Resources > Visiting Arts
24 May 2011

Visiting Arts

Visiting Arts was established in 1977 as a department of the British Council, working to bring international and culturally diverse work from overseas to UK audiences. Visiting Arts became an independent charitable organisation in 2001 and since then the organisation’s role has developed into being a facilitator for high quality international relationships between artists and cultural professionals. Until April 2012, its three main strands of work involved information and knowledge sharing, creating new connections for artists and cultural professionals and providing training and professional development.

Visiting Arts' purpose is to strengthen intercultural understanding through the arts.


  • Provide information and intelligence to help people engage in intercultural activity

  • Create opportunities for artists and cultural professionals to explore new connections

  • Expand the skills and knowledge of artists and cultural players


  • Produce and distribute our free monthly e-newsletter, help-sheets, targeted briefings and the latest advice through print, web and face to face meetings

  • Establish and foster opportunities for ground-breaking artist exchanges, and contribute to some of the world’s biggest and most innovative festivals

  • Organise and run training programmes, in-country workshops, overseas country-visits, networking events, work placements, residencies and collaborations

From Afghanistan to Zanzibar, Visiting Arts works with the most exciting next generation of artists and cultural players, inviting them to the UK, linking them with UK artists and organisations expanding knowledge and horizons and championing intercultural working.

Its recent consultation with the sector showed that, on average, arts professionals and artists need: international intelligence, particularly on funding sources and visa information, opportunities for travel and research, and networking opportunities in order to enable their international working. These are areas of development core to Visiting Arts work.

Visiting Arts works with its partners to avoid duplication and maximise the value and impact of its activity across the UK arts sectors, and strives to capture the inspiration, the learning and the good practice of its programmes to share widely.

Visiting Arts is funded by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and works with a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, British Council, Gulbenkian Foundation and Ministries of Culture across the globe.