British Council Creative Economy

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TOGETHER WE KNOW MORE: The Creative Economy team develops new collaborations, innovation and enterprise with the rapidly-changing creative and cultural industries worldwide


We develop new collaborations, innovation and enterprise with the rapidly-changing creative and cultural industries worldwide.  Working with local partners, we identify and support communities of future leaders and changemakers by giving them space, tools, connections and 21st century skills to foster ideas and innovation and help them develop more prosperous, socially engaged, creative economies.

You can read more about what we do in our Annual Report.


Our primary audience and collaborators are enterprising communities of individuals and organisations, who we often describe as ‘hubs’. We also work with policymakers, institutions and other stakeholders who want to better understand and develop their creative economy.

Our work cuts across Arts and engages organisations from the UK’s constantly evolving creative and cultural economy to work with local partners.  Our UK network of collaborators are future-facing and work in a cross-disciplinary way. 

We focus on three key areas of work:


Makerspaces, incubators, pop-ups, labs and clusters—these new spaces allow more people to use their creativity in exciting and productive ways. We support and connect collaborative communities who are building imaginative new ventures. 

Hello Shenzhen: a bilateral exchange programme connecting makers in the UK and China. 

Creative Hubs: Understanding the New Economy: report examining the ecosystem of creative spaces and communities in the UK and the unique position they hold in creative communities. 


Digital technology is having a huge impact on how creative ideas can be distributed and made more accessible. We co-produce imaginative projects that explore the potential of what this means for our cities and societies. Some recent projects include:

Playable City: a series of global experiments, encouraging citizens to engage with public spaces in playful and creative ways

Alt.City Sao Paulo: residency with emerging Brazilian artists, exploring 3D mapping and VR techniques to tell the hidden stories of Sao Paulo.


We’re helping to build sustainable businesses in the creative and cultural industries worldwide, sharing our knowledge and experience through skills workshops, mentoring and peer networks.  

We also share these insights with policymakers to promote the development of diverse creative economies worldwide. We always work in partnership with global and local organisations to co-create projects that have the greatest benefit and impact. Our work is part of the British Council's remit to create more open, inclusive and prosperous societies. Some recent projects include:

Creative Enterprise Toolkit: developed in partnership with Nesta, and now translated into six languages

Creative Enterprise Skills Workshops: we work with Nesta to share their Creative Enterprise Toolkit with creative start-ups around the world.

How we work

All of our projects are carefully co-developed by UK and international partners, using the British Council's unique network of global resources.

Our UK team nurtures links with UK organisations and communities. We are constantly on the look out and interested to hear about imaginative and innovative projects which fit within our focus themes.

We work closely with our colleagues overseas who are likewise building local partnerships and opportunities to support long-term links to the UK.

The Creative Economy team is part of a larger Arts Department which has sector-specific teams like Music, Design and Film.

WHERE we work

We work in most places but focus on a few priority countries each year.

These include Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Turkey.

Please be aware that the Creative Economy team doesn’t provide travel grants for people to work internationally. There is support for individual artists to work internationally through the British Council/Arts Council England joint Artists International Development Fund, more information here.