How we work

Who do we work with?

We draw on a network of contacts across the music world including artists, producers, festival directors, concert promoters, programmers, agents, broadcasters, educators and policy makers – people who are leaders and innovators in their field. Working with our colleagues overseas we create projects that meet the demand in their country and then identify the appropriate artists, experts or partners to make that project a success for all involved.

What do we work with?

We work across British music in all genres, appropriate to the context of the country, situation, who we are trying to reach and what we are trying to achieve. This does not mean fulfilling a commercial need or necessarily giving an audience exactly what they want – it can mean exposing them to something new and changing perceptions about British music in the process.

How do we achieve our outcomes?

Our projects and programmes find creative ways of connecting people to maintain and develop relationships and support the imagination of artists and audiences worldwide who wish to explore more positive futures. Our music programme supports the British Council's Arts strategy by:

Sharing UK music with the world

Our Selector Radio show broadcasts the best new British music to an international audience via a weekly programme that covers a wide range of popular and alternative music styles. The show is syndicated on FM to over 40 countries worldwide. It’s also available to stations in kit form, meaning the show can be customised and translated into the local language with a different presenter.

We also bring international music programmers, creative producers and festival managers to UK festival events so they can see live performances of UK music and make connections with their peers for professional exchange. Many go on to programme British artists that they’ve seen in the UK at festivals and events overseas.

We also work with young dynamic creative companies, like Boiler Room, to showcase international projects and to reach global audiences.

Fostering collaboration

Our Musicians in Residence programme – in partnership with PRS Foundation – supports artists to spend time working overseas, immersing themselves in another culture, making connections, developing their artistic practice and engaging with the local community. It has been successful in forging new relationships and inspiring new work. The success of the programme in China since 2012 has led to the development of new iterations in Brazil and UAE during 2017.

We also create and tailor residencies that enable space for artists to collaborate, such as taking artists on a journey of discovery on the Trans-Siberian railway, or Folk Nations, a project bringing folk artists together to explore traditional and contemporary folk music across cultures.

Music for social change

We engage with organisations like Drake Music, who use new technology to enable access to music-making for all people, and the Paraorchestra, the world’s first large-scale professional ensemble of disabled musicians, who share a vision that great music is only defined by a person’s ability, never their disability.

We engage in work giving marginalised people a voice, for example with the music and homelessness organisation Streetwise Opera, an award-winning charity that uses music to help people who have experienced homelessness to make positive changes in their lives.

Music skills

Our Selector PRO music programme brings music professionals and artists together to discuss the industry and latest trends in music. UK sector speakers, panel discussions and showcases are tailored to suit local context and sector needs. More recently, the programme has also included workshops ranging from music journalism to composing – aimed at upskilling the next generation – and championing women in electronic music through workshops across India in 2018.

Our film and music programme explores composing and showcasing music for film, video and gaming, including live scores.  In 2016 we launched FAMLAB, a programme designed to bring music, archive and film practitioners together to learn from each other and develop professionally. We have since supported existing live score projects internationally, as well as the development of new live scores.

World Voice is our teacher training programme developing musicality and improving learning outcomes through song, drawing on leading music education expertise from the UK. It also develops global cultural awareness and improved wellbeing in school-age children. Highly trained singing leaders work with teachers and pupils to enrich teaching practice, while sustainability is ensured through a “train the trainer” approach to cascading the training.

Music policy and research

We undertake and share research with the cultural sector in the UK and overseas. In 2016 we commissioned “Going International”, a report which explores the support currently available to UK musicians and music businesses overseas to work internationally; a useful one-stop shop for those wishing to find out more about the key funding schemes and artist and business development programmes, as well as giving a helpful summary of the UK funding bodies and support providers that manage related initiatives.