Overview of International Co-operation Policies and Measures
Projects such as these are very much ‘people to people’ based, involving civil society organisations.
Their work however, particularly in relation to people from abroad, can be encouraged and facilitated by agreements and initiatives at central Government level.
In the sectors of culture and language, one of the main facilitators for international exchange is the British Council.11 This is a non-Departmental Public Body of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). Running alongside its traditional role of teaching the English language to non-native speakers abroad, it also works with the best of British and international artistic and creative talent to develop events and collaborate with organisations worldwide in the staging of shows and exhibitions.
DCMS and the FCO work closely together to remove any barriers impeding the free flow of works of art and historical artefacts which enables our world class galleries and museums to mount a culturally diverse range of exhibitions.
A topical example of this would be the British Museum’s ‘Hajj’ exhibition during the first quarter of 2012, the first major exhibition dedicated to the annual Muslim
pilgrimage to Mecca. The exhibition examined the significance of the Hajj as one of the Five Pillars of Islam, exploring its importance for Muslims, and looking at how this spiritual journey has evolved throughout history. It brought together a wealth of objects from a number of different collections and received a diverse audience of over 100,000 people.
In similar vein, the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Search for Immortality exhibition brings together the most remarkable collection of ancient royal treasures ever to
travel outside China.
When the National Museums of Scotland teamed up with the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, they produced ‘Catherine the Great, a unique
exhibition of her life and works, showing only in Edinburgh. Further examples of the diversity of cultural expression can be found in the case studies in Annex I, covering the work of Asian led theatre company,Tara Arts: and also the multi-lingual Shakespeare productions of Globe to Globe.
International co-operation in the sectors of culture and heritage is reflected in those of film, television, and theatre where co-production agreements bring mutual benefits between the participating countries. The UK has nine existing co-production agreements, with Australia, Canada, France, India, Israel, Jamaica, New Zealand, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and South Africa. It is also a signatory to the European Convention on Cinematographic Coproduction.