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Double national honour for Swansea art gallery

A Swansea cultural gem is the only Welsh venue to be selected as part of the respected British Art Network this year.

The Swansea Council-run Glynn Vivian Art Gallery will be working with British art professionals and public collections across the UK, to share expertise, research and ideas across cultural organisations.

The British Art Network aims to develop curatorial skills and collection knowledge; and to foster greater collaboration between partners leading to dynamic collection displays and exhibitions of British art for audiences across the UK.

The Network’s programme for this year includes early-career curator bursaries to support new talent.

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is also the only attraction in Wales to have a member of staff – exhibitions assistant Charlotte Thomas – selected for the Network’s early careers curators group.

This activity gives early-career curators greater access to Network events, to undertake research visits, to have access to mentoring opportunities and to participate in practice-sharing workshops for a one-year period.

The double honour for the city centre venue comes at a time when Swansea is celebrating its first 50 years as a city – and it will mean a higher profile for the gallery and city in the UK cultural community.

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

Robert Francis-Davies, the council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “I congratulate Charlotte, all her colleagues at the Glynn Vivian and the gallery’s supporters for this success.

“The Glynn Vivian is a nationally recognised venue. It’s a major asset for our city and is brimming with creative opportunity and potential, benefiting the wider arts and cultural sector in the city and region, as well as all Swansea residents and visitors.”

The Glynn Vivian’s British Art Network seminar series will explore themes Wales’ relationship with South Asia.

The events will see art professionals – including officers from the Glynn Vivian – share knowledge and bring collections to life with new research and fresh insights.

This Wednesday (October 16) at 1pm, there will be a free talk by Anne Buddle, Head of Collections Management at National Galleries of Scotland, as she explores the life and travels of Lady Henrietta Clive in Tipu’s India in 1800. Lady Henrietta Clive was the Countess of Powis from 1801 until her death in 1830.

The full seminar series will take place in spring 2020 at the Glynn Vivian.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, and joint Chair of the British Art Network, said: “Building on the success of the first seven years of the British Art Network, this new programme and round of support expands this invaluable resource for curators and art historians. The British Art Network supports passionate specialists exploring the depth and diversity of British Art, building greater public understanding of this country’s artistic legacy.” 

Mark Hallett, Director of Studies, Paul Mellon Centre and joint Chair of the British Art Network, said: “We are committed to supporting the most exciting and original research into the history of British Art and architecture.”