About UK/Australia Season

The UK/Australia Season is a major new cultural exchange between Australia and the United Kingdom (UK) celebrating the diverse and innovative artist communities and cultural sectors of each nation. The Season is a joint initiative by the British Council and the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The artistic programme ranges across theatre, film, visual arts, dance, design, creative technology, architecture, music, literature, museums, broadcast, public engagement, and features numerous exciting cross-arts commissions. There will be a number of world, UK and Australian premieres. The nationwide programme will span city, regional and rural areas across Australia and the UK.

Who are we now?

The theme, ‘Who Are We Now?’ will reflect on our history, explore our current relationship, and imagine our future together; providing a chance to deepen relationships in business, higher education and government.

The programme will be a celebration of the diversity of cultures and languages in both countries. It will emphasise Australia’s First Nations voices, enable cultural exchange with Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, and celebrate the diverse society that has emerged in both Australia and the UK through migration.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We build connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language. In 2019-2020 we reached over 75 million people directly and 758 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive a 14.5 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.


About the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade works closely with a broad range of partners to advance Australia’s security and prosperity globally. Relationships are at the heart of our work. Through initiatives like the UK/Australia Season, we work with partners to showcase Australia as an innovative, creative, diverse and tolerant nation, which assists with strengthening Australia’s influence, reputation, reach and relationships overseas.


Season Directors

Michael Napthali

Season Director

Michael has over 20 years’ experience of working across the arts, and has dedicated himself to supporting, nurturing and advancing the careers, rights and aspirations of artists and the creative industries in Australia and internationally. Michael has held roles as an intellectual property lawyer working with a major Australian broadcaster before working with the Australian Government as a policy adviser to Australian arts sector.

He has also served as an artist and label manager at Sony Music Entertainment, and was a judge and the manager of the winning band for Pop Stars, Australia’s first music reality TV series. As the Director of the Australia in the UK programme for the UK/Australia Season 2021-22, Michael leads the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s programming team to deliver this major collaboration with the British Council.

Helen Salmon

Season Director and Director, British Council Australia

Helen has a 30-year career in theatre, festivals and public art. She holds a Master of Performance Studies and is a Fellow of the RSA. She has served on the Board of Directors of Playwriting Australia, Monkey Baa at ARA Darling Quarter Theatre, and the Council of the International Theatre Institute’s British Centre. Prior to British Council Helen was a producer and consultant to Australian cultural organisations, ranging from Sydney Festival to the National Association of Visual Arts. She previously worked for 15 years in London theatre, most recently at the Royal Court.

As Director of the British Council in Australia, Helen leads a strategic direction to deepen understanding and connections through culture and programmed the UK/ Australia Season for British Council, a major collaboration with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.