The University Collection and long-term loans are the focus of research by staff and research students at Northumbria University. Gallery North is often used as a space where this research is shared through exhibitions, collaborative events, symposia and talks.

Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms

Research into the Woon Collection of Asian Art is carried out through the International Research Centre for the History and Culture of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms, a collaboration between Yunnan Provincial Museum, Northumbria University, and The Woon Brothers Foundation, Singapore. The project aims to promote academic research into the history and culture of the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdoms (dating from 653 – 937 CE and 937 – 1253 CE respectively), located largely in today’s Yunnan province in southwest China. There is more information on this research here: International Research Centre for the History and Culture of Nanzhao and Dali Kingdom.

Norman Cornish Archive

Held at Northumbria University’s University Gallery, The Norman Cornish Family Archive contains items collected from the home and studio of artist Norman Cornish and lent to the University by his family in 2017 for analysis, much of the archive’s contents has never been seen before. The archive houses a range of items from the artist’s life and career including over 250 sketchbooks, hundreds of correspondences, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, books, pamphlets, photographs, films and interviews with the artist. These items are being analysed to shed new light on the artist’s prolific career.

The archive contents also include materials such as unfinished artworks, oil paints, brushes, pastels, watercolours and other art materials used by the artist. These items in particular are being considered by researchers to more fully understand the materials, techniques and process Norman Cornish used to create his iconic artworks. 

Northumbria University and Norman Cornish have enjoyed a long and close relationship. In 1995 Northumbria University awarded Norman Cornish an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law, the University Gallery represented the artist in the 1990’s and 2000’s and the University holds a number of Norman Cornish’s artworks in their permanent collection. The loan of the Norman Cornish Family Archive to the University represents a unique opportunity to learn more about the artist and create new academic and public interest in the renowned artist’s career. The archive’s contents is being surveyed by Lucas Ferguson-Sharp for his PhD research.