Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games period

The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be taking place across Birmingham and the West Midlands from 28 July to 8 August. The University of Birmingham is an Official University Partner, the host of the Games’ principal athletes’ village, the official competition venue for hockey and squash, and a training venue for swimming and athletics. During … Read more

Dürer: The Making of a Renaissance Master

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) combined an unparalleled virtuosity as painter and draftsman with an innovative approach to printmaking. He also possessed a shrewd entrepreneurial sense, and an ability to portray subjects and issues that appealed to the general public and the highest-ranking patrons alike – including the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian I. These factors … Read more

Gallery training is the business

How can exploring pictures in an art gallery improve management and marketing practice for business leaders of the future? That is the question that has been considered by more than 450 students from Birmingham Business School visiting the Barber’s galleries  as part of a groundbreaking initiative aimed at decolonising business and management education. During February … Read more

Reclaiming Narratives: The Portrait

A Photography Workshop Series with Artist Marley Starskey Butler Right now is the history of tomorrow! What do the portraits around the College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS) say about who and what is considered important in your place of study? Who should be portrayed and placed in the University of Birmingham archives? And … Read more

Student Events: Winter 2022

Upcoming events Find our student events programme below – open to all students, no art experience needed. January Watch this space for our UoBe Festival 2022 events. February Tuesday 1 February, 1.15 – 2pm – Drop in and Draw (free) March Tuesday 1 March, 1.15 – 2pm – Drop in and Draw (free) Wednesday 9 … Read more

Miss Clara and the Celebrity Beast in Art, 1500 – 1860

Long before Grumpy Cat, Dolly the Sheep or Red Rum, there was Miss Clara, a female Indian rhinoceros who achieved an unprecedented level of fame during the 18th century. Weighing in at around 5,000 lbs or 2268 kgs, Miss Clara disembarked in Rotterdam in 1741 after being transported from Bengal by an enterprising Dutch sea-captain, … Read more

The Last of England is a first for the Barber

Visitors this New Year will be greeted by three of the greatest paintings from the collection usually on display at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The trio of internationally significant masterpieces have been lent by Birmingham Museums Trust for a two-year period to the Barber – where they will hang among our own collection. The … Read more

The First Dictators

Politics, Propaganda and the Collapse of the Roman Republic If you thought fake news, personal propaganda – and political strongmen shifting democracies toward dictatorship – were modern phenomena, then this exhibition invites you to think again. The First Dictators explores how coins were used for propaganda purposes during the dying days of the Roman Republic … Read more

Founding the Barber Institute

An arts centre ahead of its time  ‘… the wish that we might build, equip and endow, and present to the University, such building or buildings, as would create a neuclus [sic] for an Art Museum or Gallery, and so form an Art Centre for the University’ – Lady Barber, October 1932 ‘Portrait of Lady … Read more

Beyond Representation

Redefining Perception in the 20th Century International artists of the 20th century constructed new perceptions of the world during a time of intense and turbulent change – from huge technological and scientific advancements, to political revolutions and two world wars. These seismic shifts, coinciding with the rise in popularity of photography, called into question the … Read more

Masterpieces on loan

Three scintillating and very different paintings are now on display at the Barber for the first time in a series of swaps with other top UK galleries. Mares and Foals in a River Landscape by the eminent English animal painter George Stubbs (1724 – 1806) – and The Capella Nuova outside the Porta di Chiara, a … Read more

Cats and other Creature Companions

Cats and dogs bring out the positive and playful sides of their human companions and the artists who depict them. This display, which explores companion animals within domestic and rural settings, considers what borders are crossed to allow some animals into human lives, activities and domestic spaces – and what meanings are then bestowed upon … Read more

Barber Schools | Visiting the Barber

Barber Schools | Projects Learn more Barber Schools | Visiting the Barber Barber Schools | Visiting the Barber Learn more Experience our galleries with your students! Our Barber Schools offer invites you to take part in guided tours and self-guided visits for Secondary Schools, KS3-5. This offer is currently free, with advance booking now available … Read more

Meet the artwork

Online Sessions During the Covid-19 lockdowns, we delivered our Barber Schools pilot project. During this pilot, we designed and delivered live online workshops to support at-home learners. These workshops are now available as part of our 2021-22 Barber Schools offer. Allowing us to bring our collection to you, join us for a live online session … Read more

Learning Resources

Learning Resources You can discover our collection through our Barber Schools resources. The Barber’s Learning and Engagement team have designed these bespoke resources which offer opportunities to discover more about artworks in our collection through object-based learning and creative responses.  They also support and encourage you to forge connections to a range of different curriculum … Read more


The Barber’s first physical exhibition since reopening the museum in May is proving a hit with visitors and critics – thanks to the ten postgraduate students who curated the show entirely during lockdown. The Daily Telegraph’s chief art critic, Alastair Sooke, gave Making a Mark – which explores the crucial role of drawing in the … Read more

Degas, De’Anne and Miss La La

Degas, De’Anne & Miss La La: A live desktop performance by De’Anne Crooks This event took place on Wednesday 5 May 2021, 6 – 6.45pm Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando (1879) is a drawing by Edgar Degas of Miss La La, an acrobat of mixed European and African parentage. Exoticised at the time … Read more


The Barber welcomes monetary donations – no matter how large or small. These can be made in several different ways: Online Make a one-off donation using Art Tickets Or, add a donation any time you make a booking! At the Barber In our cash donation box at the entrance to the galleries Via our cashless … Read more

Packing a Punch: British Graphic Satire and Caricature

Caricature, thought to have originated in Italy in the late 16th century, developed out of artists exaggerating their subjects’ physical features for expressive or comical effect. It arrived in England in the 1700s, and by the end of the century, had transformed in its use from mere lampoonery into satire and the comic cartoon. This … Read more

Social Prescribing

A research project As part of the Barber Health project, research is taking place into the social prescribing landscape in Birmingham. Is there a place for the Barber here – and if there is, what does it look like, can we fill the gap, and how can we make it sustainable? If you are not … Read more

Our Nurse in Residence

Meet Jane Nicol The project’s inaugural Nurse in Residence is Jane Nicol, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Nursing and a registered nurse who has specialised in palliative and end of life care.  Jane will be looking at the Barber’s collection through her unique lens and developing ways of using the Barber’s … Read more

Making a Mark

Making a Mark Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Royal Collection ‘Drawing is the father of painting…and the portal to many of the arts’  Karel van Mander, 1604. Exquisite and intriguing 16th- and 17th-century drawings by Dutch and Flemish artists, including Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Dyck, feature in Making a Mark, the Barber’s first physical … Read more

About Barber Health

Barber Health asks: how can we can best support recovery? Thanks to a major grant of £40,000 from the Art Fund’s Respond & Reimagine scheme, the Barber is delivering our health and wellbeing initiative throughout 2021. The project builds on our previous experience of working in this area, but takes it to new levels and … Read more

Drawn to Antiquity

Drawn to Antiquity Works on Paper from the Lawrence Alma-Tadema Collection Print Bay Display The artist whose work inspired the design for Ridley Scott’s Hollywood blockbuster Gladiator comes under the spotlight in this fascinating display. Drawn to Antiquity features twelve drawings from the Lawrence Alma-Tadema Collection at the University of Birmingham’s Cadbury Research Library (Special … Read more

Reclaiming the Foxglove

A revelatory project undertaken by the Barber and the University’s College of Medical and Dental Sciences has explored the fascinating part played by women in the hidden history of a common wild plant – and its role in the treatment of heart disease. Reclaiming the Foxglove is the first instalment of an ongoing partnership between … Read more

The Viewer and the Viewed

‘In 18th-century Britain, landscape – even the picturesque landscape – was a mode of political discourse.’ Ann Bermingham, 2002 The Viewer and the Viewed features eleven works on paper from the Barber’s collection by artists such as Gainsborough, Turner and David Cox, and explores these breathtaking landscapes from a socio-political perspective. Between the mid-eighteenth and … Read more

Tuesday Talks Series Four

Series four Episode 6: 27 July The First Dictators: Politics, Propaganda and the Collapse of the Roman Republic, with Maria Vrij, Coin Curator Listen below or read the transcript to view clearer images. Find out more about The First Dictators, open until 10 July 2022. . Episode 5: 13 July The Viewer and the Viewed, … Read more

Reclaiming the Foxglove

Reclaiming the Foxglove, Cultivating Narratives A joint project between the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and the College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS) In 2021, students and staff from the College of Medical and Dental Sciences joined forces with the Barber Institute of Fine Arts to explore herbalism’s forgotten voices and tales through a … Read more

Fabulous Fantasy Storytelling with CYRO

Fabulous Fantasy Storytelling with CYRO Saturday 29 May, 10 – 11am Free; online via Zoom; for families Families are invited to join Cyro from home and hear heart-warming fables for everyone. Inspired by fairytale objects in the Barber’s collection, show up for this playful online celebration of being yourself during Pride month. The Barber team … Read more

Campus of Curiosity: Spring Family Festival

Campus of Curiosity: Spring Family Festival Friday 2 April – Sunday 18 April 2021. Free; online. Join the Barber, the Lapworth Museum of Geology, and Barber Concerts for a free online family festival full of campus curiosities as we celebrate nature and springtime together. Let your imagination soar above the clouds in our poetry workshop with writer Sipho Ndlovu … Read more