About Us

Visiting Arts' purpose is to strengthen intercultural understanding through the arts.

What people say about us?

"Visiting Arts through my career has picked me up and given me wonderful insights to artists and cultures round the world, most recently in an unforgettable trip to Iran. They have changed my world and I am very excited by their plans to change their role which I know will provide more inspiration in the years to come." Ruth Mackenzie, Director, Cultural Olympiad for London 2010

"In my experience Visiting Arts plays a key role in promoting and supporting cultural understanding and collaboration in increasingly innovative ways. Its small team is skilled and knowledgeable and the organisation is “light on its feet”, enabling it to get things done with the minimum of fuss" Jodi Myers, independent arts consultant

"VA has been crucial to us at Hay and to many of my colleagues in nurturing global perspectives. It should be called taste-crazing, ideas-mashing, thrill-blending, stranger-mating, mind-opening arts..." - Peter Florence, Director, Hay Festivals

"I have over many years found Visiting Arts to be a really constructive and productive organisation to work with. I have done so in many different contexts, ranging from support for research and development of incoming exhibitions, through being able to capitalise on incoming touring work, to benefitting from the attention brought by visiting curators and critics. It seems to me that Visiting Arts has really done a lot in nurturing and promoting international contact, often from ‘hard to reach’ communities around the world, and often in a really positive relationship to work with British diaspora communities. This has enabled real bridges to be built between organisations, international perspectives and local communities. 

I also think that Visiting Arts has done a terrific amount to ensure that incoming international cultural projects and personalities move beyond London and the obvious centres. This has been really beneficial in affirming the goals of organisations and communities in having local roots reinforced and challenged, as appropriate, by international perspectives. There is great potential for this to continue into the future, and I hope to be able to develop the work with visiting Arts in our plans. " - Michael Tooby, Cyfarwyddwr, Dysgu, Rhaglennau a Datblygu, Amgueddfa Cymru/ Director, Learning, Programmes and Development, National Museum Wales

What we do

Visiting Arts provides tools to the cultural sector to work more efficiently and intelligently worldwide.
Since 1977 Visiting Arts has worked with some of the world's most innovative emerging contemporary artists in programmes that engage and inspire young people, communities and future professionals. We've worked in diverse regions and countries including China, India, Central and Eastern Europe (pre and post 1990), Iran and across the Middle East and more recently in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands..

Working with a range of partners including the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, British Council, Gulbenkian Foundation and Ministries of Culture across the globe, Visiting Arts has also conducted research around international cultural leadership including trends in and barriers to international working and needs analyses. We provide information and advice, create opportunities for artists to make new connections and provide training for established and emerging cultural professionals. 

Visiting Arts became an independent registered charity in 2001 and we have a wide and growing group of associates representing some of the most experienced and diverse cultural operators in the UK (and beyond).

© Visiting Arts 2017

Registered in England No. 4162404 Charity No. 1085506. Auditors : Michael Kyriakides 



Visiting Arts was established in 1977 as a department of the British Council, working to bring international and culturally diverse work from overseas to UK audiences. Visiting Arts became an independent charitable organisation in 2001 and since then the organisation’s role has developed into being a facilitator for high quality international relationships between artists and cultural professionals. Until April 2012, its three main strands of work involved information and knowledge sharing, creating new connections for artists and cultural professionals and providing training and professional development.