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National Gallery and Art Fund curatorial traineeships programme continues to foster new talent

Issued January 2015

The National Gallery and the Art Fund are pleased to announce two new fully funded curatorial traineeships to run from 2015 to 2017. Each trainee curator will spend time between the National Gallery and a partner museum during a 22-month appointment, undertaking a project which will be delivered at the end of the traineeship.

This has been made possible through the National Gallery Curatorial Traineeship Programme supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation.

Launched in 2011, these traineeships are the third phase of a joint initiative to address the need for a renewed focus on object and collections based expertise. The programme is inviting partner applications for the 2015–2017 curatorial traineeships from galleries and museums in early 2015.

These new traineeships follow successful projects at York Art Gallery and Birmingham Museums Trust, where curatorial trainees Eloise Donnelly and Helen Hillyard have been involved in the research and curation of a display and re-hang, which will both open to the public in 2015. Their training has significantly contributed to the expertise needed to work with Old Master painting collections in the future. The 2011 trainees, Henrietta Ward and Pippa Stephenson, were placed at Manchester Art Gallery and the Laing, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, respectively. Henrietta is now Curatorial Fellow at Dulwich Picture Gallery and Pippa is Curator of European Art at Glasgow Museums.

Dr Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, said:

“Following on from the success of the programme so far, we are delighted to announce a further new fully funded curatorial traineeship. Our aim is to help regional museums maintain a high level of curatorial excellence and to support new talent in the field, and we are very much looking forward to welcoming a new generation of trainees at the Gallery and watching them progress and flourish in their new posts.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said:

“This initiative was launched in 2011 to provide the best possible training and support for the next generation of curators –now entering its third phase, it is fantastic to see how the programme has grown and strengthened from year to year.  There is a need to nurture curatorial expertise in the museum sector, and we are delighted to be supporting this scheme which addresses that.”

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  

For museum applications please contact Mary Hersov at

The deadline for museum applications is 10 April 2015


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.

The institutions involved in the second phase of the programme (2013–14) were York Art Gallery and Birmingham Museums Trust.

The result of Eloise Donnelly’s 2013–14 traineeship at York Art Gallery will be included in the display of the Lycett Green collection when York Art Gallery reopens in 2015 following its £8 million development.

The result of Helen Hillyard’s 2013–14 traineeship at Birmingham Museums Trust will be a re-hang of the museum’s collection of 17th-century paintings in 2015.

Partner organisations 2013-15

Birmingham Museums Trust manages nine museum and heritage sites and cares for the city of Birmingham’s collections of over half a million objects, encompassing fine and applied art, history, archaeology, science and technology and world cultures. The strength and quality of the paintings collection make it a major cultural resource for the West Midlands.

The curatorial trainee’s time at Birmingham will be dedicated to a project that will transform the visitor experience of two galleries of 17th-century European art through their refurbishment and redisplay. The galleries contain an outstanding collection of Italian Baroque painting including the only autograph work by Orazio Gentileschi in a public collection in the UK. The curatorial trainee will carry out research into the collection of Dutch, Flemish and Italian paintings and sculptures and will oversee the development of new displays and interpretation and educational resources aimed at children and young people.

York Art Gallery's collection of paintings spans more than 600 years. The collection ranges from 14th-century Italian panels and 17th-century Dutch masterpieces to Victorian narrative paintings and 20th-century works by L.S. Lowry and David Hockney. The Gallery is currently undergoing an £8 million development which will see it reopen in Easter 2015 with 60 per cent more exhibition space.

The focus of the traineeship at York is research into a selection of the Gallery’s Old Master paintings, a collection of 136 continental Old Masters that stretches from the 14th to the 18th century, which was the generous gift of F.D. Lycett Green through the Art Fund in 1995. The research will lead to the reinterpretation of the collection through the use of new technology and the involvement of contemporary artists, that will culminate in a major new display aimed at communicating new discoveries about York’s Old Master paintings to a wider audience.

About the National Gallery

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the early 20th century. The collection belongs to the nation and serves a diverse public from the UK and overseas. It is open to all, 361 days a year, free of charge. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors.

About the Art Fund

The Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art, helping museums to buy and show great art for everyone. Over the past five years we’ve given over £26m to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections and placed hundreds of gifts and bequests, from ancient sculpture and treasure hoards to Old Master paintings and contemporary commissions. We also help museums share their collections with wider audiences through supporting a range of tours and exhibitions, including the national tour of the Artist Rooms collection and the 2013–14 tours of Grayson Perry’s tapestries 'The Vanity of Small Differences' and Jeremy Deller’s 'English Magic', the British Council commission for the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Our support for museums extends to the Art Guide app – the comprehensive guide to seeing art across the UK, promoting a network of over 650 museums and galleries throughout the country, and the £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year – an annual celebration of the best of UK museums, won in 2014 by Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield. We are independently funded, the majority of our income coming from over 100,000 members who, through the National Art Pass, enjoy free entry to over 230 hundred museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions. Find out more about the Art Fund and the National Art Pass at