Research is undertaken across Tate in a range of departments. The Research Department leads and manages some of these on behalf of the museum, and publishes some of the results online. Below are listed some of the main activities in which the Research Department was involved in 2013. 

New initiatives

Art Writers in Britain

Tate Research organised a year-long series of workshops looking at the writings and legacies of key British art writers. The workshop topics were Lawrence Alloway, Kenneth Clark, J.P. Hodin and Edith Hoffmann, Charles Harrison, Adrian Stokes, David Sylvester, ‘Art Writing in Britain 1910–30’, ‘Art Writing under the Sign of Conceptualism, and ‘Where is Art Criticism?’. 114 different individuals were involved in these sessions, and the series led to several articles (see below).

Cataloguing of pre-1800 works in Tate’s collection

A programme of cataloguing early works in Tate’ collection was begun and nineteen entries were published.

Head of Onslow Ford's The Singer
Edward Onslow Ford
The Singer exhibited 1889 (detail)

In Focus projects

An innovative series of in-depth studies of individual artworks, each c.16,000 words in length, was launched, and two projects were published on Edward Onslow Ford’s  The Singer exhibited 1889 and Applause 1893, and Henri Gaudier-Brzeska’s Wrestlers 1914, cast 1965. In October 2013 Christie’s supported a new programme of collection research that will see the publication of twenty In Focus projects and 500 new summary texts, ranging across the collection, over the coming three years.

Mind the Gap: Collaborative Working Practices

Tate was represented in this initiative, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to understand the fundamental inhibitors of collaborative research within the heritage science community.

Modern Oils Research Consortium

Late in 2013 representatives from Tate, the Getty Conservation Institute, the Courtauld Institute of Art, The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and The Hamilton Kerr Institute came together to discuss forming The Modern Oils Research Consortium. The aim of this consortium is to provide a focus for developing research and exchanging information related to the technical study and conservation of modern oil paints.

Current research projects

Tania Bruguera, 'Tatlin's Whisper #5' 2008
Tania Bruguera
Tatlin's Whisper #5 2008
Two uniformed mounted policemen, crowd control police technique, two horses (one white, one black or dark brown), audience
© Tania Bruguera

Collecting the Performative

‘Collecting the Performative’ is a research network that examined emerging models for the conservation and documentation of artists’ performances, drawing upon the practices of dance, theatre and activism in order to identify parallels in the concept of a work and notions of authorship, authenticity, autonomy, documentation, memory, continuity and ‘liveness’. Bringing together Dutch and British academic scholars and museum professionals, this two-year project aimed to provide insights into the conceptual and practical challenges related to collecting and conserving artists’ performances. In 2013 the network held two group meetings in Amsterdam and London with keynote talks by the artists Tania Bruguera and Tim Etchells.
April 2012 – January 2014

The Experience and Value of Live Art: What Can Making and Editing Film Tell Us

Launched in October 2013, this nine-month project addresses the question of what young people ‘get’ from live art. Funded through the AHRC’s Cultural Value scheme, the project is trialling a collaborative methodological approach to research and the representation of experience. It combines ethnographic and participatory methods with the use of film and social media in order to examine how participants articulate and thereby retain control of their experiences. In November 2013 we held week-long dance workshops, attended by on average fourteen young people, which will form the basis of the research.
October 2013 – June 2014

Henry Moore OM, CH, 'Locking Piece' 1963-4
Henry Moore OM, CH
Locking Piece 1963–4
© The Henry Moore Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity

Supported by The Henry Moore Foundation, this project aims to re-examine Tate’s substantial holdings of the sculptures of Moore through a programme of new photography, cataloguing and the commissioning of scholarly essays. In 2013 plans for the website were completed and the programme of writing entries carried forward. The website is due to be launched in autumn 2014.
September 2010 – April 2014

PERICLES: Digital Preservation

PERICLES – Promoting and Enhancing Reuse of Information throughout the Content Lifecycle taking account of Evolving Semantics – is a four-year project funded by the European Union under its Seventh Framework Programme (ICT Call 9). It aims to address the challenge of ensuring that digital content remains accessible in an environment that is subject to continual change. In 2013 the project partners, using scenario-based design, established a framework to understand user requirements regarding digital preservation workflows. Tate constructed scenarios based on software-based art, digital video art ingest, born-digital archives and media production. 
February 2013  – January 2017

Presto4U: Audiovisual Preservation

Supported by a core group of fourteen PrestoCentre member organisations, the project aims to identify useful results of research into digital audiovisual preservation and to raise awareness and improve the adoption of these both by technology and service providers as well as media owners. In 2013 Tate established the Video Art, Art Museums and Galleries expert group to facilitate engagement on the project activity with a broad audience.
January 2013 – January 2015

Research secondments

Launched in 2012, the Research Secondment Scheme helps address the need to develop a broader research culture within the Collection Care Division and build capacity for research that might in the future secure research grant income. Four secondments were completed in 2013–14 on Turner’s varnishing days, the virtualisation of digital artwork, emergency disaster planning and virtual training, and on Henry Moore and cast metal provenance.

J.M.W. Turner: Drawings, Watercolours and Sketchbooks

The multi-year project funded by Tate will see the cataloguing of 37,500 works on paper by Turner. In 2013 a further 2,000 works were catalogued.

Online research publications 


80 summaries on new acquisitions and works on display were edited and published on the Art and Artists section of Tate’s website. 

Catalogue entries

19 catalogue entries, written by Martin Myrone (Lead Curator, Pre-1800 British Art), were edited and published on the Art and Artists section of Tate’s website.

In Focus projects

Jason Edwards (ed.), The Singer exhibited 1889 and Applause 1893 by Edward Onslow Ford

Sarah V. Turner (ed.),Wrestlers 1914, cast 1965, by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska


Tate Papers, no.19, Spring 2013:

Wolfgang Brückle, ‘Face-Off in Weimar Culture: The Physiognomic Paradigm, Competing Portrait Anthologies, and August Sander’s Face of Our Time

Rose-Carol Washton Long, ‘August Sander’s Portraits of Persecuted Jews

Dorothy Rowe, ‘August Sander and the Artists: Locating the Subjects of New Objectivity’

Katharine Tubb, ‘Face to Face? An Ethical Encounter with Germany’s Dark Strangers in August Sander’s People of the Twentieth Century

Christian Weikop, ‘August Sander’s “Der Bauer” and the Pervasiveness of the Peasant Tradition’

Anna Cutler, ‘Who Will Sing the Song? Learning Beyond Institutional Critique’

Rosemarie Dias, ‘Memory and the Aesthetics of Military Experience: Viewing the Landscape of the Anglo-Mysore Wars

Chad Elias and Akram Zaatari, ‘The Libidinal Archive: A Conversation with Akram Zaatari

Andrew Stephenson, ‘”New Ways of Modern Bohemia”: Edward Burra in London, Paris, Marseilles and Harlem

John Stack, ‘Tate Digital Strategy 2013–15: Digital as a Dimension of Everything

Tate Papers, no.20, Autumn 2013:

Martin Hammer, ‘Kenneth Clark and the Death of Painting

Kirsten Haywood, ‘Substance and Speech: Adrian Stokes and the Politics of Content and Form

Stephen Kite, ‘Building and the Graphic Arts: Adrian Stokes at the ICA

Paul Tucker, ‘”A Summing Up of All I Have Ever Thought”: Adrian Stokes’s “In Short” (1942) and his Other Writings of the Period

Emma Roberts, ‘Representation and Reputation: Barbara Hepworth’s Relationships with her American and British Dealers

Rachel Smith, ‘Figure and Landscape: Barbara Hepworth’s Phenomenology of Perception

Natasha Walker, Karen Hearn, Joyce H. Townsend, ‘Tate’s Painting of a Man in Tudor Costume: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait or a Nineteenth-Century Pastiche?

Project publishing

Art Writers in Britain was published with summaries of the workshops and a wide range of revised presentations and post-workshop reflections.

Mind the Gap a final report was released in January 2014 on the website of the National Archives.

Transforming Artist Books was extended with essays and a final report on this AHRC-funded project.

New doctoral awards

Hazel Atashroo, Creative Communities in Art and Design in the 1980s
Supervised by Professor Jonathan Harris, Universityof Southampton, and Lindsey Fryer, Head of Learning, Tate Liverpool.  

Helena Bonnett, Barbara Hepworth: Practice, Interpretation, Legacy
Supervised by Dr Claire Pajaczkowska, Senior Research Tutor, Royal College of Art, and Dr Chris Stephens, Curator (Modern British Art) & Head of Displays, Tate Britain.

Amy Concannon, The ‘Unnatural’ Landscape: Visualisation of the Urban Scene 1800–50
Supervised by Nicholas Alfrey, Associate Professor in Art History, and Steven Daniels, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Nottingham, and Dr David Blayney Brown, Curator (British Art 1790–1850), Tate.

James Finch, David Sylvester’s Art Writing in Context
Supervised by Professor Martin Hammer, University of Kent, and Dr Jennifer Mundy, Head of Collection Research, Tate.

Judith Lee, Modern British Oils: History, Formulation and Use
Supervised by Professor Aviva Burnstock, Head of the Department of Conservation and Technology, Courtauld Institute of Art, and Dr Bronwyn Ormsby, Senior Conservation Scientist, Tate.

Nicola Sim, Circuit: Investigating partnerships between visual arts and youth organisations
Supervised by Dr Emily Pringle, Head of Learning Practice, Research and Policy, Tate, and Professor Pat Thomson, School of Education, University of Nottingham.

See the full listing of all doctoral studentships at Tate.

Research events

AHRC Cultural Value Board meeting, 14 January 2013
Turner and Sublime launch event, 17 January 2013
Learning in Art and Science Museums symposium, 13 February 2013
Care for the Future Advisory Group meeting, 20 February 2013
Pericles event (2 days), 20–21 February 2013
Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) Seminar and Network Session, 6 March 2013
Tate Research Centre: British Romantic Art: Scholars Morning on Tate Britain’s Chronological Rehang, 22 March 2013
Barbara Hepworth Research Seminar: The State of the Field, 28 March 2013
Pericles meeting, 5 April 2013
Hidden Collections Workshop: Basic Design Curators’ Tour and project meeting, 25 April 2013
Presto4U: Screening the Future, 7–8 May 2013
Presto4U meeting, 9 May 2013
Art School Educated (ASE): Basic Design Scholars Morning, 17 May 2013
Barbara Hepworth Studio: St Ives Developmental Seminar, 20–21 May 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Adrian Stokes workshop, 24 May 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Kenneth Clark workshop, 31 May 2013
Art School Educated: Foundation Courses, 5 June 2013
Polish Post War Photography seminar, 6 June 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Conceptualist Art Writing workshop, 7 June 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Lawrence Alloway workshop, 21 June 2013
Transforming Tate Learning publication launch, July 2013
International Cultural Exchange conference: Internationalism and the Arts: Imagining the Cosmopolis at the Long Fin de Siècle, 5–6 September 2013
Collaborative Doctoral Award Networking Event, 9 September 2013
Mind the Gap project meeting, 12 September 2013
Asia Pacific seminar: Joan Kee, 27 September 2013
Iconoclasms book launch and network meeting, 2–4 October 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Charles Harrison workshop, 4 October 2013
Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scholars Morning and Induction, 7 October 2013
Asia-Pacific Symposium: Negotiating Histories: Traditions in Modern and Contemporary Asia-Pacific Art, 21 October 2013
Asia-Pacific Advisory Board meeting, 22 October 2013
Asia-Pacific Curatorial Workshop: Asia-Pacific and Korea Arts Management Service, Seminar, 23 October 2013
Dance workshop (The Experience and Value of Live Art: What Can Making and Editing Film Tell Us), 28 October – 1 November 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Emigré Art Writers workshop, 1 November 2013
Rothenstein Lecture 2013: Alex Potts, 7 November 2013
Mira Schendel Scholars Morning, 8 November 2013
Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) Workshop 1, 13 November 2013
Tate Research Centre: Learning Steering Committee meeting, 22 November 2013
Art Writers in Britain: David Sylvester workshop, 22 November 2013
Collecting the Performative: Tim Etchells Lecture, 25 November 2013
Collecting the Performative Workshop, 26 November 2013
Art Writers in Britain: Bloomsbury workshop, 13 December 2013


The online exhibition The Gallery of Lost Art, curated by Jennifer Mundy (Head of Collection Research) and developed in partnership between Tate, Channel 4 and Iso Design, won the following awards in 2013:

  • SXSW: Interactive Art Award
  • Best of Web: Digital Exhibition Prize
  • Museums and Heritage: Innovation Award
  • Design Week Awards: Interactive Design Award

Grants awarded

AHRC: ‘Collecting, Archiving, Sharing Performance and the Performative’, led by Professor Gabriella Giannachi (University of Exeter) with Jennifer Mundy (Head of Collection Research) and Catherine Wood (Curator, Performance and International Art), £278,874, 24 months, beginning autumn 2014.

AHRC: ‘Cultural Value Live Art’, led by Professor Patricia Thomson (University of Nottingham) with Emily Pringle (Head of Learning Practice, Research and Policy), £24,972 (total grant award £30,959), 9 months, beginning October 2013.

AHRC, Science and Heritage Programme: ‘Mind the Gap: Rigour and Relevance in Heritage Science Research’, value to Tate £2,815, 2 years, beginning February 2013.

Christie’s: support for collection research, £400,000, 36 months, beginning October 2013. 

European Union Research Funding: ‘PERICLES’, value to Tate £477,783.30, 48 months, beginning February 2013.

European Union Research Funding: ‘Presto4U’, value to Tate £48,974.15, 24 months, beginning January 2013.

Terra Foundation for American Art: ‘American Art at Tate’, £280,804, 36 months, awarded in 2013, beginning autumn 2014.

Read more about Research at Tate and follow @TateResearch on Twitter.