture and heritage sectors should visit the UK government’s check UK visa webpage.

The British Council’s EU Arts strategy

Our EU Arts strategy aims to place the UK at the heart of Europe’s cultural conversation. Arts will continue to connect the UK to the rest of Europe and the British Council will support the UK arts sectors to work throughout Europe. Read our EU Arts Strategy.

Future programmes

Bespoke Brokers
Through our Bespoke Brokers programme, we aim to bring together the leading artistic organisations, festivals and programmes from the UK and EU. We will work with established UK artistic organisers and showcasing platforms, enabling them to connect with their counterparts and with influencers in the EU so they can build the connections they need for positive artistic exchange.

New Voices
Our New Voices programme supports emerging UK-based artists from diverse and less well represented backgrounds, bringing them together with innovative artists from across Europe who face similar challenges. The programme enables UK and EU artists to develop fresh ideas and skills to tackle contemporary challenges together and share their work as a representation of the great plurality of expression across Europe.

Circular Cultures
Our multi-disciplinary Circular Cultures programme is the EU Europe arm of British Council’s global programme, Making Matters. It aims to foster dialogue around circular design, covering topics such as climate change, material waste and making cultures. We will create new UK-EU networks for artistic professionals who are passionate about sustainability and circularity in design and embed a more critical dialogue around these themes, supporting skills development, knowledge sharing and the development of leaders. The programme currently operates across eight EU countries: France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. Partners include the Onassis Foundation, Re-Barcelona, MODA-FAD, City of Warsaw, Romania Design Week, University of the Arts London (UAL)and Design Manchester.

Performing gender: Dancing in your shoes
The British Council is one of 11 partners in this three-year project (2020–23) focused on gender equality and audience development, spanning eight European countries: France, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. Dancing in your shoes brings together dance festivals, LGBTIQ+ associations, universities and global organisations to engage with local communities in order to foreground marginalised voices and share stories on gender, with relevance to new dance audiences.

We are currently finalising our programmes for 2021 onwards. Please check back for updates.

Examples of current programmes and partnerships

Museums Revisited
Museums Revisited is an intensive capacity building programme that explores the role of museums in society today. The programme responds to the lack of skills and opportunities for museum professionals in the EU; facilitates dialogue between UK and EU museums; creates new networks and partnerships, including between museums and other cultural and civil society organisations; and influences policy change around the role of museums in society, local development, tourism and creative industries.

A major feature of Museums Revisited is The CoMuseum, the international museum conference that the British Council has run for over a decade in partnership with the US Embassy and Benaki Museum. In 2020 the CoMuseum launched as a physical and digital platform for museums and cultural professionals. Its goal is to share the best ideas and practices from around the world, highlight contemporary challenges and create a global network of professionals that will co-design a ‘culture-edge’ future for our societies.

Register now for the 11th CoMuseum International Conference taking place online from 1–3 December 2021. Participation is free.

Arts and Disability – Europe Beyond Access
Europe Beyond Access supports disabled artists to break the glass ceilings of the contemporary theatre and dance sectors.

Venice Biennale
The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion in Venice since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK’s artists, architects, designers and curators to an international audience.

Fluxus Art Projects
Fluxus Art Projects is a Franco-British charity dedicated to supporting exhibitions by contemporary artists from both countries. It encourages new connections and exchanges between the two countries. The programme is managed and supported by the British Council, the Institut Français and the French Ministry of Culture, with additional donations from private patrons.

Diaphonique
The Diaphonique fund supports classical and contemporary music collaborations between France and the UK, which include commissions, concerts, residencies and educational projects.

Resources

Creative Europe

  • Creative Europe is the European Union’s programme to support the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors.
  • The UK participated in the Creative Europe programme from 2014–20, during which time the British Council led the Creative Europe Desk UK in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI). You can view stories and a report on the impact of Creative Europe in the UK on the Creative Europe Desk UK website and visit the Creative Europe Desk UK YouTube channel for past events.
  • UK organisations may still be able to take part in the Creative Europe sub-programme’s Co-operation Projects as a Third Country Participant. For more information, please see the Creative Europe Desk UK information on Third Country Participation.
  • UK Creative Europe funding recipients from the 2014–20 programme can also join the Creative Europe UK Culture Beneficiaries Facebook group.

Grants, funding and opportunities

  • Perform Europe supports activities that aim to make international performing arts touring more sustainable and inclusive. It is funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programme. As the project was approved within the 2014–20 funding cycle, UK organisations can still apply. The first deadline for touring and distribution grants will be released in June 2021.
  • i-Portunus supports the mobility of artists, creators and cultural professionals in Creative Europe countries, which includes the UK as the funding for the current phase of the project (which ends in 2021) was confirmed before 1 January 2021. i-Portunus will organise five open calls in 2020–21.
  • Arts Council England’s Funding page lists all grant and funding calls open to a full range of England-based artistic professionals and initiatives.
  • Wales Arts International’s Funding page publishes information on the organisation’s grants and funds to support artists and arts organisations to build international connections for and with Wales.
  • Creative Scotland’s Funding programmes support organisations and individuals across Scotland.
  • The Arts Council of Northern Ireland provides funding for arts activity across Northern Ireland. There are funding programmes both for individual artists and organisations.

Networks and organisations

The following organisations connect UK artists and arts organisations with peers in Europe and other countries.

  • IETM, the international network for contemporary performing arts, has over 500 members from more than 50 countries. The network organises two conferences every year, together with smaller meetings around the world, and presents advice, research and information to support international exchange and inclusion in performing arts.
  • On the Move (OTM) is a cultural mobility information network, active in 20 countries in Europe and around the world, including the UK. The network alerts members to opportunities and grants, and provides training, resources and other support.
  • PEARLE, the Performing Arts Employers’ Associations League Europe, represents performing arts managers, festivals, promoters and performance venues across Europe.
  • There are several European Union-funded networks that are open to UK arts organisations and individuals. For further information, see the full list of Creative Europe networks.

Other useful websites