Posted August 05, 2010 by admin

British National Art Library
Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington
Cromwell Road
London SW7 2RL
tel. +44 (0)20 7942 2000

The British National Art Library contains more than one million items in total. The catalogue covers all material catalogued from 1987 onwards, plus an increasing percentage of earlier acquisitions.
The NAL is a 'closed access' reference library and does not lend books out to the public. All material must be consulted in one of the Library's reading rooms.
The Computer Catalogue covers all forms of material held by the Library: including exhibition catalogues, trade literature, periodicals, archives, manuscripts, and ephemera. Most of the NAL's periodical holdings are listed in detail. The database also includes records for many other UK libraries' art and design periodical holdings. The same information is also available via

The Tate
Hyman Kreitman Research Centre
London SW1P 4RG
Tel. 020 7887 8838
Fax 020 7887 3952

The Library has over 130,000 exhibition catalogues and the catalogues of permanent and private collections, more than 2,000 journals, a special collection of artists bookwork from the 1960’s onwards and around 300,000 press cuttings on the British art scene. The press cuttings are organized by artist and also by subject. They have at least 2,000 artists' books uncatalogued and a 10 year cataloguing backlog. A collection of archival material (currently numbering over 700 accessions), relating to British art and artists, collectors, critics, writers, galleries and institutions dating from 1900. A smaller amount of earlier British and modern international material is also held. The Archive includes personal papers, correspondence, documents, diaries, photographs, audio-visual material, press cuttings and printed ephemera.

The Research Centre opened to the public 1 May 2002. Access to the Research Centre is quite restricted. It is open, by appointment, to those working in areas covered by their collections by appointment and for reference only. Does not accommodate students. Once members are registered, they receive a one year reader ticket which is renewable.

Whitechapel Art Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High Street
London E1 7QX
Tel. +44 (0)20 7522 7888
Fax +44 (0)20 7377 7887

The Whitechapel archives hold an extensive range of material from the past 100 years. Included in the collection are catalogues, press cuttings and installation photographs as well as other related material.
An initial request for information should be made by phone, letter or email stating purpose of research (research level etc) and material sought as well as name, address, daytime 'phone number and email address. To research material it is necessary to book an appointment and come to the Gallery. Research time in the archive is only available on one day per week and so it is important to make an appointment well in advance.

British Arts Council Visual Arts Library
11 Portland Place
London W1B 1EJ
tel: 020 7389 3008
fax: 020 7389 3101

Library, establ. 1940. Visual arts and artists in Britain, with special emphasis on contemporary art. All media. Totals over 25,000 volumes documenting British art of all periods, but its strength is British art from 1945 to the present. 250 periodical titles, incl. 40 current titles. 2000 files on specific artists, plus 70 feet of general artist files. Archival collection of British Council art exhibition catalogues and posters. Small collections of slides, audio and videotapes. Aspects of archives relating to Visual Arts exhibitions and other exhibitions supported by the British Council, including international Biennales. (Other components of the departmental archives are in the Public Record Office and the Tate Gallery Archives of British Art.) Twentieth century art in Britain, including painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, photography, artists films and videos, installation, performance, plus some architecture, craft and design.

Card catalogue converted to online version 2000. Electronic files of periodical holdings, indexes to artist files etc. Reference only. Researchers are admitted at the discretion of the librarian - and by appointment. Limited access for the disabled. Online Catalogue

MAKE Women's Art Library, London
Special Collections
Rutherford Information Services Bldg.
Goldsmiths College
University of London
New Cross
London SE14 6NW
Tel: 00 44 (0)20 7717 2295

MAKE Resource is a publicly accessible research collection housing over 200 000 slides and transparencies, 5 000 books, catalogues and artists' books, 100 audio tapes,100 video tapes, and press-cuttings on over 8 000 women artists. Collected from artist-members, publishers, and other supporters for over twenty years, MAKE Resource is one of the world's most comprehensive information centres on contemporary and historical women artists. MAKE, formerly known as the Women's Art Library, is a visual arts organization established in 1982 with visual and text documentation on the work of women artists. Special emphasis on contemporary work. All media and international coverage. It has published a magazine devoted to art by women since 1983.

Access: Researchers are welcome to work directly with the collection: photocopying from reference material and viewing archival material. Special arrangements can be made to supply images in different formats, and determine copyright. MAKE Research also operates a research service via post, telephone, and email

17, 3rd Floor Wards Building
31-39 High Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
England NE1 1EW
tel: +44 (0) 191 233 1450
fax: +44 (0) 191 233 1451

The Locus+ Archive at the University of Sunderland is the largest archive of time-based work in the UK. The Locus+ Archive (incorporating material from the Basement Group and Projects UK) forms a comprehensive historical overview of time-based work from the early 70s to the present, covering artist's projects from a variety of British and international contexts. Documenting individual and festival events and work ranging from performance art to sculpture, conceptual work to site-specific installation, the Locus+ Archive is an invaluable resource for arts organizations, museums, critics, lecturers, students and artists. Consisting of approximately 16,000 photographic images, and over 300 hours of raw and edited video material, the Locus+ Archive is one of Europe's largest repositories of documentation of time-based work.

Performance Arts Digital Research Unit
School of Art & Design at Nottingham Trent UK
The Live Art Archive Office
Victoria Studios
The Nottingham Trent University
Burton Street
Nottingham NG1 4BU
England UK
tel/fax: +44 (0) 115-848 6831
The 20th Century Live Art Archive [LAA]
The National Review of Live Art Video Archive [NRLA]
The Digital Performance Archive [DPA]

There are 3 main archives, each online:

20th Century Live Art Archive [LAA] The paper collection recording Live Art events (handbills, posters, reviews etc., almost exclusively UK based) from the 1980s was continued and catalogued and in 1994 digitized and put on line. It includes material through 31st December 2000. They are now developing a Twenty First Century equivalent. If we put it all in a pile it would be about 8 metres high I guess - in practice stored alphabetically by practitioner/group name. All items in the Live Art Archive MUST, as a 'requirement', have a hardcopy source of some sort (handbill, poster, review, at the very least a published listing). It also contains the UK Arts Council of England live art brochure collection (c. 1996-1999)

The National Review of Live Art Video Archive [NRLA] The NRLA is an annual festival of new work that started in Nottingham in the late 1970s, and subsequently moved to London and then Glasgow. Records of the very earliest work remain scarce but a video record had been made since the mid 1980s; the NRLA contains the entire back collection and catalogue. The annual NRL festival continues and they now assist with that annual recording process. About 400 mostly PAL VHS tapes, expanding to include yearly festivals. They previously housed (but didn't own) the archives of 'Live Art Magazine' but they are currently 'up for sale' to the highest bidder; about 6 office-size 4 drawer filing cabinets.

The Digital Performance Archive (DPA) documents computer technologies in performance - from live theatre and dance productions that incorporate digital media, to cyberspace interactive dramas and webcasts. Online searchable database of virtual theatre performance and related events 1990-2000, including selected video documentation and statements by creators. They have 80 PAL VHS videos, housed in Special Collections of University Libraries at Nottingham Trent; 30 CD Roms (from 1999/2000.) The DPA has a small collection of papers as listed on the website - about 2 file drawers.

Access: Do not have specialist air-controlled archive stacks (they do in the University Library of course for the DPA videos, as necessary); but do have 'purpose-adapted' rooms and viewing facilities etc. All websites are backed up and failsafe copies kept in specialist facilities off the premises. All the facilities that are uses for storage are 'archive approved' - i.e. acid free etc - and alarmed. DRU maintains an access service for bona-fide researchers on site. Advance notice is essential and access to some early NRLA videos may be restricted until processed. The DPA videotapes are viewable in the Special Collections University Libraries at Nottingham Trent and Salford (our partners in the DPA project). No copies may be made without the express permission of the individual copyright holders. Initial contact should be made via the DRU office (+44 (0) 1158 48 6831) or email

BALTIC The Center for Contemporary Art
South shore Road
Gateshead NE8 3BA
tel: 0191 478 1810
Fax 0191 478 1922

A major new international centre for contemporary art, opened July 2002. Situated on the South bank of the river Tyne in Gateshead, in the north of England. Housed in a 1950s grain warehouse (part of the former Baltic Flour Mills), BALTIC is a site for the production, presentation and experience of contemporary art. With no permanent collection, a program that places a heavy emphasis on commissions, invitations to artists and the work of artists-in-residence. There is a library and archive for the study of contemporary art

Collection: BALTIC Reference Library and Archive are located on Level 2 behind the main reception area. The Reference Library is a major repository of literature and documentation on the art and artists of our time. It has an up to date and rapidly growing collection of monographs, catalogues, periodicals and other media on contemporary visual culture. The Archive is a digital and document archive of all BALTIC projects.

Access: The BALTIC Reference Library and Archive will be accessible to research students, artists and the public by appointment.

Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) London
6-8 Standard Place
Rivington Street
London EC2A 3BE
tel: +44 20 7729 9616
fax: +44 20 7729 9509

Collection: inIVA creates exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects, designed to bring the work of artists from culturally-diverse backgrounds to the attention of the widest possible public. Established in 1994, InIVA is based in Hoxton, East London, where it houses a library for public use and a project space. inIVA's reference library has a continually expanding collection of monographs, catalogues, periodicals, slides and other media on visual arts and cultural studies, focusing on contemporary art from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the work of British artists from different cultural backgrounds. The wealth of material includes over four thousand exhibition catalogues, a thousand monographs - covering cultural, political, gender and media studies - and over 150 periodicals, including titles not readily available in the UK. The collection benefits from some 4,500 slides (plus ephemera), which are stored in a collection of active artists' files.

Access: Library visitors can access the collection on an easy-to-use computerized catalogue. inIVA Library catalogue

Aavaa - The African & Asian Visual Artists Archive
University of East London - Docklands Campus
Royal Albert Way
London E16 2QJ
tel: (020) 8223 3405
fax: (020) 8223 7508

Special archive and library established in 1989. Contemporary visual arts and artists based in Britain from the African and Asian diasporas. Also incorporates visual arts information and publications from around the world. All media. The collection consists of 6,000 slides of artworks and installation slides of exhibitions. There are over 200 artist folders with press cuttings, exhibitions invites, CVs and biographical details. The archive has recently begun to gather files on art historians, curators and cultural critics. In addition there are over 150 videos by, and about artists and nearly 4,000 books and other published material on the bookshelves.

British Chinese Artists' Association
Interchange Studios
Hampstead Town Hall Centre
213 Haverstock Hill
London NW3 4QP
tel: 020 7813 0086

Established in 1991, BCAA aims to promote the developments within Chinese arts and artists of Chinese descent living and working in Britain. Maintains the British Chinese Artists' Association Database of over 200 artists, covering all areas of the arts including visual artists, film & video, literature, performance & music; loose collection of slides, images and exhibition catalogues.

University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Center
London College of Communication
Elephant and Castle
London SE1 6SB
tel. +44 (0)20 7514 9333

The University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre makes available collections that inform, inspire, encourage and excite a diverse range of audiences in support of their creativity, learning and research in the arts, design and communications. A complete list of collections can be viewed here.

Chelsea College of Art and Design Library
The Library
Chelsea College of Art & Design
Manresa Road
London SW3 6LS
Tel: 020 7514 7773

The Special Collections at Chelsea College of Art and Design Library are used for teaching, learning and research in support of the main library collection, and have a strong emphasis on modern and contemporary art. As well as important collections of rare books and periodicals, and catalogues raisonnés, they include a variety of contemporary art collections that are listed here.

Access: Reference collection access is by appointment only.
Documentation on individual artists can be accessed through the main library catalogue available through the Chelsea site

Chinese Arts Centre
Chinese Arts Centre
39-43 Edge Street
Manchester M4 1HW
tel: 0161 832 7271
fax: 0161 832 7513

Arts Association, established in 1987. Organization promotes and organizes Chinese arts activities in the UK. Extensive access and contacts to Chinese arts in the UK, various Chinese associations as well as Chinese community. A database containing more than 3500 contacts relating to Chinese artists as well as associations. Both contemporary and traditional Chinese arts in the UK.

University of Essex, Collection of Latin American Art
University of Essex
Department of Art History and Theory
Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ (UK)
Tel: 01206 873971
fax: 01206 873702

UECLAA is the only public collection of Latin American Art in Europe, with major examples by artists such as Matta, Kuitca, Tunga, Cruz-Diez, Meireles. It has grown -exclusively by donation- to nearly 600 works from 21 countries and includes painting, sculpture, video, sound, installation, prints and photographs, the majority dating from the last 30 years. It also hosts a continually expanding archive of material on Latin American artists including ephemera.

In April 2005 the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art launched UECLAA Online as a fully searchable catalogue accessible to internet users worldwide. It contains images of each artwork, texts on every artist, unique artists' statements, the ueclaapedia - a glossary devised to illuminate themes and terms arising from the study of Latin American Art, and - for each of the countries represented by the Collection - a concise summary of developments in modern and contemporary art.

Related: The Albert Sloman Library holds the most comprehensive collection of Latin America-related publications (80,000 volumes, 120 current periodicals, 1,500 non-current periodicals. Online access to the complete catalogue.

British Artists’ Film and Video Study Collection
Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design
107-109 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0DU
tel. +44 (0)20 7514 8159

Established in 2000, the British Artists' Film and Video Study Collection is a research project led by Senior Research Fellow David Curtis and Research Fellow Steven Ball concentrating on the history of artists' film and video in Britain.
The Study Collection welcomes post-graduate researchers, curators, programmers, artists, anyone interested in the academic study of British Artists' Film and Video.
The Study Collection is a unique resource, it consists of an extensive range of reference materials including video copies of artists' works, still images, historical posters and publicity materials, paper documentation and a publications library. Donations to the collection are gratefully received.
Researchers are welcome to make an appointment to visit and browse the collection.

Architectural Association School of Architecture Library and Archives
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES
Tel: +44 (0)20 7887 4036

Founded in 1862, the Library holds more than 40,000 volumes on the history of architecture, architectural theory, contemporary architectural design, building types, interior design and landscape design. In addition to the most up-to-date architectural publications, it also houses special collections of material on the Modern Movement, international expositions, and the Garden City movement. The Library receives 110 current periodicals and holds a substantial number of important historical magazines, including Wendingen and L’Architecture Vivante.
The AA Archives consist of 500 cubic feet of documents and in excess of 2,000 architectural drawings, paintings and works on paper. It documents the administrative and educational history of the AA and acts to preserve examples of the Association's material culture and graphic output. The process of gathering together and listing all surviving material was started in 2007 and work has just begun to catalogue the complete holdings and new accessions.

Last update: 1-2010