The Archives & Access project takes the largest archive of British art in the world and makes it accessible to national and international online audiences, through an ambitious programme of digitisation, learning and participation. This is made possible through a £1.9 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund

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  • John Piper A selection of John Piper's sketchbooks 1939-1987 from Tate Archive

    John Piper
    A selection of John Piper’s sketchbooks 1939–87
    Mixed media
    TGA 20033 

    © The Estate of John Piper

  • Donald Rodney Third World Briefcase Tate Archive

    Donald Rodney
    Third World Briefcase from a page in a sketch/notebook
    Coloured felt-tip pen
    TGA 200321

    © The estate of Donald Rodney

  • Eileen Agar with her husband, Joseph Bard, 1930s Tate Archive

    Eileen Agar
    Eileen Agar with her husband, Joseph Bard 1930s
    Black and white photograph
    TGA Photgraphic Collection, Agar: 1.2.6 

    © Tate

  • A pile of handwritten letters

    Letters of Francis Bacon, TGA 863

    © The estate of Francis Bacon

  • Josef Herman Ystradgynlais, main street (Notes from a Welsh Diary) 1953

    Josef Herman
    Ystradgynlais, main street (Notes from a Welsh Diary) 1953
    Ink, wash, watercolour and pastel sketch
    190mm x 253mm
    TGA 835/47 

    © The estate of Josef Herman 

  • Archive digitisation in progress for Tate's Archives and Access project

    Photographing the Archives

    © Tate Photography, Lucy Dawkins and Joanna Fernandes

The Tate Archive contains a rich array of artists’ materials, including photographs, sketchbooks, diaries, letters and objects, documenting the lives and working processes of British born and émigré artists, from 1900 to the present from more than 800 archive collections. Tate has digitised its collection of around 70,000 artworks and through the Archives & Access project will digitise 52,000 items from a selection of artists’ archives with a regional flavour. Integrating these items with the online collection will allow people to search, browse and make links between archive items and collection works. In addition we are developing an interactive learning hub which will allow online users to group, tag, annotate and share their own collections of artworks and archive items, as well as accessing the new learning resources that we will produce through the project, including films, online slide shows and downloadable written materials.

Through an associated learning programme, new audiences will be able to engage with these materials and create their own multimedia resources to be published online. These have been enabled through an embedded outreach programme in partnership with cultural and social organisations across five areas of Britain: South Wales; Liverpool and Merseyside; Tyne and Wear; Margate and Greater London.

Finally, the Archives & Access project includes the creation of six new dedicated learning and public gallery spaces at Tate Britain, featuring a Digital Learning Studio, and the Open Archive, the first gallery at Tate dedicated to displaying library and archive items, as well as interactive digital versions of artists’ sketchbooks.

For the latest developments, please see Polly’s latest blog or contact her directly at polly.christie@tate.org.uk.

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund

Project Information

Project team: 
Jane Bramwell (Head of Library and Archive)
Polly Christie (Project Manager)
David Clarke (Head of Photography)
Sally Davies (Assistant Curator Digital Learning, Tate)
Lisa Girling (Senior Management Accountant)
Adrian Glew (Archivist)
Diane Hall (Database Architect)
Antoinette O’Loughlin (Head of Public Sector Fundraising)
Rebecca Sinker (Digital Learning Curator)
John Stack (Head of Tate Online)
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