Research at Tate

Tate’s reputation as a world-class museum is built in part on its commitment to generating innovative, high-quality research and to finding new ways of sharing its expertise with specialist and non-specialist audiences. From organising ground-breaking exhibitions to developing scholarly online publications, Tate occupies a distinctive position within the academic landscape in the UK and internationally, and is transforming the way research is conducted, presented and disseminated.

Henri Matisse The Snail Research 2014

Henri Matisse
The Snail 1953

© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2002

Research at Tate extends across a multitude of fields including art history, collection care, learning, museology and public policy. Undertaken by specialists and scholars working inside and outside of the museum and using a range of methodologies – from study-based to practice-based, from the quantifiable to the experimental – research at Tate serves the needs of different practitioners and varied audiences in myriad ways. It also helps address practical and often pressing problems faced by staff, whether in ascertaining key facts about an artwork, deciding how best to document and preserve new artistic practices, or gathering evidence about how people learn within galleries.

Collaborative research

Collaboration is fundamental to Tate’s research philosophy and is exemplified by the Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme, which provides opportunities for doctoral students to contribute their research to Tate’s programmes and projects and gain professional experience working in the museum. Similarly, Tate’s research centres encourage Tate staff to work collaboratively across departments and with external partners, while the many research projects that have been launched since 2007 have been shaped in different ways by the academics, curators, conservators, independent researchers and artists who have contributed to them.

Research at Tate is constantly evolving in response to changes in academic disciplines, artistic and museum practices, institutional priorities and funding patterns. In this environment collaboration is becoming more and more valuable, and Tate welcomes research proposals from external colleagues nationally and internationally.

Research publications

Maximising the opportunities provided by digital technology, Tate has pioneered the development of online research publications that are free and accessible to anyone in the world. From Tate Papers, Tate’s biannual peer-reviewed journal, to scholarly projects such as The Camden Town Group in Context and the programme of publishing summaries about individual artworks, research at Tate has a significant digital presence and aims to stimulate new modes of engagement with the museum’s collection and varied programmes.

Tate Research Department

Central to realising Tate’s research ambitions is the Research Department, which works with all Tate divisions and galleries to create a vibrant and rigorous research infrastructure and programme of pioneering research. Established in 2007, the department aims to lead and support research across the organisation as a trusted partner to the different parts of Tate. It arranges research events, projects and exchanges, and hosts Research Fellows and doctoral students. In line with Tate’s ambition to be more entrepreneurial and sustainable, the department also raises funds to support research. Over the last six years Tate has received over £3.6 million in research funding and has played a role in more than thirty externally-funded projects, either as the lead or collaborating partner.

If you would like to contact the Research Department, please email research@tate.org.uk. For current news of research at Tate on Twitter, follow @TateResearch.

Nigel Llewellyn
Head of Research
December 2013