Art without Frontiers: The British Council Collection

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


What is the value of the visual arts in international cultural exchange? What do exhibitions of British art communicate as they travel overseas?

For over eight decades, the British Council has sent British art abroad as ambitious acts of cultural dialogue with over a hundred countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. Along the way it has amassed a distinctive and unique national art collection, comprising around 9000 pieces, ranging from painting, print and sculpture to film works, photography and craft by some of the most significant artistic talents of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It continues to acquire new art by emerging practitioners and to operate in new geographical territories using innovative methods of cultural engagement. Its works are on display in over 100 countries worldwide, and its exhibitions are seen by around a million people per year.

Art without Frontiers follows the expectations made of visual arts in the work of the British Council since 1935, locating its achievements in the shifting contexts of global politics and art history across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through a series of chronological exhibition histories that act as testing grounds and turning points, Art without Frontiers explores key moments in the British Council's visual arts programme and, in particular, the development and use of the British Council Collection, to examine what art can do for cultural relations in an ever-changing world.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Commissioning bodyBritish Council
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


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