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Curatorial Traineeship 2012-13: Manchester Art Gallery

The National Gallery’s curatorial traineeships, launched in September 2011 and supported by the Art Fund, enable regional museums to nurture the next generation of curators.

In 2012-13, Manchester Art Gallery was successful in its application to partner with the National Gallery to benefit from curatorial training. The National Gallery provided a trainee with mentoring and support to work with collections – both at the National Gallery and the Manchester Art Gallery – with a focus on European paintings pre-1900.

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

“We know that curatorial expertise in regional museums has been greatly reduced in recent years. We have joined forces with the Art Fund to do something to halt this decline and ensure that discerning and judicious collecting for regional collections and a deep understanding of what those collections already include continues in the future”.

The traineeship

Since reopening in 2002 after major refurbishment, Manchester Art Gallery has established an international reputation for the quality of its exhibitions, and its interpretation of contemporary and historic art, craft and design. Its collection has been designated to be of national significance and is probably best known for its outstanding Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

The focus of the traineeship was on a small but important group of over 100 Dutch and Flemish paintings dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. As this group had not been the subject of serious academic study for several decades, the trainee began by updating the documentation for each work, drawing on the National Gallery’s resources to access the most recent research. The trainee then worked with Manchester Art Gallery’s curatorial and learning staff to re-present the Dutch and Flemish collections in a major new permanent display with a contemporary angle.

The 2012-13 traineeship has resulted in the display Home, Land and Sea in the Netherlands 1600-1800 [External link], which is open 24 May 2013 – 23 May 2014 at Manchester Art Gallery.

Read Curatorial Trainee Hettie Ward’s blog about her experiences with the traineeship [External link]

Find out more about Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester City Galleries) [External link]