Art Without Frontiers

The History of the British Council and the Visual Arts


This book is not yet published, but will be available from December 2021.

ISBN: 9781908970527 Category:

Annebella Pollen


What is the value of the visual arts in international cultural exchange? What do exhibitions of wok by leading British artists communicate as they travel overseas? For more than eight decades, the British Council has sent British art abroad as ambitious acts of cultural dialogue with over a hundred countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. Along the way it has amassed a distinctive and unique national art collection, comprising over 8500 pieces, ranging from painting, print and sculpture to film works, photography and craft by some of the most significant artistic talents of the 20th and 21st centuries. It continues to acquire new art by emerging practitioners and to operate in new geographical territories using innovative methods of cultural engagement. Its works are on display in over 100 countries worldwide, and its exhibitions are seen by millions of people per year. Art without Frontiers follows the expectations made of visual arts in the work of the British Council since 1935, locating its achievements in the shifting contexts of global politics and art history across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Through a series of chronological exhibition histories that act as testing grounds and turning points, Art without Frontiers explores key moments in the British Council’s visual arts programme and, in particular, the development and use of the British Council Collection, to examine what art can do for cultural relations in an ever-changing world.

Additional information

Weight 300 g
Dimensions 15.2 x 23 cm
Publisher name Art Books Publishing Ltd
Publication date 31 December 2021
Number of pages 304
Format Hardback
Dimensions 15.2 x 23 cm
Weight 300 g


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Dr Annebella Pollen is Principal Lecturer and Academic Programme Leader in the History of Art and Design, and Deputy Director of the Centre for Design History at the University of Brighton. Her books include Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life and Photography Reframed: New Visions in Contemporary Photographic Culture. She is co-editor, with Charlotte Nicklas, of Dress History: New Directions on Method and Practice.