Media Release: 1 August 2018


Graham Sheffield joins international cultural consultancy FEI as Associate Director

FEI, the UK based international cultural consultancy, today announced that Graham Sheffield, until recently global Director Arts at the British Council, will join the agency as an Associate Director to undertake consulting projects.

Graham led the British Council’s worldwide arts strategy and programme across its 116 country operation for 8 years through a period of major expansion including the launch of a fund to support Cultural Heritage around the world and major seasons of arts work such as Transform in Brazil to link the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games host countries. In 2016, Graham launched the British’s Council’s refreshed Arts strategy ‘Art Connects Us’.

Graham founded the South Bank Centre’s Meltdown Festival and at the Barbican co-created the now long-running international theatre programme (originally Barbican International Theatre Event – BITE), launched to replace the departing resident Royal Shakespeare Company. Graham spent three years consulting to the new Luminato Festival in Toronto and, in 2010, a brief period in Hong Kong as CEO of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority.

FEI provides strategic advice and project management to Cultural Venues, Festivals and Events worldwide. The company is currently advising the Government of Georgia on developing festivals and events on the Black Sea coast and Fáilte Ireland on the development of major events in Dublin. An FEI team supported the Cultural Olympiad of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Graham Sheffield said:
‘I am delighted to be joining Nick and the team at FEI as an Associate Director and look forward to undertaking consulting projects using my skills and experience in policy making, arts programming, venue management and international cultural relations. ’

Nick Dodds, FEI founder and Managing Director said:
‘We are excited by the prospect of working with Graham to develop policy and strategy for our UK and international clients. Graham has been at the forefront of cultural development in the UK for many years leading both venues, festivals and institutions. Graham joins an expanding group of consultants as we celebrate our tenth anniversary and his insight and experience will be invaluable.’


Notes for Editors;

  1. Graham Sheffield was global Director Arts for the British Council from 2011 until June 2018. He was responsible for leading the worldwide arts strategy and programme across the British Council’s 116 country operation. Under Graham’s leadership, the arts programme more than doubled in size and impact, attracting significant investment, sponsorship and partner funding. He launched a Cultural Skills programme, developed a programme in arts education, expanded the work within the Creative Industries sector, started a digital arts programme, refreshed and enlarged the Council’s internationally renowned Art Collection – a vital contributor to work overseas in cultural relations.

A recent development was to lead a £30m Cultural Protection Fund, on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to help protect important world heritage sites under threat.

From 1995-2010 Graham was Artistic Director of the Barbican Centre in London. Under his directorship, the Barbican developed into one of the most innovative, dynamic and respected arts centres, with an award-winning international programme across the arts spectrum.

Graham graduated in Music from Edinburgh University and worked as a Radio 3 producer at the BBC for 12 years on classical music, opera, features and documentaries. From there he moved to the Southbank Centre as Music Projects Director for 5 years, founding the world-renowned Meltdown Festival in 1993.  He was Chair of the Royal Philharmonic Society (2007-2010), and consulted to the new Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity in Toronto.  From 2004-2006 Graham was Chair of the International Society of Performing Arts and a council member of Arts Council England, London (2002 – 2008). In 2014 Graham took up a new role as Chair of the UK’s largest music charity, Help Musicians UK and joined the Board of Rambert.

He was awarded CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours’ list for services to the arts and was made Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2005. He is an honorary Doctor of Arts at City University, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Graham was honoured in January 2015 by ISPA with the International Citation of Merit for lifetime achievement in the arts.

  1. FEI provides both strategic and operational advice to arts, entertainment and conference venues, festivals and events as well as cultural and creative industries organisations and their funders. Specialisms include cultural strategy, programming, governance, feasibility studies, funding bids, operational reviews and business plans. FEI’s directors and associates have developed and managed some of the UK’s leading venues and festivals. More information on the company can be found at:

  1. Nick Dodds and James Waters set up FEI in 2008. Nick was Chief Executive of Brighton Dome and Festival Ltd and Administrative Director of Edinburgh International Festival.
  2. For more information or interviews contact; Kim Hart 07952 253042 or Nick Dodds 07790 454549.