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