New cultural attaché club sets sail

London’s Cultural Attaché Network (CAN) was launched in fine weather with its first field trip to the Royal Museums Greenwich.

Knowledgeable and entertaining experts gave the group of attachés guided tours of three landmarks of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, namely the stunningly refurbished Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory Greenwich and the Royal Maritime Museum, which included the exhibitions Turner and the Sea and Nelson, Navy and Nation.

Attachés gained an insight into the huge cultural, economic and social impact Britain’s maritime tradition has had on the history of the British nation.

They were also able to meet and discuss ideas with the museum curators and the visit sparked creative ideas of how to use these cultural assets in their own programmes.

Speaking after the visit, CAN coordinator Sioned Hughes of SRH Arts Management told Embassy the aim of the network would be to offer a varied programme of briefings and visits for cultural diplomats in the UK.

“They will be designed to familiarise cultural attachés with current policies, strategic landmarks and new developments within the UK arts sector and to help them make key contacts with arts organisations and cultural operators,” she said.

It is also hoped that future visits will go beyond London to other cultural hotspots in the UK.

CAN will build on the work of the Visiting Arts Cultural Attaché Programme but will have a broader scope which will go beyond the arts to include engagement with the creative industries.

The renewed programme will be run on a new model of governance, “by diplomats for diplomats,” said Hughes.

The next step will be to establish an advisory board made up of members of the diplomatic cultural community, using established regional networks, such as EUNIC and ACALASP.

The aim is to host up to five events per year led by the interests of the cultural attaché community and by establishing different partners for events. Events can include excursions as well as training seminars on a variety of topics.

If you would like to join the Cultural Attaché Network or are interested in acting on the CAN Advisory Board contact Sioned Hughes on

At the Cutty Sark

Standing on either side of the Prime Meridian