The World We Live In: Art and the Urban Environment

An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition

A new touring exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography, and film that explores themes from urban development to migration and the relationship between inner cities and suburbia.

The many facets of urban life – architecture, migration, commuting, crowds, noise, lights – have been a rich source of inspiration to artists throughout history. Following events of the last couple of years, there has been much emphasis and reflection around the concept of ‘city’, its purpose, and its future in the context of urban communities. 

The World We Live In brings together modern and contemporary works which explore many of these issues and considers how city dwellers engage with their built-up surroundings.

The exhibition also presents some of the Arts Council Collection’s outstanding collection of documentary photographs from the 1960s and 1970s which present an unparalleled view of inner city life across the UK.

Artists featured include Michael Andrews, David Austen, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Eduardo Paolozzi, Suzanne Treister and Rachel Whiteread.


5 February - 2 May 2022
Leicester Museum & Art Gallery

21 May - 4 September 2022
Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery

17 September 2022 - 8 January 2023
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery



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.