Borrow Big!

Borrow Big! is a new open-application loan scheme aimed at supporting venues to borrow large-scale artworks from the Arts Council Collection to share with audiences across the UK.

Since the Arts Council Collection began 75 years ago we have been collecting and caring for a wide array of bold and ambitious art, always looking for ways we can share the collection to a wide variety of venues. After decades of lending work free of charge to partners around the UK and internationally it is clear there is an enthusiasm to borrow from all areas of our collection which is why we are supporting arts organisations to think big when they borrow from the Arts Council Collection. 

We want to collaborate with six dynamic organisations sharing knowledge and expertise, learning from each other and creating opportunities for our audiences to enjoy these immersive works of art. We are asking applicants to consider how they can pass the baton on, extending resources and research as the work travels to future venues.

We have suggested ten works (see below) for you to consider, but we are open to considering applications for other large-scale works which fit the remit. If you'd like to discuss an idea in more detail, please email

Each project will be supported with up to £4.5k and can be used where most needed, whether that is towards transport, installation, audience engagement, evaluation, or any aspect of the project.


Full details on the available projects and how to apply can be found below.



The Projects

Susan Hiller
Wild Talents, 1997

Susan Hiller created innovative and influential film installations in which she explored the subconscious or unconscious mind through automatic writing, dreams, memories and the supernatural.Wild Talents draws inspiration from the life of Stefan Ossowiecki (1877-1944), a famous psychic known as ‘The Polish Wizard’. The work focuses on Ossowiecki’s childhood, a time when his then unfocused powers resulted in unpredictable and spontaneous outbursts. More broadly, the installation explores society’s fear of the unknown and its obsession with the dangerous energies and spontaneous ‘wild talents’ of children.

More info

Richard Hamilton
Treatment Room, 1984

One of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century, Richard Hamilton’s varied work is characterised by highly political subject matter.

This installation deals with the workings of power through surveillance and indoctrination. The installation consists of a slab table upon which we may imagine a patient. Above this is a monitor that shows footage from the Conservative Party Election Broadcast from 1983, and Margaret Thatcher in a classical interior. Thatcher speaks about stability; HamIlton chooses to silence her in this work, conveying that the power of the broadcast was as much in the image and symbol of Conservatism as in her actual spoken words.

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Mike Nelson
Taylor, 1994

Mike Nelson is primarily known for his large-scale, labyrinthine installations, where numerous discarded objects are carefully assembled to create new narratives. Taylor is unusual in that it is sculptural in form, however, like his other works it contains filmic and socio-political references. Its title refers both to the eighteenth-century warehouse in Liverpool, where it was first exhibited and tailored to fit the space, as well as to George Taylor, the character of a marooned astronaut played by Charleston Heston in the film Planet of the Apes who tried in vain to escape on a raft. In this way, it suggests a journey to an alien world - a space traveller or refugee setting sail for a possible utopia.

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Christina Mackie
The Judges II, 2011

The Judges II deals with the notion of judgement by time, reflected as traces left on the land. Christina Mackie developed the work after visiting an extinct volcano in New South Wales, Australia.

Comprising of many and various elements, the installation includes two video works on monitors: Fall Force deals with the theme of time and the grinding down and flowing away of human endeavour; Planet considers the theme of landscape, earth’s characteristics and forces being as visible in a lump of mineral as in a whole landscape. It also looks at the mechanism of crystals being present in both scales, the beauty of earth and the simulation made available by contour map software.

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Kelly Richardson
Leviathan, 2011

Kelly Richardson creates large-scale immersive video installations of extraordinary landscapes. Combining the real and the imagined, she starts by filming real landscapes and then uses digital technology to distort and change the images. These eerie environments, entirely devoid of people, invite viewers to ‘insert themselves into the work’ and become its sole protagonists. As she explains, ‘I’m trying to create contemplative places which are both beautiful and mesmeric, but at the same time, unsettling.’

Leviathan was made during a residency at Artspace, San Antonio. It was filmed on Caddo Lake in a town called Uncertain in Texas and shows the region’s indigenous bald cypress trees in their swamp environment.

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Keith Piper
Unearthing the Banker’s Bones, 2015-16

The act of discovery and research is at the heart of Keith Piper’s practice, and through this he investigates the history and culture of black identity.

In Unearthing the Banker’s Bones, Piper considers how the present can be viewed from the perspective of a fictional future. He weaves together references from a range of classical novels, films and music, including science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, Gothic novelist Mary Shelley and the 1960s group The Last Poets, to consider the themes of environmental change, migration and globalisation. This time-travelling narrative is complemented by landscapes filmed around England.

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Frances Disley
RRR, 2018

Frances Disley works with form and colour, using her own body to animate the painted objects and surfaces that she creates. She explores the potential of working with performance, which expands the gesture of painting across sculptures, garments and backdrops. These elements are always inhabited by and presented in relation to the moving body; objects, surfaces and bodies become integrated and activated. Presenting performances that are in a state of flux and open up opportunities for the audience to participate, the artist encourages an embodied experience of the work.

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Benedict Drew
KAPUT, 2015

A large, fluorescent image of Richard Branson, with orange cables protruding from his eyes, takes centre stage in Benedict Drew: KAPUT.

This work explores the concept of space tourism through a thrilling multi-faceted installation. Using a combination of video, audio and sculptural elements, artist Benedict Drew reflects on society’s uncertain relationship with technology.

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John Walter
CAPSID, 2018 - 2019

John Walter’s project CAPSID (2018-2019) incorporates 250 artworks, and was the result of a collaboration between the artist and molecular virologist Professor Greg Towers of University College London. The project addresses a crisis of representation surrounding viruses such as HIV by bringing new scientific knowledge about viral capsids to the attention of the wider public, whilst also using the capsids as an analogy for thinking about cultural transmission and how artforms are transmitted, and passed on, throughout time.

More info

How to Apply

We are asking applicants to consider how borrowing this work will make a significant difference to their audiences and how they can pass the baton on, extending resources and research as the work travels to further venues.

We welcome applications from museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives based in England which are regional and/or run by local authorities or universities, or have independent Trust status. All venues must be able to meet Government Indemnity Scheme requirements.


More information about the Borrow Big! scheme and application process can be found in these Guidelines.

To make an application, please complete and return this application form. Applications can be submitted at any time. 

For further information, to discuss an application or any accessiblity requirements, please contact Beth Hughes, Curator:


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.