British Council boosts arts output

The British Council has unveiled a new arts strategy and a GBP30m (€38.3m) Cultural Protection Fund that it hopes will boost the reach of British arts abroad. More than 100,000 artists and organisations will benefit from partnerships and support.

‘We will build influence for the UK and international opportunities for artists, companies and institutions,’ said British Council director of arts Graham Sheffield. ‘Our involvement in the Cultural Protection Fund will allow us to support UK organisations in the vital work of protecting and conserving cultural assets worldwide.’

Its arts programme has already grown significantly in recent years, with the budget up 30 per cent on five years ago. This year it will spend GBP57.5m on arts, compared to GBP49.5m in 2015.

The Cultural Protection Fund with provide grants for cultural heritage preservation in countries like Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, and Tunisia. Not only will these projects keep important cultural sites intact, they will also provide a boost for the local economies through job creation and tourism income.

Other elements of the 2016-21 arts strategy include:

  • An Arts for Social Changep programme, which will create safe spaces for culture
  • More opportunities for sharing UK creativity at events like biennales
  • Investment in skills and training for artists
  • Fostering of networks and collaboration opportunities worldwide
  • Research into the role of culture internationally

The full Arts Strategy is available on the British Council’s website.