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Empire of the arts

Ignored at home, the British Council is our most important cultural institution abroad

By Annabel Freyberg   April 2004

Year in, year out, all over the world, but particularly in countries where the British government has foreign policy objectives, cultural events are devised, laid on and paid for by a body which is funded directly by the foreign office. Hundreds of thousands of Antony Gormley clay figurines are now touring China; Siberia recently enjoyed a showcase of new British cinema; in January, Aziz Ibrahim, once of the Stone Roses, played a series of gigs in Libya. It’s hard to tell whether such events arrive like damp squibs or welcome blasts of British culture: you won’t read much about them…

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