Discover the Collection

Arts Council Collection: Discover the Collection

The Arts Council Collection is a rich resource for teaching, learning and engagement both in the gallery and online.

Our regular programme of digital content aims to offer online audiences a chance to learn about and enjoy the Collection, as well as support greater understanding of Arts Council Collection activity across a wide range of projects.

Discover more about the artworks and artists held in the Collection in our monthly artist profiles, watch short films, read blogs about current projects including our ongoing Curators' Days series, explore our archive of accessible learning resources developed in collaboration with learning professionals or browse a selection of beautiful and inspiring publications drawing on the rich body of work represented by the Collection


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The Printed Line

Learn more about the art of printmaking via key works from the Arts Council Collection with Professor Paul Coldwell in our latest educational film.

Paul Coldwell presents an introduction to the four main printmaking techniques found in current Touring Exhibition, The Printed Line, exploring the tools and techniques used and demonstrating the differing characteristics particular to each approach.

From the thick velvety line of drypoint and the heavy cross-hatching of etching to delicate wood engraving and boldly coloured screenprints and lithographs, this exhibition considers how artists have used a variety of printmaking techniques to exploit the potential of the printed line.


> Explore this exhibition

18/19 Acquisitions

The Arts Council Collection continues to grow through the purchase of new work, 59 works by 25 artists were acquired for the nation in 2018-19.  

Recommendations to purchase innovative works of art that reflect artistic practice in Britain today are made by a changing group of external advisors to the Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee. For 2018-19 they were: Anthea Hamilton, artist; Charlotte Keenan, Curator of British Art at Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool; Helen Nisbet, Curator and Artistic Director, Art Night and Fatoş Üstek, Director and Chief Curator at David Roberts Art Foundation (DRAF). The chair of the Acquisitions Committee for 2018-19 was Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair, Arts Council England. The three permanent members of the acquisitions committee are: Jill Constantine, Director, Arts Council Collection; Peter Heslip, Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council England; and Ralph Rugoff, Director, Hayward Gallery, London.

The Art of the Self-Portriat

In the triptych 'Oi!' Gavin Turk is dressed as a tramp. Bleary-eyed and in filthy clothing, he points a finger in what could be seen as an aggressive gesture, were it not for the fact that he is obviously too inebriated to be capable of any extreme action.

In the same year as 'Oi!', Turk also made a life-sized waxwork version of the same tramp, 'Bum'. Both works were the result of Turk's performance as a drunkard at the private view of the now famous 'Sensation' exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997.

In this interview, recorded as part of the Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, In My Shoes, Turk discusses the ideas behind Oi! and how ideas of self-portraiture in art have influenced his practice as well as how changes in technology have altered our relationship with self-portraiture.


> Explore this exhibition

ACC Blog

There, Not There

MA student Saskia Flower from London’s Courtauld Institute reflects on her experience of working with the Arts Council Collection to stage a unique end of year exhibition.
Students Jump Into the Shoes of ACC

Dr Rowan Bailey from the University of Huddersfield reports on an exciting new collaborative project developed alongside Arts Council Collection's latest Touring Exhibition, In My Shoes.
Glasgow International

Following the latest Arts Council Collection Curators’ Day at this year’s Glasgow International, Amy Tobin, Curator at Kettle’s Yard and Lecturer in History of Art, University of Cambridge, reports from Scotland’s largest festival for contemporary art.
Engaging Families

Emma Bearman reports from the Arts Council Collection Curators’ Day event, Engaging Families, and considers new ways of engaging family audiences in art galleries and museums.
Towards Civic Engagement

Ellen Mara De Wachter reports from our Arts Council Collection Curators’ Day at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough.

Artist of the Month

Carol Rhodes

Curator Brian Cass, Head of Exhibitions at Towner Art Gallery, focuses on the work of Carol Rhodes, Glasgow-based painter whose work often depicts oblique landscapes, detached views of non-places as if seen from a low-flying aircraft.
Emma Hart

Emma Hart’s multidisciplinary practice includes sculpture, video, photography and performance. Her recent ceramic pieces possess an unruly aesthetic and are often autobiographical.
Caragh Thuring

Often painting directly on to untreated linen rather than the traditional white canvas, Caragh Thuring creates what she refers to as ‘speculative environments’.
Kim Lim

Born in Singapore in 1936, Kim Lim moved to the UK at the age of 18 to study at St Martin’s School of Art in London (1954-56). Here, Lim developed a particular interest in wood carving.


On Paper

Including an original text by writer Ian Sansom, On Paper offers a new perspective on a common material, displaying some of the most creative applications of the medium.
Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence...

With an introductory text by curator Natalie Rudd and an in-depth new essay by curator and writer Sam Cornish, this compact publication presents the work of over 20 artists, including Robyn Denny, Tess Jaray, Phillip King, Kim Lim and Jeremy Moon.
A Century of Prints in Britain

Showcasing over 200 highlights from the Arts Council Collection, A Century of Prints in Britain explores the radical transformations that have shaped British printmaking throughout the twentieth century to today.
Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles

25 years after its first showing, Antony Gormley: Field for the British Isles offers an invigorating new perspective on this seminal and much-loved work of twentieth-century British art.



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.