• 1 April to 6 May 2022
  • Deadline 5:00 pm

Would you like to learn more about the art trade and how it operates? Are you interested in how art objects are acquired for collections and displays in museums and galleries? Do you have questions about the relationship between the commercial art world and public funding bodies, and about how curators fundraise and create opportunities for proactive acquisition campaigns? Finally, would you like to have a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the workings of auction houses and art dealerships? If so then read on.

Applications are now open to join a select group of up to twelve participants for a residential three-day Art Trade Seminar. This will take place in London, from 4 to 6 July 2022, during London Art Week, the flagship summer event that showcases world-class art objects from antiquity to the present day. The seminar is designed for emerging curators, academics and scholars with a professional interest in the mechanisms of the art trade, and in the practices and processes of acquiring art for public collections. It is also prompted by the pressing need, recognised by the Arts Council, to provide training and expertise to a more diverse community of regional curators and museum professionals.

The seminar will be organised around a series of visits to high-profile London-based art dealerships, auction houses and museums, with opportunities to engage in discussion with art trade and museum professionals in the context of the market for global objects: historic, modern and contemporary. There will also be a related workshop at the Paul Mellon Centre, with the participation of leading curators and members of funding bodies engaged in providing financial support for acquisitions by museums and galleries. Among the speakers will be representatives from Arts Council England (ACE), the Acceptance in Lieu Panel (AIL), and the Art Fund. Emphasis will be placed upon practical advice on planning acquisition campaigns, and potential sources of funding.

Applications are particularly welcome from people who are in any way under-represented in the curatorial and academic fields. We also welcome applications from all UK-based members of the PMC’s Doctoral Researchers Network (DRN), the Early Career Researchers Network (ECRN) and members of the PMC-supported British Art Network (BAN). To find out more about these networks, and to become a member, please visit our website, here.

The Paul Mellon Centre will provide funding to cover the cost of travel, up to three nights’ accommodation and subsistence. Applicants not in full-time employment or education at the time of the seminar may apply for pro-rata bursaries to support their participation. Additionally, limited discretionary access funds are available to support successful applicants with specific needs.

The Art Trade Seminar will be led by Dr Martin Postle, Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Applicants are invited to submit a 200-word biography and a maximum 400-word abstract, outlining their reasons for wishing to participate, what they hope to learn from the seminar and what they will be able to contribute by way of participation in discussion and debate. Applications should be sent via email to [email protected] by the deadline of 5pm GMT on Friday 6 May.