63d61d28cda49210VgnVCM200000e66411acRCRDapproved/thenational/Articles/Migration/2008-Q2Attractions in the UK seen as means of dialogue53d61d28cda49210VgnVCM200000e66411ac____Attractions in the UK seen as means of dialogue<p>When people think of the United Kingdom, places such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and Windsor Castle often spring to mind.
Then there are events like the Last Night of the Proms, Trooping the Colour and the opening of the Houses of Parliament that seem to capture the spirit of the nation.
But according to Paul Sellers, the UAE director of the British Council, there is much more to the UK than old-style attractions and time-honoured fixtures on the nation's calendar.</p>
<p>Mr Sellers hopes to show people here that in terms of culture, the UK is as cutting edge as anywhere on earth.
"There's the whole gamut in the UK. There's your ballet, but there's also your innovative, modern, avant garde stuff," he said.
The council is particularly interested in events such as the Edinburgh Festival, the month-long arts extravaganza in Scotland's capital that showcases all sorts of edgy comedy and theatre performances.</p>
<p>"The Edinburgh Festival is an ideal opportunity for taking people over and forging these links," said Mr Sellers, who joined the British Council in 1990 and has worked in Cyprus, Italy, Greece, Mexico and Spain.
"We have a special relationship with the festival and identify acts we could put on the international stage."
In the past, promoting British arts overseas was mainly about putting on performances, but now it is a more interactive affair in keeping with the council's aim of "building partnerships" between countries.</p>
<p>"We try to identify things we can tour through the region, directors who can lend themselves to seminars and workshops," Mr Sellers said.
"It's not about bringing British culture over here and entertaining people. It's about creating dialogue in these key areas of culture."
Mr Sellers said he hoped that the British Council's activities would help to promote indigenous talent and "encourage the UAE's own creative industries".</p>
<p>"We want to try to foster links between areas of expertise in the UAE in areas such as music, the performing arts, fashion and publishing, and encourage and support the development of the indigenous industries because perhaps they aren't developed to the level they are in the UK," he said.
For example, the council sent an Emirati fashion designer to the UK to study alongside celebrated English menswear designer Sir Paul Smith. It also plans to pay for a publishing entrepreneur to visit the UK.</p>