Tuesday 26 March 2013

An exciting new exhibition at the British Council’s central London headquarters will explore the impact and value of the English language, from 4 April until 30 June 2013.

The English Effect will examine the reasons why English is one of the UK’s greatest assets – as well as exploring the benefits it brings to countries and people around the world, and giving an insight into its status as a global language that reflects its contact with countries and cultures throughout history.

The exhibition has three zones. The first, Changing Lives, looks at the personal benefits the English language has brought to people around the world, through a ‘talking wall’ with stories from English speakers from countries including Rwanda, Nepal and Armenia. Among them are footballers Didier Drogba and Petr Čech, who talk about how the language helps them express themselves and understand their colleagues. Visitors will be able to write or tweet their own stories and add them to the wall.

The second zone, Economic Benefits, investigates the value of the English language to the UK economy – and the economic benefits for English-speaking countries around the world. Graphics will explain the impact of the language, and tablets will display video analysis from a range of experts – including an economist, business leader, brand expert and English Language Teaching professional.

In the third zone, A Global Language, a giant map of the world shows the extent to which English has evolved by absorbing words from other languages. This section looks at some of the words that have come into English from other parts of the world – including dollar (Germany), tomato (Mexico), andzombie (West Africa via the Caribbean) – and what this tells us about the UK’s cultural and historical links with other nations.

Mark Robson, Director of English at the British Council, said: “Many of us in the UK take English for granted, but this exhibition shows why the language has a far greater impact here and around the world than you might think. When you start to explore the benefits that English brings to both individuals and entire economies, you get a real sense that it opens doors everywhere. It’s also fascinating to look at how many of the words we use today have overseas roots, and what this says about the UK’s cultural ties with the world throughout history.”

The British Council helps people around the world to learn English as part of its work to build relationships for the UK through English, education and the arts. It teaches English, administers language qualifications, and works to improve English in education systems worldwide. Research by the British Council shows that English speakers can earn significantly more – and are more likely to trust and be interested in doing business with the UK.

The English Effect exhibition will run from Thursday 4 April until Saturday 30 June at the British Council’s headquarters at 10 Spring Gardens, London SW1A 2BN – between Trafalgar Square and the Mall. The exhibition is open from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, and Saturday between 10am and 12pm. Admission is free.

Following its three months in London, the exhibition will embark on a tour of British Council centres around the world.

For more information, or to arrange an interview or preview tour, contact Mark Moulding in the British Council Press Office on 0207 389 4889 or mark.moulding@britishcouncil.org


About the British Council

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. We are a Royal Charter charity, established as the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in more than 100 countries, and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year through English, arts, education and society programmes.

We earn over 75% of our annual turnover of £739 million from services which customers pay for, education and development contracts we bid for and from partnerships. A UK Government grant provides the remaining 25%.  We match every £1 of core public funding with over £3 earned in pursuit of our charitable purpose.