BBC launches Civilisations programme at National Gallery

Simon Stephens, 07.02.2018
Festival to include more than 250 museums, galleries, libraries and archives
The BBC launched its forthcoming television series Civilisations, which tells the story of art and includes an associated UK-wide festival involving more than 250 museums, galleries, libraries and archives, at London's National Gallery this week.

The nine BBC Two programmes are inspired by Civilisation, a 13-part series about the history of western art, architecture and philosophy broadcast in 1969 and presented by art historian Kenneth Clark. The new Civilisations series will expand the scope of the original programmes to explore the visual culture of societies from around the globe. It will be presented by historians David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama.

The Museums Association (MA) was among the organisations that advised and supported the BBC with the development of the Civilisations Festival, which will take place on 2-11 March.

"The Civilisations Festival is a fantastic partnership between the BBC and museums across the UK," said Sharon Heal, the director of the MA. "Hundreds of museums have seized the opportunity to work with the BBC's production and digital teams to put on an exciting range of events for the public.

"We hope that everyone who is inspired by the Civilisations series will engage with the amazing cultural collections that we have in museums here in the UK, and will take advantage of the festival to reflect on the issues raised in the TV series."

Art Fund provided £20,000 in grants to Civilisations Partners to support their activities.

The BBC has also offered festival partners access to a range of digital technology to showcase and tell the stories of their treasures as part of this new collaboration, including an augmented reality app showcasing collections.