The Visual Arts Department has a fascinating history, almost as old as the British Council itself.

The story of our Visual Arts work spans 75 years and encompasses the nurturing of Henry Moore's career interntaionally; over 30 Venice Biennale's; the creation of one of the UKs leading collections of Contemporary Art and sustained arts activities in the most challenging areas of the world, against a backdrop of interntational conflict, cultural revolution and the shifting of geographical boundaries. 

As well as being documented in the exhibition history featured on this website, the story of the Visual Arts Department is captured in papers, reports, letters and images held in archives that are accessible to the public. 

The British Council 

Many recent materials will still be in the process of being archived, therefore if your enquiry relates to activity in the last 30 years please either contact the Visual Arts Team or our colleagues in the Information and Knowledge Department.

The National Archives

This is the main repository of British Council records and an excellent source of information on public and cultural diplomacy activities overseas from the 1930s to the 1970s. The collection also contains some papers relating to the Venice Biennale. 

The National Archives 
Kew, Richmond 
Surrey TW9 4DU

Search the Online Catalogue

The Tate

The Tate is home to key papers relating to our arts activities overseas. The archive mainly includes our exhibition files containing correspondence, photographs, catalogues and records relating to the British Council Collection, Venice Biennale and loans between the British Council and Tate. 

Our files are stored under two collection codes 9712 and 200317. You can search the catalogue here...

The archives is located at: 

Tate Britain
London SW1P 4RG
United Kingdom

Call +44 (0)20 7887 8838

Resistration is necessary in order to view items in the archive collection. Full details can be found on the Tate's website here...