In early 2016 the British Council music team decided to commission new research into the funding and development opportunities for British musicians and music organisations to export and develop international markets for their work, and to develop their artistic practice through international experience. The intention was for this research to build on the similar work we’d done previously for the British Council and Arts Council England in 2009, as well as shorter reports on the sector in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Specific objectives were to:
- Assess where musicians and music organisations greatest needs are, and the barriers (perceived or real) they encounter in terms of developing international careers
- Map support that’s currently available to British musicians and music organisations to develop their work internationally, and to develop their artistic practice through experience overseas, and assess its reach and impact
- Identify gaps in support, along with areas of (unwarranted) duplication
- Identify opportunities for working together
- Inform British Council Music Department’s consideration of its own role in the ecology over the coming years
We got started by doing a literature review and lots of desk research to update our map of current support and signposting. That done, we got down to digging deeper and doing some future gazing, using a range of 1-1 interviews to identify what’s working and what’s not, what’s missing and how support organisations might work together in the future to better support musicians to work overseas. Having amassed all of that feedback, much pacing and internal discussion concluded with us putting together a report that provided:
- an overview map of the current support landscape, along with details of key support providers and showcases
- commentary based on our research findings, divided into the following areas: The support organisation landscape; outbound showcasing; in-bound showcasing; international touring; digital technology and ‘working internationally’; information, advice and guidance, communication and signposting, and the key to success
- Observations and potential action points for the British Council and other support providers, based on areas of need and/or gaps or opportunities we have identified.