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ADF 2017 Highlights

India, winners of the 'Country Award', International Fashion Showcase © British Council / photo by Ben Butterfield

© British Council / photo by Ben Butterfield

India, winners of the 'Country Award', International Fashion Showcase
Design Connections © British Council / photo by Lucia Sceranková

© British Council / photo by Lucia Sceranková

Design Connections
On the Line © British Council / photo by Agnese Sanvito

© British Council / photo by Agnese Sanvito

On the Line
Form + Motion at Cheongju International Craft Biennale © CHEONGJU CRAFT BIENNALE


Form + Motion at Cheongju International Craft Biennale
A Hall for Hull  © RIBA / photo by Thomas Arran

© RIBA / photo by Thomas Arran

A Hall for Hull
Alpa Depani, Winston Churchill Fellow 2017  © Alpa Depani

© Alpa Depani

Alpa Depani, Winston Churchill Fellow 2017

19 December 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we look back over some of the highlights of our work in Architecture, Design and Fashion this year.

International Fashion Showcase 2017
Somerset House, London - February 2017

The British Council, British Fashion Council and Mercedes-Benz collectively presented work by emerging fashion designers from 26 countries for the International Fashion Showcase 2017 when it returned to Somerset House for a second year in February. The exhibition was the sixth edition of the annual showcase and forms a key part of London Fashion Week’s public-facing programme, which celebrates the universal relevance of fashion in contemporary culture.

A series of installations in the West Wing at Somerset House explored the theme of Local/Global and how fashion is shaped by its surroundings - the rhythms of nature, climate, cultural memory, social change and historical shifts reflected in its form, techniques and materials. By considering fashion within their own landscapes, the countries taking part in IFS highlighted the similarities and differences of our complex and connected world.

Design Connections
London Design Festival - September 2017

Each year during London Design Festival (LDF) we invite key design industry figures from around the world to join us for our Design Connections programme. The delegation takes a unique curated tour of the festival, meeting leading UK designers, curators, design organisations as well as discovering new work and gaining new relationships.

In 2017 we welcomed visitors from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Indonesia, Kenya, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia and Thailand in an opportunity for international delegates and their UK counterparts to share knowledge, debate key issues in contemporary design and design curation globally and explore possible collaborations.

Crafting Futures
Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico

2017 saw the launch of Crafting Futures, a programme that supports the future of craft around the globe and strengthens economic, social and cultural development through learning and access. Crafting Futures’ projects support practices and people, through research, collaboration and education. 

Through international collaboration, Crafting Futures creates new networks and opportunities for shared learning between the UK and other countries around the globe. The programme supports research and education in craft, ensuring our projects are relevant and the quality of creative practice is preserved and continues to develop.  Crafting Futures offers designers and artisans access to knowledge and expertise, new markets and new audiences, ensuring the value of craft is appreciated more broadly and knowledge can continue to be shared within the sector. The programme is currently active in Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico, Myanmar and Malaysia.

The programme continues on from our work in craft across East Asia, which culminated with On the Line, a London Craft Week exhibition held at the Aram Gallery.


UK/Korea 2017–18
As part of UK/Korea 2017–18, a UK season in Korea to celebrate and showcase the UK’s innovation and excellence in the arts and creative industries, the British Council brought together Korean and British artists and practitioners to ask questions about the role of arts and culture in the city under the theme of Connected City. Through the exchange of ideas and practice, new commissions and collaborations and public interventions, audiences and local communities across Korea explored how they might reimagine their own city. ADF projects included: 

London Made, a film specially commissioned for the Seoul Biennale which peels back the layers of production behind the Barbican, a major cultural venue in the capital;

Project Seoul Apparel, a residency and exhibition project identifying the urgent issues facing the declining garment manufacturing businesses of the Chansingdong area of Seoul;

Form + Motion, the UK Pavilion at the 10th Cheongju International Craft Biennale, an exploration of motion and movement in contemporary craft practice. 

Hull UK City of Culture 2017
Hull was announced the winner of UK City of Culture 2017 in 2013. The award is given every four years to a city that demonstrates the belief in the transformational power of culture. The arts and cultural programme for the year has celebrated the unique character of the city, its people, history and geography.

ADF partnered with Hull 17 to deliver three landmark projects, all presenting international work: States of Play, in collaboration with the Crafts Council; A Hall for Hull, with the Royal Institute of British Architects; and the Tool Appreciation Society, by artist Linda Brothwell and in collaboration with Thirteen Ways and Hull Libraries.

Residencies and Fellowships
We work to provide a series of unique opportunities for UK-based design professionals, particularly to those who wish to develop their research and skills overseas. These range from small one-off funds and competitions, ongoing annual grant and residency programmes, to larger British Council development funds for artists and designers.

In 2017 we provided the following opportunities: Artists’ International Development Fund, Winston Churchill Fellowships, Helsinki Design Residency, Rogelio Salmona Fellowship, Julio Vilamajó Residency, Art Connects Us, Aarhus Residency 2017, Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft Residency and opportunities for international Biennales and Festivals to present work by UK designers and architects. 

To keep up to date with our upcoming residencies see our opportunities page.