British Art Network

The British Art Network is a Subject Specialist Network bringing together professionals working on British art including curators, researchers and academics, reflecting the combined strength of the UK’s public collections and curatorial expertise in this field

a group of people sit at a desk and look down at some pieces of paper

The British Art Network is entering a new and exciting phase of development, which will see the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art working in close partnership with Tate in order to expand the Network and develop its full potential. This partnership will allow us to build on the success of the network to date, and to continue developing an exciting programme of lectures, seminars, conferences and development opportunities for early career curators and subgroup support.

We have also secured continued support from Arts Council England’s Subject Specialist Network Fund and are heartened by this recognition of the value and impact of the network. Please see below opportunities to apply for funding from the British Art Network.

We are currently looking for applications relating to three strands of activity which will take place in this new phase of the network:

  • A dedicated network group for early career curators

The British Art Network has funding to award up to fifteen early career curators with travel and accommodation bursaries of up to £1000 each to support their attendance at British Art Network events, and to enable them to undertake research visits, mentoring and continuing professional development workshops for a one year period.

  • British Art Network sub-groups explore specific areas and aspects of British art and are led by regional network members across the UK

The British Art Network has funding to award 6-10 UK based organisations £600-£2,000 each to establish or continue to run established network sub groups. These could be devoted to knowledge exchange sessions and visits to collections and exhibitions of interest.

  • Three seminar series (each comprising four events) organised by regional network members across the UK

The British Art Network is launching a new series of seminars with the aim of bringing together professionals who seek to build and share knowledge and bring collections to life with fresh insight and compelling new contexts. We want to encourage curators and academics to work together to open up the histories of British art in compelling and accessible ways. You can apply for funding for one of the three seminar series. The first will take place in autumn 2019, and two in spring 2020.

For further information on the activities and how to apply, please contact Freya Stannard, Manager, National Partnerships (

The deadline for all applications is 6 May 2019
An announcement of the awardees will be made 28 May 2019

The aim of the British Art Network is to contribute to the sharing of expertise, research and ideas across museums, galleries and academic institutions in the UK. This is supported through a variety of networking opportunities both on and offline. Membership to the network is always open and free, and it includes the following activity:

  • An online register of expertise in British art
  • An electronic newsletter
  • Seminars each year hosted by Tate, the Paul Mellon Centre or partner organisations on themes relating to British Art
  • A dedicated network group for Early Career Curators specialising in British art
  • Network sub groups that explore specific areas of British art and are led by regional network members across the UK

The network spans all aspects of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day including painting, sculpture, architecture, installations, graphic art, performance, photography, film etc. Sub group and seminar themes can be drawn from current research activities, scholarly interests and future exhibition projects across the network and are driven by their relevance to network members and their organisations. Some events offer opportunities to showcase developmental projects from around the network while others address topics of broader public interest. By joining up curatorial and collection research across a wide range of visual arts organisations and academic institutions across the UK, the network fosters an environment where knowledge, skills and ideas, as well as programmes and collections, can be shared.

Past events

Audio recordings of past seminars are available upon request.
Please email stating which event recording you are interested in.
Recordings of seminars up to October 2016 are available via the link above.


British Art Network Sub Groups focus on specific topics of British art. The programmes of activity are led and hosted by network members. The Sub Group initiative is designed to enable British Art Network members, who work within specialist subject areas, to come together and continue conversations and collaborations beyond one-day network events. Membership to the Sub Groups is open to British Art Network members, who have a professional research interest or specialism in the group subject area.

Gwen John, ‘Self-Portrait’ 1902
Gwen John
Self-Portrait 1902

The British Women Artists, 1750–1950 Sub Group is led by the University of York and will focus on women’s artistic productivity in a variety of mediums. It has been established because, during the last two decades, a number of feminist scholars and curators have stressed and deplored the neglect of and sought to make more visible the work of British women artists of this period, but there is still a relative lack of knowledge about these women compared to their male counterparts which forms a barrier to the display of these women’s works. The Sub Group is founded on the belief that what is needed in order to understand the integral roles of these women in artistic developments is sustained knowledge exchange between University-based scholars and museum/gallery based curators/researchers.

Further information

Sir James Thornhill, ‘A Ceiling and Wall Decoration’ c.1715–25
Sir James Thornhill
A Ceiling and Wall Decoration c.1715–25

The British Mural Painting 1600–1750 Sub Group is led by Historic Royal Palaces and focusses on the work of British mural painters, and continental artists working in Britain, employed to decorate the palaces and country houses of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This subject remains poorly documented and misunderstood and the grand baroque schemes of artists such as Verrio, Laguerre, Chéron, Lanscroon, Thornhill and Kent have been neglected and even covered up, replaced by more fashionable interior decoration, or destroyed completely. The immovable nature of those mural schemes that survive has also meant that researchers working in this field have been inevitably tied to particular locations, divorced from a wider pool of academic collaboration. The Sub Group is led by Brett Dolman for Historic Royal Palaces, Dr Lydia Hamlett at the University of Cambridge and Dr Richard Johns at the University of York.

Further details are available on our website.

Contact information

  • For further details, and news about future events, please visit or contact Brett Dolman, Curator (Collections) Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace, Apt 25, Surrey KT8 9AU

James Havard Thomas, ‘Lycidas’ 1902–8
James Havard Thomas
Lycidas 1902–8

The Sculpture in Britain Sub Group is led by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, for those with a professional or specialist interest in British sculpture c.1850-c.1930. Spanning the Victorian ‘Age of Empire’ until post World War I, the group will explore different schools of thought and technique from neo-classicism to the New Sculpture movement. A wealth of sculpture from this prolific era now exists in British collections but receives little of the attention it deserves.

With increasingly few sculpture specialists in museums, the need to exchange expert knowledge and research is ever greater. As well as outlining the historical importance and value of such collections, the group aims to address some of the practical issues and challenges of working with them. It is an opportunity to share current projects, ideas and concerns, as well as gaining a window into sculpture collections from across the UK.

Contact Information

  • For further information and to enquire about joining the Sub Group, please email Dr. Anne Pritchard, Senior Curator, Historic Art, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, at
  • Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd – National Museum Cardiff, Cathays Park, Cardiff, CF10 3NP
Samuel Jackson Avon Gorge at Sunset c. 1825

Samuel Jackson
Avon Gorge at Sunset c. 1825
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, K5051

This Sub Group is dedicated to British landscape art – with a particular emphasis on the period 1800–1850. The group’s activities’ will reconsider the history of landscape art in Britain in the context of 19th century scientific discoveries, the rise of photography and reshaping of aesthetic ideas. Beyond Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and JMW Turner only relatively few and selected images by the artists who shaped the cultural scene outside London between 1800 and 1850 found their way into national and metropolitan collections and therefore into the art historical canon of British landscape. The Sub Group will investigate landscape from a regional perspective using examples in Bristol and Ipswich, but equally from other schools or groups of artists around the country.

We hope to attract interest from curators responsible for similar collections and specialists seeking innovative approaches to the study 19th century landscape. We would like to raise questions and develop activities that will be transferable to the study of British landscape art in general.

The first event took place on 24 July 2017 at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery dedicated to the relationship of early 19th century geology and landscape art in Britain.

The Landscape Sub Group is led by Jenny Gaschke at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery in collaboration with Emma Roodhouse, Colchester & Ipswich Museums.

Contact Information

  • For further information and to enquire about joining the Sub Group, please contact Jenny Gaschke, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) from Grand Canal and Giudecca Sketchbook

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
from Grand Canal and Giudecca Sketchbook (D32117–D32137; D32178; D41533-D41534; complete) Venice: The Grand Canal from the Traghetto di San Felise, with Ca'Corner della Regina and Ca'Pesaro on the Left 1840
Graphite and watercolour on paper
support: 222 x 324 mm
on paper, unique
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

The focus for this network is the study of British drawings, defined in the broadest terms of medium and chronology. It aims to stimulate discussion, to foster productive collaborations between curators, academics, researchers and practitioners and to capitalise on new interest in what is proving to be a growing area of research and scholarship within UK museums, galleries and universities.

Plans are underway for a series of workshops, the first of which was held at Tate Britain on 21 June. This focussed on topographical drawings, exploring current strategies of research, interpretation, collecting and access. A further three workshops will be held in Birmingham, London and Manchester over autumn 2017 – Spring 2018.

Contact Information

  • The group is led by Amy Concannon, Tate Britain with Jessica Feather, Paul Mellon Centre and Victoria Osborne, Birmingham Museums Trust
Lubaina Himid Naming the Money 2004

Lubaina Himid
Naming the Money 2004
Installation view of Navigation Charts, Spike Island, Bristol 2017
Courtesy of the artist, Hollybush Gardens, and National Museums, Liverpool
Photo: Stuart Whipps

The University of Bristol and Spike Island (Bristol) in conjunction with Modern Art Oxford and Nottingham Contemporary, have established a British Art sub-group to focus on the area of Black British Art since 1945. The group responds to, and supports, networking and audience engagement around a series of recent and ongoing exhibitions that explored key figures and moments in the development of ‘black art’ in Britain. These include the series of exhibitions that took place in early 2017 across Spike Island and Modern Art Oxford to explore the practice of Lubaina Himid and a wider ranging exhibition on the Black Arts Movement of the 1980s that began at Nottingham Contemporary before moving on to the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

The Black British Art network organised the first one day networking event at Tate Britain in September 2017 in order to discuss the relationship between exhibitions, collections, and audiences in the context of ‘black art’ in Britain. A second event will follow in Spring 2018 in Bristol.

Contact Information

  • The group is led by Dr Dorothy Price (University of Bristol) and Helen Legg (Director, Tate Liverpool). If you are interested in joining the group please contact Dr Elizabeth Robles (University of Bristol)
Catherine Street Hidden Physical 2015

Catherine Street
Hidden Physical 2015
HD video, 28 min 24 sec. Featured as part of the installation Muscle Theory

There is a rich history of modern and contemporary art in Scotland, yet there are many stories that remain still to be researched and told, with various artistic, curatorial and collective projects and practices at risk of being overlooked by established critical and historical frameworks. The Contemporary Art in Scotland Sub Group aims both to unite and initiate these new histories of contemporary practice. Our primary objective is to provide a structure for research-driven collaboration and exchange between academics, artists and curators. In particular, we seek to draw links between the focused historical material being generated by curators and researchers in relation to marginalised, alternative and oppositional artworks, broader histories of contemporary art production, and current artistic practices.

The first meeting in June 2017 at Hospitalfield, Arbroath, was structured around the theme of identity and transnationalism. The next meeting at Fruitmarket on Thursday 7 December 2017 will address the issues and challenges attached to institutions and infrastructures in Scotland.

Contact Information

  • The Sub Group is led by Dr Sam Rose, Dr Stephanie O’Rourke and Dr Catherine Spencer from University of St Andrews. If you have a specialist interest in Contemporary Art in Scotland and would like to enquire about joining the Sub Group, please contact Dr Sam Rose, Lecturer, University of St Andrews

Our newsletters

The British Art Network circulates a newsletter three times a year, to keep members informed of upcoming events and opportunities relating to British art. The newsletter covers aspects of network activity alongside relevant external exhibitions and events, opportunities and scholarly articles.

Register of expertise

The register of expertise is a database of professionals engaged with British art. The register is designed to enable the exchange of knowledge and expertise, and facilitate contact between those with common interests or areas of research.

British Art Network Register of Expertise [PDF 1.47Mb]


Please let us know if you are interested in becoming a member of the British Art Network or in joining the Register of Expertise. Interest can be registered by emailing

The British Art Network is supported by the Paul Mellon Centre and public funding provided by the National Lottery through Arts Council England​

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