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Friday, 07 September 2018
By Laura-Jade Vaughan

Unusual Facts about Nottingham Contemporary

Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head, 2017. Installation view at Nottingham Contemporary. Generously supported by The Ampersand Foundation.


Our 2017 installation by Lara Favaretto caused a stir. Thinking Head - an artwork where steam rose from the top of our building – was mistaken for being a fire at the gallery. The artwork has become famous, even making an appearance on Have I Got News for You.


We have held lots of events, including talks by international artists, but did you know we’ve held a lecture by Nottingham designer Paul Smith, a discussion with graphic novelist Alan Moore, and we’ve hosted the feminist writer Germaine Greer. We’ve programmed music gigs by The Futureheads, Sun Ra Arkestra, Don Letts, and more recently Neneh Cherry performed among the tapestries of her grandmother, Moki Cherry.

© Nathan Dainty – VeryCreative

The first public appearance of Harry and Meghan was made at Nottingham Contemporary after they announced their engagement. Crowds gathered outside our venue to see the royal couple attend an event organised by Terrence Higgins Trust- a charity supporting those affected by HIV & fighting against stigmatisation & discrimination.


In 2017, we worked with students from Farnborough Academy in Clifton, Nottingham, to develop new work that reflected their hometown. The students work was then featured in an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary and at the very prestigious National Portrait Gallery in London.

Credit: Peter Anderson

The steps at the side of our building have an unpleasant history. In 1844 Nottingham’s notorious murderer William Saville was publicly executed. The event attracted large crowds and got out of control, leading to a large crush where people were being trampled, and tragically 12 people died.


Our building is green, gold, concrete… and pink? Have you ever spotted that the air conditioning unit on top of our building is actually coloured pink? It was a last-minute decision from our architects, meant as a playful metaphor that the building’s pink knickers were accidentally on show.


Our lace heritage is seen in our building. Did you know that our building is embedded with an antique cherry blossom lace design by Richard Birkin from 1847, that was discovered in a time capsule buried on our building’s site?


We’re based in the oldest site in the city, home to a Saxon town hall and jail, and a Victorian railway tunnel. The remnants of an old railway tunnel runs from our venue to the old Victoria Railway Station, where Intu Victoria Centre sits today.


Our building is cuts into Nottingham’s sandstone cliffs, making it seem larger on the inside than the outside. You might find our venue has a cavernous underground vibe. Nottingham has hundreds of man-made caves- many yet to be discovered.


Posted by ljvaughan at 15:17    COMMENTS
Wednesday, 05 September 2018

Did you know that Nottingham Contemporary is a registered charity?

Although we’re best known for our regular free exhibitions, we also do a lot within our local city and beyond.

We have dedicated teams who work incredibly hard on community projects, school and college programmes, young peoples’ projects and more, with a mission to spark ideas, conversations and debates around art and current issues in the world.



Our young peoples’ collective, Collabor8, is full of talented people who give up their time to help create events and opportunities for other people their age.

Collabor-8 aims to support young people to shape the programme and make sure young people's voices are heard. They constantly challenge contemporary issues and work creatively to develop events and opportunities for young people in Nottingham.

Collabor8 Collective,  2015.

"Joining Collabor-8 has allowed me to become part of an artistic community of young people. Through it I have been able to work with, and been encouraged by my peers. I’ve gained skills in events planning, facilitation of events, marketing and using social media, as well as gaining self-confidence in a supportive environment. I have learnt about the inner workings of an art gallery, this knowledge has influenced my thoughts on what career I want to pursue after I graduate University and has also sparked my academic interest in art galleries. Attending regular Collabor-8 meetings has also provided me with a break from University life, planning events which are fully realised is very satisfying when done in tandem to working on seemingly endless coursework tasks." - Chloe Austin, Collabor8 Collective and Art History Student.

Want to find out more about Collabor8 and how to join? Click here.

Free Family Activities

There’s plenty of young creatives in our city. Every weekend during our exhibitions and throughout school holidays, we put on free activities for families to explore and create art together.

From making wonderful costumes that the whole family can wear to creating fun furniture with fur, neon and prints, our activities help to connect our youngest visitors to our exhibitions and helps support creativity and curiosity.

Family Activities, photo by Sam Kirby.

Find out what’s coming up this season, click here.

Community Projects

We love working with local community groups across Nottingham and from all walks of life. Listening and understanding different perspectives is what makes contemporary art so vital in the world today.

Often, the groups that we work with have never visited an art gallery before so we invite people to explore our exhibitions and discover their inner-artist though artist-led workshops. Art becomes a way to break down barriers, offering participants the chance to share ideas and experiences, and to communicate visually and creatively.

Find out more about some of the communities we’re working with here.

Schools and Colleges

Contemporary art can surprise and challenge, spark ideas, encourage conversations and debate and build confidence amongst learners. That’s why we offer:

·         Free school visits

·         Free learning resources

·         Opportunities to work with our associate artists

·         Information for teachers

Work with us to bring your classroom to life here.


This National Day of Charity we’d like to remind everyone that we are a charity, and that every donation, no matter the size, helps to develop our work with school and colleges, communities, families and young people.

If you would like to donate to us today, you can give online here, or, next time you visit us, you can give to us in our donation boxes.

Want to find out more ways you can support our galley? Click here.


Posted by llitchfield at 10:23    COMMENTS


Welcome to our blog, written by the Nottingham Contemporary team and guests.

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