Our Exhibition Partners

The core Curatorial Practices module enables students to participate in the curation of a public exhibition. These exhibitions are organised as group projects with students working in conjunction with staff from our partner institutions. 

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Barber Institute logoThe student exhibition at The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is co-curated with Barber staff and draws on the expertise of, and loans from, our exhibition partner, the Royal Collection Trust.

The Barber was founded in 1932 by Dame Martha Constance Hattie Barber in memory of her husband, Sir William Henry Barber. Housed in a Grade II listed Art Deco building designed by Robert Atkinson, it holds one of the most outstanding and internationally significant collections assembled in Britain during the 20th Century, including works by many of the greatest names in Western art, from Botticelli to AuerbachAs well as around 150 major paintings and some stunning pastels and watercolours, the Barber is also home to more than 800 drawings and prints, a fine collection of sculpture – including works by Degas and Roubiliac – decorative art and portrait miniatures. In addition, the Barber also has one of the finest collections of Roman, Byzantine and Medieval coins in the world. It holds an exciting programme of exhibitions, concerts, lectures, gallery talks, workshops and family activities.

Visit The Barber Institute of Fine Arts Website

The Royal Collection Trust


Royal Collection Trust logo


From 2018/19 onwards, the Barber exhibition is curated in collaboration with the Royal Collection Trust.

The exhibition is drawn entirely from the holdings of the Royal Collection, one of the largest art collections in the world and among the last great European royal collections to remain intact. The Royal Collection comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 15 royal residences and former residences across the UK, including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. In addition, some 15,500 works from the Collection are on long-term loan to over 150 institutions across the United Kingdom. 

At The Queen's Galleries in London and Edinburgh, aspects of the Collection are displayed in a programme of temporary exhibitions. Short-term loans are frequently made to exhibitions around the world as part of a commitment to public access and to show the Collection in new contexts. The Royal Collection is held in trust by Her Majesty the Queen for her successors and the nation, and is not owned by The Queen as a private individual. The administration, care and presentation of the collection is undertaken by Royal Collection Trust without recourse to public funds.

Visit the Royal Collection Website

Grand Union

Grand Union logoIn 2016 the MA Art History and Curating programme began a new partnership, with Grand Union in Digbeth, Birmingham, which provides a contemporary art dimension to the programme. Students work in collaboration with Grand Union and contemporary artists to co-curate a contemporary art exhibition.

Grand Union supports and presents innovative artistic and curatorial practice. They believe that a strong artistic community is an essential part of an integrated city. They work with artists, curators and writers placing emphasis on commissioning new art, supporting career development and encouraging experimentation. Grand Union is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation.

Core to Grand Union’s mission is the talent development of artists, curators and audiences. It has supported artists including Laura Oldfield Ford, Mitra Saboury and Mat Parkin to create entirely new bodies of work for their exhibitions at Grand Union. It also provides visual artists in the city with affordable, purpose built studio space. Grand Union studio holders have exhibited their work prolifically throughout the UK including institutions such as Bluecoat, Spacex, Workplace, Spike Island, Tate St. Ives and The New Art Gallery Walsall. They have taken part in residencies with the University of Birmingham, Leamington Pump Rooms and The National Trust. Studio holders regularly work internationally, including Aarhus, Stockholm, Oslo, Bordeaux, Greece and Milan.

Grand Union is committed to developing curatorial talent through a programme of employment, mentoring and toolkits. It has nurtured the practices of emerging curators, providing a platform for the presentation of their work, or through learning and reflection on its innovative Curatorial Curriculum. Grand Union engages the public with this work through an ambitious programme of exhibitions, talks and events in its Gallery and elsewhere. Its programming team provide mentoring to graduates, nurturing them through the difficult transition between graduating and becoming an independent artist or curator.

Visit the Grand Union Website

The National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery logoThe National Portrait Gallery was the Barber's exhibition partner on the MA Art History and Curating from 2015 to 2017. The student exhibitions curated during this partnership are All the World's a Stage (2016) and More Real Than Life (2017).

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and ... to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world, with over 210,000 works from the 16th century to the present day.

Visit the National Portrait Gallery Website

Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham

Cadbury Research Library logoThe Cadbury Research Library occasionally contributes to teaching on the programme, and to the exhibition through loans of its collection.

The Cadbury Research Library is the home of the University of Birmingham's extensive collections of rare books, manuscripts, archives, photographs and associated artefacts. It is the home for Special Collections and Archives of the University of Birmingham. The archive consists of approximately 200,000 rare books dating from 1471 and some 4 million manuscripts. Special Collections is responsible for directly supporting the University's research, learning and teaching agenda by collecting and making fully accessible all collections and seeking to acquire material which ties into this agenda. 

Visit the Cadbury Research Library Website

Research and Cultural Collections, University of Birmingham

Research and Cultural Collections logoResearch and Cultural Collections occasionally contributes to teaching on the programme, and to the exhibition through loans of its collection. 

Research and Cultural Collections cares for thousands of objects at the University of Birmingham, and organises regular activities, events and exhibitions for staff, students and the public throughout the year. Objects from the permanent collections are displayed throughout the campus. We work with colleagues from the University’s five Colleges in commissioning or investing in works of art to enhance their environment. There is a popular programme of temporary exhibitions which are held in the Rotunda of the Aston Webb building. These renew and refresh interest in the permanent collections, relate to different subject areas and introduce the work of contemporary artists to the campus. We also host events relating to the exhibitions such as guest lectures, poetry readings and art ‘happenings’.

Visit the Research and Cultural Collections Library Website

Please note: The availability of Gallery partners for Curatorial projects forming part of the programme for 2021 entry may be impacted by the situation caused by Covid-19.