This joint event explored core challenges in museum practice today – the role of cataloguing, research partnerships, and disseminating research findings.


This two-day seminar represented a collaboration between three Subject Specialist Networks; the British Art Network; European paintings pre-1900; and the Understanding British Portraits network. It aimed to examine and investigate a range of subjects relevant to museum professionals and their collections through three overarching themes: the role of cataloguing, research partnerships, and disseminating research findings.

Cataloguing has been a traditional activity within museums. Given the increasing demand on resources and competing priorities, what is its role in contemporary collections? Another issue for museum professionals is how to develop research collaborations between museum collections and HEIs, from formal Collaborative Doctoral Awards to informal networking and regional partnerships. How can we ensure these partnerships are successful and bring long term value to all involved? And then, what are the possible means for effectively disseminating collection research findings for audience benefit, in the form of public programmes, outreach and participation projects?

Joint SSN seminar – programme


Audio recordings of this seminar

Please click the links below to access the full recording on SoundCloud:

Panel: Audiences for Research

Dr Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain



Chairperson Prof Nigel Llewellyn, formerly Head of Research, Tate



Keynote address by Mark Sealy, Director, Autograph ABP.

Missing Chapters and Black Chronicles: Reconstructing the Archive


Mark Miller, Circuit National Lead and Convenor Young People’s Programmes, Tate Britain and Tate Modern, and Leyla Tahir, Assistant Curator, Young People’s Programmes, Tate Britain and Tate Modern.

Tate Collective: BP Spotlight Source


Nilesh Mistry, Curator, International and Decorative Art, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford.

Connect: People, Place and Imagination, the development of the Connect permanent displays at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford


Jane Sellars, Curator of the Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate, and Acting Culture Manager.

Harrogate: Access All Areas, collections research project funded by Arts Council England Strategic Support Renaissance funding 2013-2015


Panel: Cataloguing and the issue of authority

Dr Peter Funnell, Curator of Nineteenth-Century Portraits and Head of Research Programmes, National Portrait Gallery.



Chairperson Jemima Rellie, Director of Content and Audiences, Royal Collection Trust



David Lowther, Visiting Library Scholar, Zoological Society of London (2014—15).

Britain in Nepal: the Hodgson Collection and the Politics of Display


Dr Peter Funnell; Dr Jan Marsh, Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue; and Elizabeth Heath, Collaborative Doctoral Award Candidate: The Sir George Scharf Archive; Assistant Curator (Research), Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue, National Portrait Gallery.

The Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue, National Portrait Gallery


Andy Ellis, Director, Public Catalogue Foundation, and Andrew Greg, Director, National Inventory Research Project, University of Glasgow.

Knowledge exchange through Art Detective – the challenges and opportunities of working with a wide range of contributors


Dr Philip Carter, Publication Editor, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Museums, galleries, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Discussion and questions chaired by Jemima Rellie


Panel: Research collaborations

Prof Alison Yarrington, Dean of the School of Arts, English and Drama, Loughborough University



Keynote address by Iain Watson, Director, Tyne and Wear Archives & Museums.

Poking and prying with a purpose – some case studies of museum research in the North East


Helen Hillyard, The National Gallery Curatorial Trainee supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation.

Making collection history visible: displaying Baroque visual culture at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery


Eloise Donnelly, The National Gallery Curatorial Trainee supported by the Art Fund with the assistance of the Vivmar Foundation.

Researching the Lycett Green collection: a collaboration between York Art Gallery and the National Gallery


Dr Jane Eade, Associate Curator, Sixteenth-Century Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, and Barbara Wood, Curator (South West) and Consultancy Manager (Acting), National Trust.

An ever evolving partnership: The National Trust, National Portrait Gallery, and Montacute House


Emma Roodhouse, Art Curator, and Rachel MacFarlane, Learning and Engagement Officer, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service.

Audiences, Artists and Academics: the Aspire programme in Ipswich


Discussion and questions chaired by Prof Alison Yarrington


Dr Susan Foister, Director, Public Engagement and Deputy Director, The National Gallery

Closing comments