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The Midland Group


The Midland Group was the most significant organisation involved in the presentation of new art in Nottingham and the East Midlands from its founding in 1943 to its closure in 1987. Its exhibitions and activities created new audiences for contemporary art; raised significant debates concerning education, representation, and new art forms; established networks with peer organisations within the country, and connected to and fostered new currents of international art within the region and beyond.

The extensive exhibition and institutional history of the Midland Group has never been comprehensively mapped. Building on the work of Cultural Geographer Hannah Neate and others, Nicholas Alfrey (Art History, University of Nottingham) and Isobel Whitelegg (The Public Programme, Nottingham Contemporary) are overseeing a funded Post-Doctoral Placement project focused on completing a scoping study of the public archives of the Midland Group Gallery.

This initial project will form the foundations of further research, exploring the Midland Group in relation to the wider critical and historical issues at stake for non-collecting contemporary art institutions. It is funded by Archives, Assets and Audiences; led by Professor Steve Benford (University of Nottingham) in collaboration with NTU and the University of Leicester, this is an AHRC Creative Knowledge Exchange Project that aims to generate new thinking and new partnerships by focusing on archives in relationship to the new possibilities of access and co-authorship offered by digital media.