The 2008 Understanding British Portraits seminar was held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, on 21 October.

Annual Seminar 2008 programme

In the afternoon workshop, delegates considered six questions focusing on how the UBP network relates to their own work and organisation. Here is a summary of the responses.

How do you see the Understanding British Portraits network being of value to you?

  • An opportunity to publicise own collections
  • Sharing expertise, knowledge and findings
  • Building contacts
  • Allow for/inspires further research
  • Raises accessibility issues
  • Provides practical support eg. Resources
  • Enables me to meet colleagues with similar concerns

What else can the network do to support or facilitate your work with portraits?

  • Database (with images) of all private collections
  • Email newsletters about new attributions/identifications
  • Advertise funding opportunities
  • Highlight case studies, members’ findings
  • More toolkits, e.g. conservation/technical analysis, applying for purchase grants, how to get portraits valued, digitisation
  • Online forum/blogg
  • Further events, lecture series

What kind of future events, activities or resources would you like to see initiated by the network?

  • Future seminars focusing on particular media (e.g. photography), or period (e.g. 20th to 21st century issues such as copyright, artists’ estates, living artists etc); specific artists; particular
  • genres e.g. military portraits.
  • Regional and national networking events
  • Hands-on workshops, practical training
  • Events at different venues. Visits to regional collections (especially private collections). Behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Publications; collective exhibitions

Do you see professional links between the museum and academic sectors in your region? How could this be nurtured?

  • Yes – we facilitate academic research
  • Yes – these are being developed by our learning departments, re working with the students.
  • Yes – the inclusion of more University collections (fostering links between collections) in the network would be useful.
  • Yes – but need to be fostered by e.g. student projects/placements, joint courses, etc. Also need to look to building relationships with disciplines other than history/history of art
  • Yes – it needs good communication, government back up/resources, such as online resources which can be used jointly
  • Yes – maintained through seminars, conferences and lectures.
  • Yes – local historians and academics could be encouraged to use museums

Nurtured by:

  • Regional seminar days
  • Regional events like this, incorporating museums and education facilities, so they can meet and discuss
  • Joint events and seminars may encourage networking etc.

What can the network do to develop professional audiences?

  • Events involving private collectors, buyers, auction houses
  • Events at different venues
  • E-mailing smaller museums, and private collections
  • Links to SSN on relevant websites including participating collections
  • Podcasts delivered monthly/quarterly to keep interest alive

What can the network do to encourage the sharing of knowledge and skills in the learning field?

  • Create more toolkits on website (easily printable) and further development of online resources
  • Encourage the sharing of expertise through database and placements
  • Annual seminars
  • Promote itself within universities and higher education bodies
  • e-newsletter, publications, advertising, etc