Head of External Relations, Arts

Date: 23-Nov-2022

Location: Edinburgh, UKM, GB

Company: British Council

The British Council builds connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. We work in two ways – directly with individuals to transform their lives, and with governments and partners to make a bigger difference for the longer term, creating benefit for millions of people all over the world. We help young people to gain the skills, confidence and connections they are looking for to realise their potential and to participate in strong and inclusive communities. We support them to learn English, to get a high-quality education and to gain internationally recognised qualifications. Our work in arts and culture stimulates creative expression and exchange and nurtures creative enterprise. We connect the best of the UK with the world and the best of the world with the UK. These connections lead to an understanding of each other's strengths and of the challenges and values that we share. This builds trust between people in the UK and other nations which endures even when official relations may be strained. We work on the ground in more than 100 countries. In 2019-20 we connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million overall, including online and through our broadcasts and publications.


Head of External Relations.
Pay band: 8

Salary: £33,904 - £41,309 per annum plus £3,300 London Market Allowance for London Candidates only.  Excellent benefits such as 32 days annual leave, plus bank holidays and civil service pension. (Salary and annal leave pro-rated to part time hours). 

Hours: 18 hours / 2.5 days per week (part time). 
Location: Cardiff, London, Manchester, Edinburgh or Belfast. (The UK Only).
Department: Arts, Cultural Relations.  
Contract type: Indefinite (permanent) contract.
Closing Date: 14th December 2022 at 23:59 UK Time. 


This role is based in the UK. You must have the legal right to work in the UK at the time of application. 


This is a part-time role (18 hours per week).

The Context:


This role sits within the Cultural Engagement (CE) Strategic Business Unit (SBU). CE brings together our portfolio of work in arts, education, English, and research. Our UK arts team works with the arts and culture sector in the UK, and our global network of offices, to achieve significant impact and change by finding new ways of connecting and seeing each other through the arts.


Our work is delivered through four global programmes: Culture Connects supports artistic and cultural exchange between the UK and countries internationally; Spotlights on Culture engages and represents the UK’s cultural diversity and creativity at high-profile cultural events; Creative Economy analyses  creative ecosystems  and highlights emerging trends and areas of convergence and difference between creative economies; Arts Responds to Global Challenges celebrates the transformative power of arts and culture to change attitudes and the protection and promotion of cultural expression, diversity and heritage at risk.

The Opportunity:

Role Purpose:


We are recruiting to the role on a part time basis, at 2.5 days / 18 hours per week. 


The role of Head of External Relations is to ensure that British Council Arts most important UK culture and creative industries stakeholders - specifically CEOs of cultural organisations chief executives, advisory groups and key DCMS and DIT Ministers and senior civil servants - are informed and engaged regarding British Council Arts’ strategy and activities and can act as allies and influencers in support of our work.


You'll drive this engagement by developing strategies alongside Director Arts and to deliver on these by leading the management of senior advisory groups and shaping and contributing to events, meetings and other opportunities for impactful external stakeholder relationships.


This role works very closely with British Council’s corporate and parliamentary external relations teams.




Sector expertise

  • Proactively maintain a broad working knowledge of the arts and creative industries sector in the UK, including understanding of the main short, medium and long term issues which affect the sector.
  • Keep up to date with developments relating to HMG priorities, ministerial moves and approach to soft power and cultural relations.



Relationship & stakeholder management

  • Develop and maintain excellent relationships with major Arts and Creative Industries partners and stakeholders in the UK, to ensure effective, integrated and joined-up delivery of agreed business objectives.
  • Represent the British Council externally and internally, including attending HMG meetings and events with overseas Embassy staff.
  • Proactively identify a pipeline of future influencers in the Arts sector to nurture relationships with, with particular emphasis on developing links with individuals and organisations that represent the diversity of the UK and its creative sector.


Leadership & management

  • Plan and prioritise own work activities to ensure effective delivery of diverse responsibilities and deliverables over a quarterly to annual time horizon
  • Determine work plans and coordinate input from others (who may be outside the direct management line) to meet specific objectives


Commercial & financial management

  • Using agreed corporate systems and processes, plan and manage the core budget for their area of activity, and for any special initiatives or change projects for which they are responsible
  • Conduct monthly and year-end reporting on income and expenditure, profitability and risk, and actively apply learning from this process to improve financial planning, management and performance within their area


Service improvement

  • Identify and make recommendations to more senior managers for improvements to ways of working that enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the corporate functional discipline, as well as the operational effectiveness of their internal stakeholders.


Requirements of the role:

  • Partnership and relationship management experience: Experience of working in complex environments and managing senior stakeholders with discretion and tact.  
  • International cultural exchange experience: Experience of working in an international context with organisations and individuals.
  • Experience and knowledge of Arts and Creative industries: Strong understanding of the arts or creative industries sectors and themes relating them.
    Closing Date: Applications will close at 23:59 on 14th December 2022 UK Time. 

    Interviews will be held in January. 
    You must have the legal right to work in the UK at the time of application




A connected and trusted UK in a more connected and trusted world.


Equality , Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement


The British Council is committed to policies and practices of equality, diversity and inclusion across everything we do. We support all staff to make sure their behaviour is consistent with this commitment.  We want to address under representation and encourage applicants from under-represented groups, in particular, but not exclusively, on grounds of ethnicity and disability.  All disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria are guaranteed an interview and we have Disability Confident Employer Status. We welcome discussions about specific requirements or adjustments to enable participation and engagement in our work and activities.


The British Council is committed to safeguarding children, young people and adults who we work with.


We believe that all children and adults everywhere in the world deserve to live in safe environments and have the right to be protected from all forms of abuse, maltreatment and exploitation as set out in article 19, UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) 1989.


Appointment to positions where there is direct involvement with vulnerable groups will be dependent on thorough checks being completed; these will include qualification checks, reference checks, identity & criminal record checks in line with legal requirements and with the British Council’s Safeguarding policies for Adults and Children.


If you have any problems with your application please email askhr@britishcouncil.org


Please note: Applications to this role can only be considered when made through the Apply section of our careers website. Our ‘ASK HR’ email is only to be used in case of a technical issue encountered when applying through the careers website. Emails with supporting statements and CV/Resumes sent to this email address will not be reviewed and will be deleted.