How we work

Music at the British Council

Music has the power to transcend boundaries and connect across language barriers. It is a powerful force for strong and lasting connections between cultures tapping into both universal emotions and collective feeling, while also embodying particular and distinct cultural identities. 

The UK has a thriving, world renowned music sector of great richness, breadth, diversity and innovation that draws in numerous cultural influences that reflect the diversity of the UK and its international relationships and influences.
  • The UK classical music industry is admired globally for its quality, innovation, relevance, audience development and education work.  
  • The independent sector has its own vibrant and exciting ecosystem, where experimentation and risk-taking paves the way for a sub-cultural nuance, and diversity of expression. We include many genres: jazz, folk, electronica, grime and indie music.   
  • The commercial rock and pop sector is supported by a complex and nuanced industry and interlinking network of record labels, publishers, live agents and promoters.  
  • The UK festivals scene is world-leading, from smaller DIY, local, and boutique events through to Glastonbury and the BBC Proms
  • UK artists, composers and producers have a long history of pioneering work with new technologies to inspire new digital and audio-visual work. From composing soundtracks to video games to creating sound art and immersive media, an open approach to working across disciplines and outside of the box is flourishing. 
  • This is complemented and underpinned by high quality training opportunities across the UK at university and conservatoire level for musicians and industry professionals, and a wide range of talent development programmes to enable young people to engage in both professional and community music-making. 

Below provides an outline of how the Music Department together with colleagues overseas delivers its cultural relations work aligned to the British Council Arts Strategy. Our aim is to connect artists, producers, organisations, institutions, and audiences internationally, challenge perceptions and build long-term connections and relationships for collaboration and meaningful exchange. 

What we do 

  • We believe in the transformative power of music to connect across cultures, through collaboration, learning opportunities, and professional exchange 
  • We work closely with colleagues overseas to devise projects and programmes, which respond to the local context and need as well as the interests of the music sector in the UK 
  • We work across all genres of music – from grime to jazz, traditional to folk, and classical to indie – to represent the best of UK music to the world 
  • We work to connect artists, producers, organisations, cultural institutions, and audiences internationally to build long terms connections and relationships 
  • We aim to challenge perceptions internationally about UK music and culture and, in turn, challenge UK perceptions of the global music landscape, cultures and people, acting as a catalyst for exchange, dialogue and cultural understanding  
  • We work with the funded, mixed economy and commercial sides of the music industry to support international aspiration, innovation and opportunities for artists and organisations 
  • We focus on contemporary music and culture, while exploring how music heritage plays a vital role in contemporary life and cultural identity 
  • We support music education and skills development through programmes such as Drake Music in Japan, and Transform Orchestral Leadership in Brazil 
  • Programmes such as Creative Producers and Selector Pro to develop skills training, highlighting best practice across the music sector 

How We Work 

  • We work in partnership with UK and international arts and music organisations, producers, and institutions to offer opportunities for cultural exchange for music and arts professionals
  • We work with partners in the UK and internationally to develop programmes that will lead to collaboration and exchange  
  • We work with UK and international partners to support inbound and outbound delegations to key festivals, showcases and conferences that can enable music professionals to see a range of artistic work, network and offer opportunities for professional exchange  
  • We support brokering and development for international relationships through programmes like Connections through Culture which offers the opportunity for artist and organisations to forge new partnerships 
  • We support international collaboration through grant opportunities such as the International Collaboration Fund.  
  • We are immersed in the music and arts sector and always keen to develop connections, relationships, and partnerships with a diverse range of organisations