At the end of January, TheGallery at The Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) held a successful one-day symposium which set out to investigate the effectiveness of the programming and management of Galleries in Universities and Colleges, to evaluate the impact on the learning environment.

?Art School Galleries of the Future? was organised by Steph James, Associate Dean and Head of the School of Visual Arts at the AUB who was awarded funding by the Leadership Foundation Small Development Project earlier in the year to hold this stimulating Symposium.

The event attracted 75 delegates from across the country, including Scotland and Ireland, who all came together to share ideas for the future of Art School Galleries. It seeked to explore what ‘the gallery’ means within the context of new media and its potential to support innovative approaches to art, design and media pedagogy with opportunities for haptic and creative learning interactions.

Keynote speaker, Sarah Shalgosky, Curator at the Warwick Arts Centre, shared her inspirational thoughts for the future, alongside fellow industry professionals including Professor Jim Hunter, Deputy Principal of the AUB; Dr Steve Swindells, Director of Research at the University of Huddersfield; Professor Karen Fleming,

Director of Research at the Institute of Art & Design at the University of Ulster; Helen Baker, Gallery North, Northumbria University; Jenny Brownrigg, Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow School of Art; Jane Linden, Axix Art Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University; Terrence Jones, Leeds College of Art; Mark Gibson from Bar Lane Studios in York and Hannah Jones, Gallery Curator at Plymouth College of Art.

Steph James commented ‘The energy for the Symposium was driven by an urgency to ensure that galleries have a positive stake in the future planning by leaders of Universities who are currently faced with economic pressures and uncertainty, managing student expectations with the increase in student fees and the inevitable cutbacks in funding. More than ever Art School Galleries will be required to demonstrate impact, breadth and innovation all within a tight budget and this collaborative symposium was a great starting point for these discussions.’

One of the aims of this event was to gather information to compile a report modeling potential direction for leadership in the sustainable future of Art School Galleries. An important outcome will also be to establish a network of senior staff from higher education institutions across the UK who have a direct responsibility for Galleries in their institutions who can share knowledge, experience and expertise from their specific ‘body’; and relate it to the learning, teaching and research associated with creative art, design and media curricula.

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