The British Council in Russia has been forced to close in the wake of a diplomatic row between the two countries. It coincides with the news that 23 British diplomats have been asked to leave Russia in tit-for-tat expulsions following the attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK. The pair, who became ill in Salisbury on 4 March, were poisoned with Russian-made nerve agent Novichok. The Russian government denies involvement.
A statement released by the British Council condemns the closure. “We are profoundly disappointed at this development,” it reads. “It is our view that when political or diplomatic relations become difficult, cultural relations and educational opportunities are vital to maintain on-going dialogue between people and institutions.”
A number of events have been cancelled this week, including a talk by Manchester International Festival artistic director John McGrath. According to Artnet, long-term projects affected by the row include a competition to select a Russian artist to develop a memorial dedicated to William Shakespeare in Moscow.
The British Council statement continues, “We remain committed to the development of long-term people-to-people links with Russia as we do in over 100 other countries.”
- Alice Zoo documents the real day-to-day lives of performers in a travelling circus
- Jenny Schweitzer's latest short is an uplifting account of life in an American retirement home
- Next 2 Nothing is the how-to manual of tips and tricks for any aspiring filmmaker
- Haleigh Mun on finding her own illustrative style rather than trying to be a “cool artist”
- Genuine collaborations inform Swiss design studio Omnigroup's broad practice
- Filmmaker Duncan Cowles on how your own tone of voice can create the best audience reaction
- An egg beats Kylie Jenner to become the most liked Instagram photo... ever
- Mastercard reveals new nameless logo courtesy of Michael Bierut
- Sam Youkilis uses scale, form and colour to challenge the tropes of travel photography
- Betina Du Toit's naturally-beautiful images are “stripped back from the non-essential”
- Giacomo Gambineri on shifting his creative career from graphic designer to illustrator
- Hiroki Nishiyama draws on traditional graphic design techniques in his illustration practice