What is the 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. The Network contributes 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 online and offline.

The Network spans all aspects of British art from the sixteenth century to the present day including painting, sculpture, architecture, installation, graphic art, performance, photography and film.

Membership is always open and free.

The British Art Network is jointly led by Tate and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

What do we do?

Three people sit at a table, papers and pens in front of them, two turning to look at one who is speaking

The British Art Network supports multiple strands of activity, including:

  • Member-led sub-groups that focus on specific topics within British art
  • Workshops, seminars and conferences programmed by the BAN team and steering committee and by BAN members via bursary awards. Aiming to go beyond conventional academic formats to provide imaginative approaches to curatorial research, these series address a wide range of curatorial needs and interests. The 2019–20 Seminar Series bursaries were awarded to: Imperial Subjects: (Post)colonial conversations between South Asia and Wales (led by Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea); Art Science Nature (led by Colchester and Ipswich Museums); and Decolonising British Art – Decentring, Resituating and Reviewing Artworks and Collections (led by University of the Arts London).
  • A dedicated Emerging Curators Group, providing a supportive forum for the next generation of curators specialising in British art
  • Publication of a quarterly newsletter, comprising interviews with network members, articles from past and present bursary awardees, information about upcoming events and opportunities in the sector

Opportunities to get involved

Details of current opportunities are given below. Applications are now open for three bursary opportunities covering activity from October 2020 to June 2021 (deadline 14 September 2020). Full information and application packs can be found in each section below.

Follow Tate Research on Twitter for more updates, news and opportunities.

  • Are you involved in producing exhibitions or art research?
  • Does this work include a focus on British art?
  • Are you passionate about making positive changes to the way British art is collected, displayed and interpreted?
  • Do you feel you have a way to go to feel well-established in your career?
  • Would you benefit from a peer support network and professional development programme?

We don’t mind what your job title might be or where you’re doing this work. If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above, the British Art Network’s Emerging Curators Group (ECG) wants to hear from you!

We are running taster sessions on 13 and 17 August to give you a chance to hear from current members and the BAN team, while you plan your application – find out more and book your place here.

Download further information

Application Form

Application Monitoring Form

Employer’s Letter

Applications are due by 10.00 BST on Monday 14 September 2020.

We particularly welcome applications from art workers who are Black, Asian and minority ethnic, working class, have disabilities, or are in any other way under-represented in the curatorial and research landscape.

The British Art Network is committed to equity, justice, accessibility, anti-racism and LGBTQI+ rights, and we are currently taking vital time to reflect and hold conversations around Diversity and Inclusion goals for our work.

Lead a British Art Network sub-group to bring together colleagues around a specific aspect of British art research.

The British Art Network is offering seven bursaries of £2,700 each for members of the Network to lead existing or new Network sub-groups. Sub-groups should hold at least three events, with at least two of these being held online. Groups should also work towards a shareable output by June 2021.

In addition to your own suggestions, we welcome applications that relate to or address the following themes:

  • British Art, Ireland and the Devolved Nation
  • Decolonising British Art

The existing sub-groups Black British Art, British Women Artists and Queer British Art are confirmed to continue into this new funding period, taking the total number of sub-groups to ten.

Download further information

Application Form

Application Monitoring Form

Employer’s Letter

Applications are due by 10.00 BST on Monday 14 September 2020.

We particularly welcome applications from art workers who are Black, Asian and minority ethnic, working class, have disabilities, or are in any other way under-represented in the curatorial and research landscape.

The British Art Network is committed to equity, justice, accessibility, anti-racism and LGBTQI+ rights, and we are currently taking vital time to reflect and hold conversations around Diversity and Inclusion goals for our work.

Hold a two-day seminar for members of the British Art Network and beyond.

The British Art Network is offering two bursaries of £7,000 each for members of the Network to devise and deliver two-day seminars in late spring 2021. One day should be held online, while the other can be online or in person. The two days do not need to be consecutive.

The seminars will bring together professionals working with British art across the UK and at different stages in their career. We also welcome an interdisciplinary approach and audience where this is desired.

Download further information

Application Form

Application Monitoring Form

Employer’s Letter

Applications are due by 10.00 BST on Monday 14 September 2020.

We particularly welcome applications from art workers who are Black, Asian and minority ethnic, working class, have disabilities, or are in any other way under-represented in the curatorial and research landscape.

The British Art Network is committed to equity, justice, accessibility, anti-racism and LGBTQI+ rights, and we are currently taking vital time to reflect and hold conversations around Diversity and Inclusion goals for our work.

British Art Network membership is always open and free. If you are interested in becoming a member, please email BritishArtNetwork@tate.org.uk.

Members receive the British Art Network newsletter three times a year, including news on network activity and relevant external exhibitions and events, as well as opportunities and scholarly articles relating to British art.

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

If you are interested in being listed in the Register of Expertise, please email BritishArtNetwork@tate.org.uk.

British Art Network Register of Expertise [990 Kb]

Events

Emerging Curators Group

Brainstorming during Early Career Curators Group Introductory workshop, pieces of paper and sticky notes

Brainstorming during an Early Career Curators Group introductory workshop, June 2019
Photo: Jessica Juckes

The Emerging Curators Group is a supportive forum for the next generation of curators in the UK, enabling peers to come together and share experiences and thinking around curating British art.

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.

The group will also deliver a seminar for the wider British Art Network and complete a related research project.

British Art Network Sub-Groups

British Art Network sub-groups focus on specific areas 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 all British Art Network members who have a professional research interest or specialism in the group subject area.

Full details on each sub-group are below, including contact information for the lead members, should you wish to enquire about joining a group.

Lubaina Himid, Naming the Money 2004

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

The Black British Art sub-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 network 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 sub-group is led by Dorothy Price (Professor of History of Art, University of Bristol) and Helen Legg (Director, Tate Liverpool).

Contact Information

  • If you are interested in joining the sub-group please contact Professor Dorothy Price (University of Bristol), d.price@bristol.ac.uk.
Benjamin West, Katherine Clayton, Lady Howard de Walden 1772 (detail) 

Benjamin West
Katherine Clayton, Lady Howard de Walden 1772 (detail)
English Heritage, Audley End

New for 2019–20

The aim of this sub-group is to promote a holistic and collaborative approach to looking at and thinking about British art in historic houses. It is led by a team of co-organisers representing different parts of the sector: museums and galleries, heritage and academia. The sub-group is not conceived as one exclusively for people working in historic houses, nor solely for those studying British art in this context. On the contrary, the ambition is that those who do not normally operate in this sphere will find value and interest in looking at artworks in a new light. It is not a sub-group defined by periodisation or genre, but one characterised by a phenomenological approach to British art, which can be productively applied to a variety of object types and contexts.

The group is led by Dr Peter Moore (Curator of Collections & Interiors, English Heritage), with Eleanor Matthews (Curator of Collections & Interiors, English Heritage), Professor Kate Retford (Department of History of Art, Birkbeck, University of London) and Dr Susanna Avery-Quash (Senior Research Curator (History of Collections), National Gallery).

CONTACT INFORMATION

Alfred Ansell, Life Drawing of a Reclining Male Nude 1886  

Alfred Ansell
Life Drawing of a Reclining Male Nude 1886
Royal Academy of Arts
Photo: Prudence Cummings Associates Ltd

The focus for this sub-group 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 develop this growing area of research and scholarship within UK museums, galleries and universities. Previous workshops have taken place at Tate Britain and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Workshops so far have focussed on sketchbooks, watercolours and the role of drawing in art education respectively, exploring strategies of research, interpretation and access.

The group is led by Charlotte Topsfield (Senior Curator, British Drawings and Prints, National Galleries of Scotland), Rosie Razzall (Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust) and Annette Wickham (Curator of Works on Paper, Royal Academy of Arts).

Contact Information

  • If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Rosie Razzall (Curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust), rosie.razzall@rct.uk.
Painting by William Nicol of a woman and a young girl sat together reading from a book

William Nicol
Quiet 1860
Image courtesy of York Museums Trust

New for 2019–20

The British Genre and Narrative Painting sub-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).

Contact information

  • If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Dr Amelia Yeates (Senior Lecturer in Art History, Liverpool Hope University), yeatesa@hope.ac.uk.

Samuel Jackson, Avon Gorge at Sunset c.1825

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

This sub-group is dedicated to British landscape art. In 2019–20 the group is expanding from its original emphasis on the period 1800–1850 to also look at landscape and the environment in modern and contemporary art. The group’s activities continue to consider the history of landscape art in Britain in the context of scientific discoveries and the reshaping of aesthetic ideas. It looks at the continued and deepening environmental crisis since the ninteenth century and its impact on landscape art, and how curators in charge of relevant collections can respond in their research and exhibition practice. The sub-group will investigate landscape from a regional perspective using examples from schools or groups of artists around the country.

The group hopes to attract interest from curators responsible for similar collections to Bristol and Colchester and Ipswich (where the sub-group originated), and specialists seeking innovative approaches to the study of historic and contemporary landscape art. Through study days 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 sub-group is led by Jenny Gaschke (Curator of Fine Art pre-1900, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery) in collaboration with Emma Roodhouse (Collections & Learning Curator, Colchester & Ipswich Museums).

Contact Information

  • If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Dr Jenny Gaschke (Curator of Fine Art pre-1900, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery), jenny.gaschke@bristol.gov.uk.
Sir James Thornhill, ‘A Ceiling and Wall Decoration’ c.1715–25
Sir James Thornhill
A Ceiling and Wall Decoration c.1715–25
Tate

The British Mural Painting sub-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 sub-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).

Contact information

  • 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 brett.dolman@hrp.org.uk.

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

The British Women Artists sub-group focuses on women’s artistic productivity from 1750 to 1950 in a variety of mediums. 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 sub-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 led by Dr Katie Jane Tyreman Herrington (based at the University of York).

CONTACT INFORMATION

Catherine Street, Hidden Physical 2015 (video still)

Catherine Street
Hidden Physical 2015 (video still)
© Catherine Street

The Contemporary Art in Scotland sub-group aims to forge and strengthen connections between researchers, curators and artists who are interested in exploring the longer histories of contemporary practice as they have developed in relation to the country. While the vibrant narratives of art in Glasgow and the ‘Glasgow Miracle’ are now well established, there are many stories and perspectives that still remain to be researched, documented and shared.

Founded in 2017, the Contemporary Art in Scotland sub-group aims to provide a welcoming space where current research from writing to art practice can be presented and developed. Previous sessions have addressed transnationalism, art-science collaborations and institutional challenges.

The group is led by Dr Catherine Spencer (Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, University of St Andrews) and is run from the Centre for Contemporary Art at the University of St Andrews.

Contact Information

  • If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Dr Catherine Spencer (Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art, University of St Andrews), ces24@st-andrews.ac.uk.
  • More information can be found on the Centre for Contemporary Art website.
Kate Walker, Notoriously Anonymous Artistes of 1977 1977

Kate Walker
Notoriously Anonymous Artistes of 1977 1977
Made for A Portrait of the Artist as a Housewife, ICA, London, 10 June–7 July 1977
© Estate of Kate Walker

New for 2019–20

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 sub-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 sub-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).

Contact information

Abstract painting with areas of blues, greens, black and white

​John Michael Wishart
Moths on a Blue Path 1963
© the artist’s estate
Photo: The New Art Gallery Walsall

New for 2019–20

Post-war British painting is shaped by the complex shift in aesthetic values since the 1950s and the many social and political changes in Britain in this period. We can rethink the status of painting in our present era, dominated as it is by conceptual and digital art, by making this history of post-war painting a focus of study.

Our regional galleries hold excellent collections of such work, 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 sub-group aims to:

  • rethink the geography of aesthetic practice in post-war Britain and tell a new story about how new forms of painting were developed and appreciated during this time
  • share current academic research on post-war painting and regionalism, and develop productive conversations that move this research forward
  • showcase examples of post-war painting held in our regional collections by pooling resources, conducting collections-based research and networking
  • 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), Julie Brown (Collections Curator, New Art Gallery Walsall) and Alex Patterson (Assistant Curator of Fine Art, National Museums Liverpool).

CONTACT INFORMATION

  • If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Sophie Hatchwell (Lecturer in History of Art, University of Birmingham), s.hatchwell@bham.ac.uk.

Simeon Solomon, ‘Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene’ 1864
Simeon Solomon
Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene 1864
Tate

New for 2019–20

This sub-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 sub-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 sub-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 also concerned with art and art histories that relate to LGBT+ history more broadly or that hold particular relevance to LGBT+ communities, as well as contemporary art that engages with themes of sexuality, gender identity and queer theory.

The group is led by Charlotte Keenen McDonald (Curator of British Art, National Museums Liverpool).

CONTACT INFORMATION

Resources

Past events

partner logos

The British Art Network is supported by Tate and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art with public funding provided by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Banner image: Cornelia Parker, Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991