Otobong Nkanga: Wetin You Go Do? 2015 / Tate Purchased with funds provided by the Africa Acquisitions Committee 2017 © Otobong Nkanga

Tate and British Museum focus on research work

Simon Stephens, 31.01.2019
National museums launch new centres
Tate has become the second national museum this year to unveil plans for a research centre following a recent British Museum announcement.

The Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, which was announced last week, is designed to expand on the organisation’s international work. It will build on the work of Tate’s Asia research centre and the organisation’s international acquisitions committees.

The British Museum announced the creation of the Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research on 3 January. The centre, housed in the museum’s Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, aims to support those working in archaeology, history, art and anthropology.

Tate and the British Museum are among a raft of UK museums that are focusing more resources on research.

“Research has always been an integral part of the work of the museum,” said Achim Borchardt-Hume, the director of exhibitions and programmes at Tate. “Historically, much of this effort was primarily focused on studying objects in an existing collection, while over time the focus expanded to include research into new fields of enquiry, including those that determine the way in which a collection grows.

“As our awareness of the limitations of traditional art history, rooted as it was in the canons of the 19th century, has grown, so has our appetite to learn more and to go beyond the historic focus on western Europe and North America to include new geographies, timeframes and works across many different categories, from live art and film to installation and social practice.”

Tate’s research centre will be led by Sook-Kyung Lee, senior curator, international art at Tate. As part of the project, five curatorial posts will become part of Tate Modern’s curatorial team.

Hyundai Motor Company will support the centre for the next five years. During this time the centre will develop a wide range of events including annual symposia, seminars and workshops at Tate and beyond.

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