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17.04.2007  British Council: Im Gespräch mit Dr. Nigel Townson, dem Direktor des British Council

CCA: Can you tell us some Biographical points of your life?


T. N.: Before I came to Vienna, I was actually working in Armenia in the British Council there. I have worked in many places in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Africa. I have been working for the British council for over 20 years. I came to Austria because the work we are doing is really changing and the job is interesting. There is a big change in the way the British Council is working in Europe. People think of the British Council there is only traditional culture. Art, theatre, teaching English. We want to break down cultural barriers, barriers in ethnicity, barriers of race etc. Vienna was interesting because Vienna is the place we can find the right partners to work with other countries. It is geographically and historically close to the enlarging Europe.
What we try to do in Austria, we try to change the situation. We want to work in areas of common interest to build a safer and democratic Europe and on the other side to cut down barriers which make problems for an expanding Europe.



CCA: Do you have any interesting cooperation with organisations in Vienna?

T. N.:
We are in the process of change. It is a transitional year. We are not having much local activity this year. We are trying to build more partnerships. We already have a good partnership with ADA- Austrian development Agency and we are in Bosnia on a project there which is based on education, on building skills. We have cooperation with the Ministry of Education in art and with the Ministry of Science in research. We also try to put Austrians in contact with other countries in Eastern and Western Europe. We do very interesting projects to promote science and education and we doing that in ten countries. The idea is to build a network and take the winners of the competitions to the UK. We have a partnership we the Austrian Research Council. We are starting to get in contact with “KuturKontakt”. Today we have a meeting with Vienna office of the International Organisation of Migration- IOM because migration is a big issue in Austria; we already have a partnership with them in Armenia. The British Council is working there on a public awareness campaign. We try to stop there emigration and show that there is also a future in the country. We are just starting the partnerships- we are just building up.



CCA: What are the event- highlights in 2007?

T. N.:
With 1st April, we start a completely new way of working, and we will no longer have a public library. In the next 12 months, there are three important projects: the first is called “Beautiful Science”. It is coming up on the 21st April in the technical museum. We also have a competition we have called “The Fame Lab”. Three young scientists have three minutes to create a creative show for the audience. It supposed to be fun but it also serious because it increases the interest in science for young people. Another project starting in April is “Creative Collaborations”. It is based on the arts, what we are to do to make networks of Arts. It should be Art with a social message, not a political. “Living Together” is a project witch includes 17 countries Austria is one of those. We are together with government, NGO’s with who ever we can to try to build communication to all areas.



CCA: Do you have any concrete visions for your time in Vienna?


T. N.: I will stay for three years in Vienna. For that time I live in Vienna, I would like the people and organisations to have a completely different but positive picture of the British Council. The British Council as an important player in the new Europe, in the changing Europe. Moreover, I hope I will have three good years with my family in Vienna. (ems)
















British Council
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