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Holburne Museum – Bath Spa University

Our cultural partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between the Museum and the University.

The Holburne Museum is one of the UK’s leading independent museums and a registered charity, with a core vision of ‘Changing Lives Through Art’. Established as Bath’s first public art gallery in 1882, now home to 9,000 unique artworks including one of the finest displays of 18th-century British portraiture.

It's one of a small number of galleries in the UK that combine a historic collection with a diverse programme of historic, contemporary, fine and decorative art.

As a principal visual arts organisation in Bath and a major feature of the UK's artistic landscape it delivers an ambitious programme, bringing the best art to the south west.

About the partnership

Our cultural partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between the Museum and the University. Embedded at the heart of the Museum is a Learning, Engagement and Wellbeing Programme, delivering extensive outreach and education with a focus on personal creativity in response to the collection and programme by using exhibitions and collections to inspire, educate and stimulate creativity. This means in partnership with the University, the Holburne can focus on nurturing young people’s connection to visual arts and local heritage.

Strong collaboration between the two institutions has enabled both to explore and develop shared goals of excellence in arts enterprise and education. This has resulted in outstanding and vibrant projects, exhibitions, displays, lectures and placements being developed. Both are co-founders in the Bath Cultural Education Partnership, with the shared goal of improving mental health and wellbeing as well as bringing creative education and cultural collaboration to young or vulnerable people in the local area. The Holburne's Pathways to Wellbeing program is an example of how they work closely with vulnerable community members.

The defining characteristic of this ground-breaking partnership is the cultural strength of both institutions, with Bath Spa University voted by students as one of the top creative universities in the UK, and the Holburne establishing its reputation as one of Europe’s leading small museums and visual arts venues in the Southwest.

Through our partnership, the Holburne Museum provides:

  • Opportunities for collaborative research, exhibitions, publications and projects
  • Contribution to the development of taught academic programmes, specifically in the areas of art and design, heritage, history, and arts management
  • Opportunities for students and staff to expand their personal and professional development, and tailored student placements to enrich studies and courses.

"The University’s engagement with our Collection brings the Museum to life. Creative student interpretations of our artworks allow our visitors to experience the Holburne in new ways, opens up art to all areas of academic enquiry, and provides a valuable platform to explore joint research."

Notable collaborations

Some notable examples of collaboration since the partnership was established include

  • 'Muse: The Collection Inspires' an exhibition of new and thought-provoking work created by MA Ceramics and Textiles students in response to the Holburne’s collection
  • 'The Moving Exhibition' a series of students’ interventionist music and dance performances in response to the exhibits and spaces at the Holburne
  • Special displays designed by the BA 3D Design: Idea Material Object students
  • 'Tools for Access' created by BA 3D Design students who collaborated to produce 'tools' to breakdown barriers to access for people visiting the museum
  • Workshops with students from BA Education studies and PGCE courses.
  • Montlhly 'Up Late' events planned by MA Heritage in Context students. 



University offers

Bath Spa University staff and students can enjoy free entry to Holburne Museum and discounted ticket offers for selected shows. The Up Late series is also free to all Bath Spa students.

Find out more

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