What is the British Art Network?
The British Art Network (BAN) promotes curatorial research, practice and theory in the field of British art. Our members include curators, academics, artist-researchers, conservators, producers and programmers at all stages of their professional lives. All are actively engaged in caring for, developing and presenting British art, whether in museums, galleries, heritage settings or art spaces, in published form or in educational settings, across the UK and beyond.
BAN provides a place for sharing expertise, helps forge connections, and creates time and space for critical exchange and debate. Our activities are defined by our membership and reflect a broad range of expertise, experience and viewpoints. At the heart of everything we do there is a collective commitment to expanding definitions of British art, acknowledging complex historical truths and their present-day resonances, and communicating the continuing public value of British art collections and curatorial expertise around the UK.
Membership of BAN is always open and free. If you are interested in becoming a member, please email BritishArtNetwork@tate.org.uk.
Members receive a newsletter and regular updates on BAN’s activities and have priority access to the annual BAN conference and other events.
Members can apply for annual bursaries. These provide support for:
- Research groups
- Seminar series
- Emerging curators group
Emerging Curators Group
The British Art Network awards bursary funding to fifteen emerging curators each year. Now going into its third year, the Network will seek to connect the group with expertise in the field of British art through a variety of events and resources. The bursary funding will support attendance at workshops, as well as self-facilitated research and engagement with the wider British Art Network programme.
British Art Network research groups focus on specific areas of British art. The programmes of activity are led and hosted by network members. The research 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 research groups is open to all British Art Network members who have a professional research interest or specialism in the group subject area.
Full details on each research group are below, including contact information for the lead members, should you wish to enquire about joining a group.
The Black British Art research group brings together curators, artists, researchers and academics interested in critical race issues as they pertain to the histories, collection, production, consumption and display of art in Britain and its audiences.
Founded in 2017, its first phase focused on supporting networking and audience engagement around a series of exhibitions that explored key figures and moments in the development of Black art in Britain. This included consideration of the series of exhibitions that took place in early 2017 at Spike Island and Modern Art Oxford to explore the practices of Lubaina Himid and the wider BLK Art Group as archived and displayed in The Place is Here at Nottingham Contemporary and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA). The group also explored some of the issues around engaging audiences for Black art in Britain through a discussion of Tate Modern’s Soul of a Nation and the International Curators Forum exhibition of the Diaspora Pavilion: Venice to Wolverhampton.
Phase two of the research group will focus specifically on the theme of Confronting the Past for a Sustainable Future which will be explored in a variety of ways, including thinking through the most appropriate strategies for historic collections to confront their own uncomfortable economic origins (specifically the legacies of the slave economy) and/or historically racialised assumptions of display. It might mean finding new strategies for working with contemporary diaspora artists to address legacies of the slave economy and of Empire, or critically reviewing past exhibitions and what they may or may not have achieved, as a way of informing future exhibitions and displays.
The Black British Art research group is led by Dr Elizabeth Robles (Lecturer in Contemporary Art, University of Bristol), Dr Alice Correia (independent art historian) and Marlene Smith (artist and curator).
If you are interested in joining the research group please contact Dr Elizabeth Robles (University of Bristol), email@example.com.
Follow Black British Art @BBAresearch on Twitter.
The British Art in Historic Houses research group is a network of academics, curators, museum and heritage professionals. Its core purpose is to promote the research, display and interpretation of British Art in the context of historic house settings. Our interests are not defined by period of genre, and our activities are inclusive, collaborative and interdisciplinary. We aim to promote a phenomenological approach to studying British Art which emphasises experiential learning, materiality, and an appreciation of place. The sharing of expertise, experience, research and ideas is at the heart of our mission.
British Art in Historic Houses is not conceived as a group exclusively for people working in, or studying British art in, the context of historic houses. On the contrary, we hope that those who do not normally operate in this sphere will find value and interest in looking at artworks in a new light.
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Dr Peter Moore (Curator of Collections & Interiors, English Heritage), firstname.lastname@example.org.
The focus for this research group is the study of British drawings, defined in the broadest terms of medium and chronology. It aims to stimulate discussion and foster productive collaborations between curators, academics, researchers and practitioners in this field and to develop this growing area of research and scholarship within UK museums, galleries and universities.
Previous workshops have taken place at Tate Britain, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and the National Galleries of Scotland. These events focused on themes including sketchbooks, watercolours and the role of drawing in art education, exploring strategies of research, interpretation and access.
The group is led by Annette Wickham (Curator of Works on Paper, Royal Academy of Arts).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Annette Wickham, Annette.Wickham@royalacademy.org.uk.
The British Genre and Narrative Painting research group is led by Liverpool Hope University. The aim of the group is to bring together scholars to share expertise and research ideas on this neglected topic in order to build knowledge and increase opportunities to display nineteenth-century British narrative and genre painting for audiences in the UK and beyond.
The group explores topics such as:
- relationships between eighteenth-century practices and tradition and early nineteenth-century and Victorian painting
- the contested meanings of terms such as ‘genre’ and ‘narrative’ in the visual arts of the period
- the role of the Royal Academy in the production and display of genre and narrative painting
the ways in which genre and narrative painting related to contemporary ideas around sentimentality
the aesthetic and pictorial values of genre and narrative painting
responses to and receptions of genre and narrative painting (both in the given period and subsequently)
the work of neglected genre and narrative painters
The group is led by Dr Amelia Yeates (Senior Lecturer in Art History, Liverpool Hope University).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Dr Amelia Yeates (Senior Lecturer in Art History, Liverpool Hope University), email@example.com.
This research group is dedicated to British landscape art from the historical to the contemporary. The group’s activities for 2020–21 will cover three main areas:
- The climate crisis and the role of landscape art
- The relationship between art, nature and wellbeing
- An exploration of identity, power and authority through historical landscapes
There is a continued interest in the use of landscape collections and the group encourages discussion about topical issues, exhibitions, learning and recent research into this field. The group will investigate landscape from a diverse and regional perspective using examples from schools or groups of artists around the country.
The group hopes to attract interest from artists, academics, curators, learning and engagement specialists who seek innovative approaches to the study of historic and contemporary landscape art. Through seminars, workshops and collection visits, the group raises questions and develops activities that are transferable to the study of British landscape art in general and are connected to current issues.
The British Landscapes group is convened by Jenny Gaschke (Curator of Fine Art pre-1900, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery), Helen Record (Curatorial Assistant, Royal Academy) and Emma Roodhouse (Collections & Learning Curator (Art), Colchester & Ipswich Museums).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Emma Roodhouse, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Mural Painting research group is a group of academics, museum and heritage professionals with a research interest in the work of British mural painters, and continental artists working in Britain, employed to decorate the palaces and country houses of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. This subject remains poorly documented and misunderstood and the grand baroque schemes of artists such as Verrio, Laguerre and Thornhill have often been neglected, covered up or destroyed completely.
Since 2016, the group has organised visits to surviving mural locations, and hosted workshops to discuss the history, meaning, preservation and interpretation of murals, aiming to increase scholarly and popular awareness of this neglected genre in British art. The British Murals website acts as a research hub, publishing news of relevant seminars and conferences, and offering researchers a chance to ask questions and posit new ideas.
The research group is led by Brett Dolman (Curator (Collections), Historic Royal Palaces), Dr Lydia Hamlett (Academic Director of History of Art, Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge) and Dr Richard Johns (Lecturer in the History of Art and Director of the British Art Research School, University of York).
For further details and news about future events, please visit www.britishmurals.org or contact Brett Dolman, Curator (Collections) Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court Palace, Apt 25, Surrey KT8 9AU email@example.com.
New for 2020–21
This research group has been set up by Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London and responds to the comparative invisibility of British South-Asian artists. The impetus to establish this group was the result of anti-racism and decolonizing discussions between academics, artists and students in the College’s painting studios.
We aim to build a network that recognises the diversity of practice of British South-Asian visual artists, academics, and curators, and emanates from local and national art schools and museums. Inclusivity is at the core of this group. All events will be designed so that they are accessible, welcoming and safe spaces for all.
The group will facilitate a series of open discussions (online and in person) with British South-Asian visual artists exploring the role and presence of British and Asian identities within their practice. We aim for discussions to be intergenerational so that ideas of British Asian identity are explored across the work of 2nd and 3rd generation British Asian artists. This group embraces and celebrates the ‘artists voice’ and recognises the positionality of gender, class, faith and sexuality. We welcome differing narratives, challenging clichés and creating new dialogues.
This group is led by Raksha Patel (Lecturer, Camberwell College of Arts) with Daniel Sturgis (UAL Professor in Painting).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Raksha Patel, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The British Women Artists Research Group focuses on women’s artistic productivity from 1750 to 1950 in a variety of mediums. The group welcomes people of all genders and is inclusive and encouraging of research relating to trans women and non-binary artists. Over the last two decades, a number of feminist scholars and curators have stressed and deplored the neglect of the work of British women artists of this period, and sought to make it more visible, but there is still a relative lack of knowledge about these women compared to their male counterparts, forming a barrier to the display of their work. The group is founded on the belief that sustained knowledge exchange between university-based scholars and museum/gallery-based curators and researchers is needed in order to understand the integral roles of these women in artistic developments.
The group is co-led by Dr Katie Jane Tyreman Herrington (Non-Stipend Affiliated Postdoctoral Researcher, The University of York) and Dr Alice Strickland (Curator, The National Trust).
If you are interested in joining the group, please visit the University of York’s History of Art Portal or contact Dr Katie Jane Tyreman Herrington and Alice Strickland email@example.com.
Group Work: Contemporary Art and Feminism explores the legacies and histories of Group Work in art since the 1970s, with a focus on feminist practices. Questions under consideration include: what would a (feminist) art history look like if it refused to tell a history of individual artists? And how did the collectivity inherent in much feminist organising in the 1970s and 1980s feed into artistic practice? This project thinks through the legacies of consciousness-raising in art, as well as other political group work that intersect with feminist politics, including the peace movement, anti-racist and women of colour activism, and lesbian, gay and transgender activism. The emphasis will be on feminist-influenced art practices from the 1970s onwards, exploring UK feminist communities and their international connections.
This research group has held a series of events to consider the implications of approaching the art world from the point of view of the relationships, collaborations and networks that support artistic production, display and reception.
The research group is based at the Centre for Visual Culture, University of Cambridge and forms part of a wider Group Work research network, inaugurated through a series of events at the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2019, supported by the Centre for American Art. As a sub-group of the British Art Network, Group Work aims to further develop the research network beyond the academy and to provide focused events on issues in the collection and display of feminist-influenced art. While the sub-group is based at the Centre for Visual Culture, University of Cambridge, it is partnered with the Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths.
The group is led by Dr Catherine Grant (Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London), Dr Amy Tobin (Curator of Exhibitions, Events and Research, Kettle’s Yard, and Lecturer in the History of Art, University of Cambridge) and Dr Rachel Warriner (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art).
If you are interested in joining the group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information can be found on the Group Work blog.
New for 2020–21
This research group aims to identify, share and connect multiple strands of research on contemporary and historical Northern Irish art. Our goal is to develop the profile of Northern Irish art practice and scholarship in addition to creating opportunities for curators, artists and researchers.
A contested term in itself, Northern Irish Art is often found on the periphery of wider national discussions on Irish or British art. With Brexit, the centenary of the partition of Ireland, and continued debates around national identity, (de)colonisation and borders, there has never been a more important time to address the rich and complex subject of Northern Irish art.
Within this group, we will address, explore and trouble the ways in which work related to the North of Ireland has been collected, curated and interpreted, and identify gaps in existing knowledge. Largely, but incorrectly, viewed as a place of simplistic binaries, the research group aims to disrupt this notion of Northern Ireland by creating space for conversations around overlooked practices (for example, queer Northern Irish art; art by BAME artists; pre- and post- conflict practices) as well as political and Troubles related art.
Questions under consideration include:
- Nationally, and internationally, what key areas of research are currently being addressed in relation to Northern Irish art, and how can we broaden the discussion on modern Northern Irish art beyond a narrow focus on the Troubles?
- What is needed to establish an archival resource of historic exhibitions and actions that have been produced in relation to Northern Irish Art?
- How are curators and public institutions throughout the UK addressing complex issues of national identity, conflict, borders, partition and (de)colonisation in relation to the research, exhibition and interpretation of Northern Irish work?
The Northern Irish Art Research Group is co-lead by Anna Liesching (Curator of Art, National Museums NI) and Clare Gormley (Head of Programmes and Partnerships, Belfast Photo Festival).
If you are interested in joining the group, please email email@example.com.
Our research group explores the ways in which our understanding of post-war British painting is shaped by both the complex shift in aesthetic values since the 1950s and the many social and political shifts that marked this period, including the breakdown of colonialism, and changing attitudes to gender, sexuality and class. These issues are of first importance to securing the ongoing relevance of regional public collections and recent socio-political events, including Brexit and the Black Lives Matter protests, highlight the need to interrogate these complex, often exclusionary narratives within the history of post-war art in Britain.
Our regional galleries hold excellent collections post-war painting, which are ripe for further research. Focusing our attention on regional collections presents a deliberate challenge to the centre-periphery model that dominates the narrative of British art: where artistic production and reception is said to congregate only in certain well-established locations.
This research group aims to:
- Support new interpretations of regional collections that are sensitive to regional, local and socio-political particularity, across all of the home nations.
- Utilise our research and experience collectively to uncover concealed histories of race, gender and sexuality in a regional context- pertaining to post-war paintings, artists, collectors, and curators represented by/in our regional collections.
- Work collaboratively across the Higher Education and museums and galleries sectors, developing joint activities that allow us to share knowledge and expertise beyond our own disciplines.
The group is led by Sophie Hatchwell (Lecturer in History of Art, University of Birmingham), Hana Leaper (John Moores Painting Prize Senior Lecturer, Liverpool John Moores University) and Julie Brown (Collections Curator, New Art Gallery Walsall).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Sophie Hatchwell, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also follow our Post-War British Painting blog.
This research group, established by the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, provides a forum for the discussion and dissemination of knowledge related to Queer British Art. It nurtures relationships between academics, curators, educators and artists to support queer programming within institutions and to enhance understanding of the richness of queer British art history.
The 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act (1967) in 2017 saw an unprecedented level of visibility for LGBT+ and queer artists and themes in exhibitions, publications and other media. This revealed the significant number of curators and scholars working in this area and the public appetite for programming of this kind. This research group seeks to bring together the informal networks and conversations that developed that year between curators, scholars and artists to maintain this visibility and advocate for greater research and programming in this area.
The research group focuses on both historic and contemporary art, including notable artists whose work reflected or was influenced by their sexuality or gender identity, and the networks that developed between them. The group is committed to exploring how queerness intersects with other aspects of identity, and to addressing the underrepresentation of those too often marginalised within art, art history and the queer community, including people of colour, transgender and disabled people. We seek to explore these issues through collaboration and engagement with other British Art Network research groups and other partners.
The group lead is Charlotte Keenen McDonald (Lead Curator of Fine Art, National Museums Liverpool), with Dominic Bilton as deputy lead (Doctoral Researcher at the University of Leeds).
If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Charlotte Keenan McDonald, email@example.com.
Decolonising Victorian Art and Design through Museum Collections and Practice
New for 2020–21
This research group will bring together museums holding Pre-Raphaelite and Arts & Crafts collections with academics working in related fields to consider these objects’ global contexts, particularly in relation to ideologies of Orientalism and Empire.
By using Birmingham’s rich collections as a starting point, we aim to facilitate wider conversations about how Pre-Raphaelite and Arts & Crafts material might be displayed and interpreted for the 21st-century museum and its diverse audiences. We propose to create a decolonising toolkit for museum and higher education practitioners, which will be available online. Our group’s activity will also inform a reimagined version of the touring exhibition Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, and an accompanying international conference on the theme Pre-Raphaelites and the Global.
Our key research questions are:
- How can we rethink Pre-Raphaelite and Arts & Crafts objects through the lenses of anti-racism and decoloniality?
- How can contemporary museum practitioners interpret and engage audiences with these complex and difficult histories of art and design; what challenges and opportunities do they offer?
- How are contemporary BIPOC artists and designers engaging with these 19th-century objects?
For more information or to join the group, please email Race.Empire.PRB@gmail.com.
Follow us on Twitter @race_empire_prb.
New for 2020–21
Exploring how the state of being re-active is used as a theme in Black British performance art, not only as an act of agency and resistance but additionally as a creative catalyst in the form, process, intention and legacy of the works created.
The research group is led by Sabrina Henry (Assistant Curator, CCA Glasgow) and Ashanti Harris (Lecturer in Contemporary Performance, Royal Conservatoire Scotland).
For more information, or to join the group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New for 2020–21
Our arts organisations do not adequately represent the talent of artists from working class backgrounds due to a long history of discriminatory practices that have disproportionately favoured middle- and upper-class artists. The language around working-class identity is missing from our discussion of British art; many seem wary of its intangibility or the ability to ‘see’ it. How can we take the language used by artists in their work to lead discussions around working-class identity and pave the way for greater inclusivity?
The art of working-class artists speaks to all facets of modern life, not just that of class inequality. Through awareness-raising we will counter reductive interpretations of working-class identity, asking how do we create an environment which supports and nurtures talent first and foremost? We hope to see opportunities for participating artists grow from the network.
We will listen carefully to all who participate building their contributions into our future plans to ensure we are a strong force in tackling class inequality in British art.