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British Council provides boost to UK arts sector and creative economy
Graham Sheffield, Director Arts.
LONDON.- The British Council – the UK’s international cultural relations organisation – announced that six new roles have been appointed within its overseas Arts team. These roles, alongside an increased digital presence, will allow the British Council to expand work promoting UK arts to a global audience despite an overall reduction in funding. In particular they will help build strategic partnerships with organisations worldwide; this mutual exchange will bring new economic and creative opportunities to UK institutions.

The British Council will have UK arts specialists situated in Europe, South Asia, China, India, East Asia, America, Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The team will work with the best of British creative talent to continue to develop innovative, high-quality events and collaborations that link thousands of artists and cultural institutions around the world, drawing them into a closer relationship with the UK.

They come at a time when the British Council is engaged in several high profile arts projects over the coming year including UK Now, potentially the biggest ever celebration of British arts held in China; Dickens 2012, a major celebration of events and activities to mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens that will include performance, literature events and English language projects; the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012 and UK Brazil, an important programme of events and exchanges. At the heart of all these initiatives is a commitment to working with UK institutions and artists to reach a global audience.

The appointments follow on from the arrival of Graham Sheffield as new Director Arts in May 2011. Graham Sheffield has held a number of high profile roles in the UK and internationally.

Graham Sheffield said: "The British Council's work across the Arts, English language, education and society contributes to a better understand of the UK around the world. Despite the reduction in our funding I am proud that our cultural and educational programmes are reaching even more people around the world, increasingly with a range of superb British and overseas partners.

International collaborations with institutions and artists bring British creativity to the attention of huge audiences and unlock creative and commercial opportunities. These initiatives will provide our arts team with even more strength and depth and we are retaining our strong art form expertise in the UK to ensure that we can continue to work with the sector effectively.”

The British Council also appointed a New Director Film, Briony Hanson, who has previously worked at The Script Factory and as head of the programme unit at the BFI, in June. In addition the British Council is developing major upgrade of its digital presence which will help ensure that the whole UK sector is able to access the market intelligence that this expert network develops.

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