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Mapping Contemporary Art

Exploring the contemporary art landscape of UK heritage sites.

About the project

'Mapping Contemporary Art in the Heritage Experience: Creation, Consumption, and Exchange’ is an interdisciplinary research project that critically examines the role and practice of temporary visual art commissioning within heritage properties in Britain today.

Through this contemporary art research project, we aimed to map the current landscape and explore the impact of this activity on producers and audiences. We approached this subject from multiple perspectives, bringing together the knowledge and experience of scholars, artists, heritage professionals, volunteers, and visitors.


Project objectives

The Mapping Contemporary Art project had three main objectives:

  1. To map the trajectory of contemporary visual art in heritage sites in the UK.
  2. To understand how artists engage with the heritage context in the creation of contemporary art for heritage properties.
  3. To analyse how contemporary artworks commissioned for these contexts are received and consumed by heritage property visitors.

Public outputs from this contemporary art research project included the production of four new commissioned artworks at heritage property sites in the North East of England in 2018, a major international conference on contemporary art in heritage practice, and an exhibition at The Hatton Gallery in Newcastle in 2019.

Funder: AHRC

Duration: Jan 2017-Dec 2019

PI and further team:

  • Andrew Burton (PI) - Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Judith King (Senior Research Associate) - Arts&Heritage
  • Andrew Newman (CI) - Media, Culture, Heritage, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Vee Pollock (CI) - Fine Art, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Niki Black (Research Associate) - Landscape, School of Architecture, Landscape and Planning
  • Rebecca Farley (Research Associate) - Media, Culture, Heritage, School of Arts and Cultures
  • Nick Cass (Research Associate) - School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds


  • Arts&Heritage
  • The National Trust
  • Churches Conservation Trust
  • English Heritage, with support by Arts Council England
  • Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN)

Further information: Visit our website for more information. You can also check out our YouTube channel to learn more about the commissioned artworks and to hear from our volunteers.