Art UK is delighted to announce a major new project to catalogue the UK's national sculpture collection. This ambitious initiative will see over 100,000 sculptures from inside public collections and outdoors in the nation's streets and squares being shown on the Art UK website by 2020. No other country has attempted such a comprehensive digitisation of its national sculpture collection.
The UK's national sculpture collection is drawn from all over the world – a truly global collection and arguably the greatest in existence. However, a significant proportion is not on display and little of it is photographed. Many public monuments are not fully recorded and are at risk.
This three-year project will focus on sculpture of the last thousand years. All objects will be recorded and most will be photographed, some using 3D imaging.
A variety of exciting learning, engagement, training and volunteering programmes will be taking place across the UK.
Masterpieces in Schools will see 125 great sculptures being taken into primary and secondary schools for the day.
We will also be organising 75 Sculpture Around You activities, which will see us take sculpture into shopping centres or help people develop new skills.
Sixty films about sculpture and sculptors will be made with and by young people, linked to the National Curriculum.
Seven partners will work alongside Art UK to deliver the project: the BBC, the Public Monuments and Sculpture Association, Culture Street, Factum Foundation, the Royal British Society of Sculptors, the Royal Photographic Society and VocalEyes.
As part of the project Art UK will be opening a small office in Glasgow to bring it closer to collections and audiences in Scotland.
Funding for the project is being provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, the Scottish Government and a range of large and small grant-giving trusts, and over 70 individual and corporate donors.
The next few months will see us concentrate on recruiting and training the first project staff and volunteers. We expect to start the digitisation process in the autumn of 2017 and see the first sculptures on Art UK around the beginning of next year.
Having been developing the plans for Art UK for four years, we want to say a huge thank you to all the people and organisations that have supported this ambitious project and helped us get to this point. We are very excited to get started!
Katey Goodwin, Art UK Deputy Director, Head of Digitisation and Public Engagement