barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

From the Director

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is closed to the public until further notice to ensure the safety of all staff and visitors and as part of the national effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus).

The Prime Minister’s announcement, 23 June, to allow the reopening of museums and galleries to the public from 4 July was very welcome, and marks the beginning of a new stage in our journey out of this damaging and disruptive pandemic. Museums and galleries will be an important part of the recovery process and all of us at the Barber are eager to be part of this renewal. We want to welcome back our visitors and let our wonderful galleries be experienced and enjoyed again, and, importantly, we are also committed to opening up new dialogues reflecting on the crucial societal issues which have been foregrounded over these turbulent months.

However, it is recognised across the sector that re-opening will be a gradual process, with each museum assessing its own situation and putting in place measures to prioritise the health and safety of staff and visitors. This is a big responsibility and a complex undertaking, and we must get it right. Planning, following government, museum sector and University of Birmingham guidelines, is well underway; however, I cannot yet say when we will re-open the Barber to the public. This will be when we can be confident that we can provide a safe and satisfying visit and will be part of the phased reopening of the University of Birmingham’s campus, which remains closed to the public at the time of writing. Please continue to check this website for further updates on the Barber and see the University of Birmingham’s website for more information about the campus as well as a wealth of news on important Covid-19-related research being undertaken by our academic colleagues.

Alongside preparing for re-opening in a post-lock down but still very challenging environment, we remain busy developing our digital offer, a growing strand of activity which has been a hugely positive outcome of the crisis. I hope you have enjoyed getting to know the collections better through our regular Tuesday talks and spent time exploring our latest exhibition organised in partnership with Royal Collection Trust and curated by MA students at the University of Birmingham: Sights of Wonder: Photographs from the 1862 Royal Tour. This, the Barber’s first fully on-line show, is being ‘visited’ by thousands of art-lovers from across the globe, while Barber Home, our online learning resource, offers a varied weekly menu of activities for all ages, and has allowed us to initiate new collaborations supporting our local artists and other creative practitioners.

Please do get in touch with questions or comments to I look forward to sharing more information about our plans very soon, and, in the meantime, the Barber is always ‘at home’ on this website, so please do make time to join us.

Very best wishes

Nicola Kalinsky,





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