Jos McKain in Pablo Bronstein’s Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture

Our Arts work explores visual arts as a way to encourage public discourse.

Explore our past programs

BAFTA: Brits to Watch

The British Council partnered with BAFTA to present the 'Brits to Watch: The Screenings' program, which introduced new British film talent to the US industry audiences in NYC and LA.

The 2016 Program

  • Lady Macbeth by William Oldroyd (September 26-28)

The 2015 Program

  • Special Visit by John Maclean (April 21)
  • The Falling by Carol Morley (June 9-10)
  • The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton (Oct 6, 8)

The 2014 Program

  • Belle by Amma Asante (April 1-2)
  • Kelly + Victor by Kieran Evans (May 6, 8)
  • Lilting by Hong Khaou (June 10, 12)
  • '71 by Yann Demange (August 27, Sept 2)

Douglas Gordon at the Park Avenue Armory

In our second partnership with the Park Avenue Armory, we supported Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon and acclaimed pianist Hélène Grimaud. Gordon and Grimaud came together to explore the beauty of water, a fundamental force of nature that is often a muse for artists throughout history in a wide variety of art forms. 

Gordon took the inspiration of water to create a large-scale installation that utilized the full space of the Armory's Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Grimaud performed a program of water-themed works to bring together live music and visual art that provided audiences with an exciting and stimulating experience. The installation was open to the public outside of Grimaud's performance times.

John Akomfrah

September 19, 2014 to February 1, 2015, the Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University

Pioneering filmmaker, director and theorist John Akomfrah (b. 1957) engages with questions of memory and identity to create moving-image works that address the histories of the African diaspora. His early projects with media group Black Audio Film Collective chronicled the emergence of multicultural identities in 1980s Britain while forming the cornerstone of radical artistic practices that address Western society's anxieties around the legacies of colonialism and empire. 

With more than thirty years of experience in production in cinema, television and gallery-based installations, Akomfrah is renowned for pushing the boundaries of the documentary form and innovating the film essay format through a dynamic use of archival and staged footage with multilayered voiceovers. He has exhibited widely at international museums and large-scale exhibitions, as well as in numerous film festivals. In 2012, Akomfrah debuted 'The Unfinished Conversation' (a multiscreen video installation) and 'The Stuart Hall Project' (a documentary on the life and work of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall). 

'John Akomfrah: Imaginary Possessions' was curated by Yesomi Umolu, Assistant Curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (MSU). Support for this exhibition was provided by the Broad MSU's general exhibitions fund, with additional funding support from the British Council. 

Otolith Group at RedCat

In 2013, British Council supported the exhibition Medium Earth by the Otolith Group at REDCAT in Los Angeles and complementary public talks. Through a series of moving images and sounds that created an audiovisual essay, the show explored the ‘seismic psyche of the state of California’ and the talks addressed associated themes in the work of geopoetic practices of prediction and premonition.

Paolo Bronstein at RedCat

In 2014, British Council supported the tableaux vivants performances of Pablo Bronstein’s exhibition Enlightenment Discourse on the Origins of Architecture at REDCAT in Los Angeles.

The City and the city

The British Council supported the exhibition of The City and the city,  curated by Justin Hopper, from September-December 2012 at Wood Street Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. This exhibition featured the collaborative work of UK writers and artists exploring new and imagined notions of the city of London.

Featured artists included Caroline Bergvall, Rachel Lichtenstein, Tom McCarthy, Rod Dickinson, Iain Sinclair, Chris Petit, and Sukhdev Sandhu. The British Council supported the artists' talks, and live performance of Night Haunts by Sukhdev Sandhu with Scanner.