Man wearing virtual reality headset
Exploring new forms of digital at the Atolye Creative Hub in Istanbul, Turkey. ©

Poyraz Tütüncü/Pinhole Istanbul

September 2022

New digital technologies are transforming how people work, study and exchange ideas. COVID-19 has accelerated the transition already underway across international cultural relations organisations towards the digital delivery of projects and programmes. 

But what does ‘digital cultural relations’ means in practice? How is the digital shift affecting the nature, outcomes and impact of international cultural relations? What cultural relations outcomes and impacts do digital interventions enable that are distinct or different from face-to-face interventions? Are certain types of digital interventions and activities more effective than others in delivering demonstrable cultural relations outcomes and impact?  

In addressing these questions, this project was an attempt to refine some of the key concepts around digital cultural relations and to help set the future research agenda. 

The project involved 30 interviews with practitioners drawn from across the British Council’s global staff network and external experts, as well as a series of six workshops with British Council staff and external partners and stakeholders. There was a particular focus on issues and questions relating to themes of trust, participation and engagement, inclusion and exclusion, and to the practice and implications of digital cultural relations programmes and interventions in Official Development Assistance (ODA) contexts.

The project outputs are a literature review and a short report reflecting on current practice and key themes for future development. You can download these below and share the DOI link. 
Citation: ICR Ressearch, Natalia Grincheva, & Erik Vlaeminck. (2022). Digital Cultural Relations: Literature Review (Version 1). British Council. Avilable online at:

You can also watch a recording of our online event, New perspectives on international collaboration (16 Feb 2023). This brought together representatives of three international organisations, and other experts, to discuss digital and its role in building relationships, connections and trust between the UK and global partners, audiences and communities through education and culture.

See also