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Our Mission, Vision, and Values

Mission and Purpose

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts’ mission is directed by the vision of our founder, Lady Barber, who established a museum for the purpose of ‘the study and encouragement of art and music’ on the University of Birmingham’s campus. The Barber cares for its internationally significant collections and Grade-1 listed building, and these underpin its innovative and inspirational programmes of art and music. Lady Barber also envisioned the Barber to be a hub for the ‘social life’ of the University – a space that could connect people; our mission extends beyond the campus today, to local, national, and international communities.


We believe that the arts matter because of the positive impact that they can have upon people’s lives.

Our vision is for the Barber to be a welcoming and responsive museum, whose collections and innovative art and music programmes inspire creativity and curiosity. By 2032, the Barber will be boldly connecting art and music, pioneering research, and people together. It will be used, and valued, by our diverse communities and recognised as a leading university museum on an international level.

We aim to be:

1.  A museum that strives to make its growing internationally significant collections and programmes relevant to people’s lives today.

2.  A museum that takes risks and innovates, whilst celebrating its long history, quality, and heritage.

3.  A welcoming and responsive museum that puts people and their well-being at its heart.

4.  A committed convenor of, and collaborator with, researchers and communities.

Barber Values

We are:

·         Ambitious

·         Collaborative

·         Committed

·         Creative

·         Inclusive

The barber foyer filled with tables, colourful chairs with families sitting on them

In the summer of 2023, the Barber began the process of reviewing its mission, vision, and values. These are also informed by the University of Birmingham’s 2030 mission. Over the next two years, this development and consultation process will continue, to enable the Barber to arrive at a vision for 2032 (the centenary of its foundation) and beyond.

The above is the result of our first stage review. We welcome your thoughts about our work and if you would like to send any comments, please email us at

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