National Gallery and Art Fund Curatorial Trainees Programme continues to foster new talent

Issued December 2015

The National Gallery and the Art Fund are pleased to announce that Ferens Art Gallery, Hull and Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland are the latest organisations set to benefit from two new fully funded curatorial traineeships. These have been made possible through the National Gallery Curatorial Traineeship Programme supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation.

The two trainees, Lucy West and Sylvie Broussine, have been based at the National Gallery, London, since September 2015, where they are spending time before moving to take up their respective positions in Hull and Bishop Auckland in spring 2016.

Launched in 2011, the traineeships were jointly established by the National Gallery and the Art Fund to address the need for object- and collections-based expertise. The programme invited applications from galleries and museums during early 2015. Following the selection of Ferens Art Gallery and Auckland Castle, a panel convened during July to select the curatorial trainees.

These new traineeships follow successful projects at York Art Gallery and Birmingham Museums Trust, where the previous curatorial trainees, Eloise Donnelly and Helen Hillyard, were involved in the research and curation of a display and rehang. Their training has significantly contributed to the expertise needed to work with Old Master painting collections in the future.

The 2011 inaugural trainees, Henrietta Ward and Pippa Stephenson, were placed at Manchester Art Gallery and the Laing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Henrietta was Curatorial Fellow at Dulwich Picture Gallery and is now Assistant Keeper, Paintings, Drawings and Prints at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, while Pippa is Curator of European Art at Glasgow Museums.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said:

“We are delighted with the success of the programme so far. Our aim is to help regional museums maintain a high level of curatorial excellence and to support new talent in the field. We are enjoying working with the new trainees at the Gallery and look forward to working alongside Hull and Bishop Auckland once they take up their posts.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said:

“I’m delighted by the success of the curatorial traineeships scheme. It’s an important form of investment in curatorial expertise generally, especially in museums outside London, but it’s also about supporting individual careers and unlocking talent and potential. I wish the newly appointed trainees every success in their forthcoming projects, and beyond”

For further press information please contact:

Esther Saunders-Deutsch on 020 7747 2420 or at

Madeline Adeane on 0207 225 4804 or at

For public enquiries please quote 020 7747 2885 or

Notes to Editors
The National Gallery’s Curatorial Traineeship Programme, supported by the Art Fund, was initiated in 2011. The programme provides practical curatorial training alongside collections-based and specialist research skills. The trainee’s time is allocated between the National Gallery and the partner museum during the 22-month appointment. After an initial training period of six months at the National Gallery, with trips to the partner organisation to discuss the project to be undertaken, the trainees move to the partner organisation to deliver the project.

Partner organisations 2015

Ferens Art Gallery is one of the UK’s finest regional galleries and will be only the fourth venue outside London to present the Turner Prize, following in the footsteps of BALTIC in Gateshead, Ebrington in Londonderry, and this year’s venue, Tramway in Glasgow.

With an outstanding permanent collection including works by Canaletto, Frans Hals, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and previous Turner prize winners Gillian Wearing and Mark Wallinger, the Ferens is one of the reasons why Hull was chosen to be the next UK City of Culture.

Opened in 1927, the gallery was gifted to the city by TR Ferens, a local industrialist who also established a purchasing fund that has allowed the Ferens’ collections to grow in quality and range. From the outset, the gallery has acquired and commissioned works by living artists and was the first public institution to acquire a work by David Hockney in 1962.  More recent acquisitions include a neon artwork by two Dutch contemporary artists, Bik van der Pol, and a nationally significant 14th-century masterpiece by Pietro Lorenzetti.

The Ferens attracts thousands of visitors each year to its permanent collection and, over the past two years, has seen attendances soar following visiting exhibitions from world-class artists including Warhol, Da Vinci, and Martin Creed.

The Turner Prize 2017 will be presented at the Ferens Art Gallery from October 2017 to January 2018.

As part of the city’s multimillion pound improvements, Ferens Art Gallery is now closed to visitors to receive its £4.5m renovation. Set to open early 2017, it will receive new lighting, humidity, and temperature control systems to allow the gallery to secure the long-term preservation of its important collection and to stage the very best in national and international exhibitions. More at

Auckland Castle is one of the most important episcopal palaces in Europe, and the magnificent home of the Prince Bishops of Durham. Between 1832 and 2011, the castle was the official residence of the Bishops of Durham, and the Bishop of Durham still works there today. After Vatican City and Avignon, Auckland is described as the best working medieval Episcopal complex in Europe.

Its Grade I listed architectural structures and features tell the history of our nation, in a building that has been created and recreated over the centuries by some of the leading architects of each age, including James Wyatt, architect to George III. No architectural work has been done on the castle since the 1790s, and it is expected that careful conservation work should reveal its hidden past. Together, the buildings and landscape form a nationally significant heritage site, with highest Grade 1 level.

Auckland Castle is also home to one of the most significant treasures of European religious art: in 1756 the then Bishop of Durham bought 13 paintings by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), depicting Jacob and his 12 sons, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. More at

About the National Gallery
The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of European paintings in the world, which is free to visit and open 361 days of the year. The collection consists of over 2,300 paintings from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. All major traditions of Western European painting are represented, with artists including Titian, Monet, Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. The Gallery is a world centre of excellence for the scientific study, art historical research, and care of European paintings from the 13th to the early 20th century. More at

About the Art Fund
The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In the past five years the Art Fund has given £34 million to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections. The Art Fund also helps museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including 'ARTIST ROOMS' and the 2013–18 'Aspire' tour of Tate’s 'Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows' by John Constable, and makes additional grants to support the training and professional development of curators.

The Art Fund is independently funded, with the core of its income provided by 117,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 230 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibition. In addition to grant-giving, the Art Fund’s support for museums includes the annual Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, a publications programme and a range of digital platforms. Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at