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The British Art Network was established in 2012 by Tate, prompted by an invitation from MLA (The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council) to develop one of the newly-funded Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs). It was initially conceived to maintain a research base and build scholarly capacity in the museum sector and celebrate a shared national collection of British art. 

The foundation members of the British Art SSN included the organisations which were part of the Heritage Lottery Fund-supported Great British Art Debate and which have significant holdings of British art: Museums SheffieldTyne and Wear Archives and Museums and Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service.  With the support of Arts Council England (ACE), BAN organized workshops and conferences that connected curators and collections from around the UK.

view of Tate Britain, London, a classical gallery building
Tate Britain, London. Photo: Tate (Lee Mawdsley)

Since 2015 BAN has awarded annual bursaries to support research activity led by members. BAN has funded research groups addressing an array of topics, run by curators, artists and programmers, as well as many individual seminars, workshops and seminar series. Over these years the Network has supported emerging professionals through its Emerging Curators Group, as well as an array of seminars, workshops and conferences. While continuing to connect curators working with collections of British art, whether nationally, internationally or regionally, BAN’s programme and activities have changed as ideas and practices around British art curating have shifted. The membership now includes many academics, artist-researchers, conservators, producers and programmers working independently as well as in organisations, and internationally as well as in the UK. 

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 15-16 Bedford Square, London. Photo: PMC

In 2018 the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art became a partner host of the British Art Network along with Tate. With continued support from Arts Council England (ACE), this partnership has enabled BAN to expand significantly and develop into a network which increasingly reflects the range and variety of curatorial work in British art today. With the active support of Tate, the Paul Mellon Centre, and our Steering Group, BAN continues to renew its commitment to fostering critical exchange in the theory and practice of British art curating and communicating the continuing public value of collections and curatorial expertise. 

Read the new Annual Report covering activity in 2023, here, or download an accessible PDF below

View previous Annual Reports below

British Art Network 2022 Annual Report

British Art Network 2021 Annual Report