Joining the British Council Association (BCA) is a great way to stay in touch with former colleagues, network with new contacts and keep up to date with developments at the British Council. 

The BCA was set up over 40 years ago and has approximately 600 members throughout the UK and abroad. The officers of the BCA are Ian Stewart, Chair; Hector Munro, Deputy Chair; and Lorna Campbell, Secretary.

Who can join

All British Council staff are welcome, whether they are still working for us, with a new employer or retired. 

Benefits of joining

As a member of the British Council Association, you'll receive our thrice-yearly newsletter and be invited to meetings, events and visits around the UK.

Regular meetings

We hold two lunchtime meetings each year, in the spring and autumn, and an evening reception in January. We invite speakers to talk on a variety of subjects of interest and provide a buffet and drinks. Our annual general meeting is held in July.

Past talks have included:

  • Kirsty Lang, British Council Trustee and BBC journalist, in conversation about her work
  • Former British Council Director of Visual Arts, Andrea Rose, talking about her visit to North Korea with photographer Nick Danziger
  • Peter Clark, former British Council Director in Syria, describing life under the Assads and his newly published memoir.

Visits and theatre trips

Every year we organise a number of well-attended visits to places of interest around the country. These include guided tours of major institutions, heritage sites, galleries and museums. We aim to choose places where a guided tour is not easily available to the general public.

London visits have included:

  • a City of London guided Blue Badge tour focusing on the Great Fire of London and connections with Shakespeare
  • the Royal Albert Hall
  • Mansion House
  • the Supreme Court

Visits in Manchester have included a guided tour of BBC Media City in Salford Quays.

Theatre trips

We organise a number of visits to the theatre for our members.

Seminars and workshops

Members are invited to take part in detailed explorations of important topics relating to the British Council's work.

A recent workshop entitled Arts Work in Conflict-Affected Areas shared the experiences of former and current British Council staff through selected case studies, past and present, in the Middle East. The six case studies covered Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Pakistan, looking at theatre, visual art, film and more.

New Horizons magazine

New Horizons, which is published three times a year, contains articles, book reviews, announcements and other news. The articles and all other contributions reflect the diverse interests and experiences of the membership.

Articles have covered the 1970s tour of West Africa by the choir of King's College, Cambridge; a celebration of the centenary of the British Institute in Florence; the experiences of being a gay person working overseas in the British Council, experience of coaching athletes in Uganda, of sailing, of volunteering, of Shakespeare productions, of archaeology, of the experience of different British Council buildings and of overseas student affairs.

Letters will often respond to articles and generate a debate, such as a recent discussion on the memories of British Council drivers.

Oral history project

The British Council Association carried out interviews with 110 retired staff of the British Council. The audio recordings are deposited in the British Library's Oral History Collection, adding valuable content to this open research archive.

You can see details of who was interviewed, and often a summary of subjects discussed, in the British Library sound and moving image catalogue - search for 'British Council Oral History'.

To listen to the recordings, you will need to visit the sound archives at the British Library in person. 

How to join

The subscription is £15 a year by standing order. If you are in receipt of a civil service pension, you can choose to pay monthly at £1.25 a month.

Complete the form below and email it to the Secretary.

If you have any other questions, please email us.