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British Council and Arts Council England Memorandum of Understanding

  • Published: 2009-12-17 : Author:
  • Synopsis: The MOU defines areas in which Arts Council England and the British Council can work more closely to help artists.

Main Document

The MOU defines areas in which Arts Council England and the British Council can work more closely to help artists build links internationally. It establishes a framework within which the two agencies can jointly develop and create programs that are strategic, coherent, and serve the interests of artists and audiences.

The collaboration recognizes the shared territory between the two organizations, offering the benefits of their expertise and relationships to further artistic practice in England, supporting artists and arts organizations to take their work to audiences worldwide, and bringing the best of international practice to audiences across the country.

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive British Council said:

"Today's agreement builds on years of collaboration between Arts Council England and the British Council and provides a framework for our relationship to go from strength to strength.

"By upholding and celebrating domestic and international excellence, this partnership will ensure that the arts continue to have a prominent and powerful role to play in creating greater understanding of the world in the UK and of the UK in the world."

Liz Forgan, Chair of Arts Council England said:

"Together, Arts Council England and the British Council can create new and exciting opportunities for artists to showcase their work on the international stage.

"Working internationally is hugely important to the health of the arts in this country, allowing artists to exchange ideas and reach new audiences across the world."

Over the next few months, Arts Council England and the British Council will work together on a number of programs including Unlimited, Music Showcases, Cultural Leadership, Cultural Diplomacy Group, Points of Culture and the London International Festival Symposium (2012). The two organizations are also looking at previous artists development programs, such as Artists Links and the Arts Council's International Fellowship program, to see what lessons can be learned when creating future schemes.

The two organizations will begin to develop joint protocols around consultation and communication with specialists in both organizations meeting regularly to develop a common understanding of the arts both in England and internationally. This communications strategy will make sure that artists and those interested in the arts have clear pathways to follow to follow when seeking information and advice.

For details of the full MOU please go to

Unlimited - a project celebrating disability, arts, culture and sport on an unprecedented scale, in the context of 2012. Unlimited is principally funded by the Olympic Lottery Distributor, and is delivered in partnership between London 2012,Arts Council England, the Scottish Arts Council, Arts Council of Wales, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the British Council. The Arts Council is supporting a commissioning fund to support high-quality collaborations between disability arts organizations, disabled artists and producers, and mainstream arts organizations. The British Council is supporting collaboration between artists in the UK and other countries, and showcasing new work around the world.

Points of Culture - Building on the lessons learned from the Artists Links Brazil program which will end in 2010, and in anticipation of new partnerships between the Olympic host countries for 2012 and 2016, the two Councils are supporting a cultural knowledge exchange program , produced by Peoples Palace Projects, between Brazil and the UK that will arrange reciprocal learning visits in 2010 between individuals working within arts organizations, and for policy makers and funders within the two countries. The exchange will focus on the Cultura Viva: pontos de cultura program in Brazil [Living Culture: Points of Culture] and on arts organizations experienced in running socially engaged arts programs in the UK. It is anticipated that the organizations and individuals involved will establish links for future collaboration, supported by the two Councils.

Music Showcases - we will work together to maximize the impact of both inbound and outbound showcase activities.

Cultural Leadership - Arts Council England's Cultural Leadership Program, the British Council's Cultural Leadership International program, and the Clore Leadership Program will hold a joint Symposium next year.

Cultural Diplomacy Group - This group, which brings together the British Council, the 4 UK Arts Councils and Visiting Arts will meet quarterly to look at how the very best of the UK's culture can be presented on the world stage.

London International Festival Symposium (2012) - the British Council and Arts Council England will create a platform for a major public conversation on what it means to be an artist in the world today.

The British Council

Celebrating 75 years in 2009, the British Council is the UK's international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people.

-We work in the arts, education, English, science, sport and governance and last year we engaged face to face with 13.2 million people and reached 221 million.

We are a non-political organization which operates at arm's length from government.

Our total turnover in 2008/9 was £645 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £209 million.

For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.21 from other sources.

Arts Council England

Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people's lives.

As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theater to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts.

Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

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