National Partners Programme

The Arts Council Collection : National Partners Programme

The National Partners Programme was launched in 2016 to mark the 70th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection by creating a network of regional galleries and museums to present and curate exhibitions drawn from the Arts Council Collection.

The first four National Partner museums and galleries were: Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; the Birmingham Museums Trust; the Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool; and the Collection’s existing partner, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

The second round of National Partners for 2019-22 are Firstsite in Essex; Sunderland Culture in Tyne and Wear and The Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Cornwall.

Funded by the National Lottery, the programme aims to build a deeper relationship with regional audiences by building a UK-wide network across regional partners, connecting local visitors to their national collection.


Arts Council England has awarded each partner £550,000 over three years, from April 2019 – March 2022. The grants will support the organisations to present exhibitions that showcase and are inspired by work from the Arts Council Collection, raising the Collection’s profile with the public.

Through a sustained presence at each venue across the three year programme, the Arts Council Collection aims to build a deeper relationship with regional audiences. Building a UK-wide network across regional partners and connecting local visitors to their national collection.


Sign up to the Arts Council Collection newsletter for regular updates on the programme.

The Arts Council Collection : National Partners Programme

Selected Exhibitions

Received Wisdom

Received Wisdom by Sunderland Culture challenges the notion that creativity, boundary-breaking and dynamism are the preserve of youth, presenting a body of work created by artists working in their later years.
Tell me the story of all of these things

Radical women of Colchester worked with Firstsite to present this exhibition which examined the role of emotion and soft power in our society and how this can be used positively to connect and empower us.
Go On Being So

Curated by the MBA Collective, this exhibition at the Newlyn Art Gallery brings together an intriguing selection of works that say something about the world today and their place in it.

Related Content

Art Crush

The Art Crush app is a free, fun and accessible way for families and young people to explore art in an experience that everyone can enjoy via their mobile device or tablet.
Meet the Partners Sunderland

Posy Jowett, Public Engagement and Learning Officer at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens shares her experiences working on the programme, as well as her personal highlights and route into the museum sector.
Long Loans to Newlyn School

Programme Curator, Cat Gibbard, reports on Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange’s on-going project to take the Arts Council Collection into local classrooms as part of the galley’s National Partners Programme.
Super Black: Behind the Exhibition

Led by people from Essex’s black community, the exhibition Super Black presents artworks from the Collection exploring the complex questions of identity and the experiences of black people living in Britain today.
Going Digital with the Over 75s

Birmingham Museum & Gallery’s latest engagement pilot project sees the gallery’s learning team working with local care homes to explore new opportunities for engaging older audiences.
All Aboard for Family Learning

Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s All Aboard programme introduces local families to works from the Collection, through supported visits and a range of family-friendly activities.
Putting Engagement Centre Stage

Walker Art Gallery's Angelica Vanasse explains how the Gallery worked to put engagement activity centre stage as part of their major exhibition, Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender & Identity.
Revolt & Revolutions Saturday Club

Students from Nottingham Trent University, University of Leeds and Manchester Metropolitan University visit Yorkshire Sculpture Park to explore themes of protest in the National Partners exhibition, Revolt & Revolutions.



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.