Culture is increasingly prominent on the international agenda. But the discussion about whether and how culture contributes to combating poverty and sustainable development has far to go. Part eight in a series about culture and development policy by donor countries.

Great Britain

March 2007 -

Britain's culture and development policy focuses on networks and exchange. In addition, many of its artistic projects include a social dimension, such as democracy, human rights, the environment or gender issues.

The British government was one of the founders of UNESCO and tries to keep the arts high on the agendas of the Council of Europe and the World Bank by stressing the social role that art can play and the economic potential of culture. In developing countries, the most important British cultural institution is the British Council, which carries out policy on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a hundred countries.

The British Council’s Arts for Development Directory encompasses a wide range of art projects that aim at changing attitudes and behaviour in society. Art and culture are seen as an aid for people to express their views, empower excluded groups to participate in society, facilitate dialogue between different groups and affect policy and practice at the highest levels of governments. Projects often address key developmental goals.

The British NGO Creative Exchange is a charity and a global network dedicated to the social role of art and culture, providing information and raising awareness on how art and culture contribute to international development and social change. Visiting Arts aims to strengthen intercultural understanding through art, linking Britain with prioritised countries around the world. The international human rights organisationARTICLE 19 represents the point of view that freedom of expression and access to information is not a luxury, but a fundamental human right. Royston Maldoom adopts quite a practical approach with his educational dance projects in developing and developed countries.