Developed as a way to help the nation better engage with art during lockdown, the tool allows users to build their own online exhibition from 250,000 artworks held at 3,300 collection venues.

While predominantly targeted at the general public, Art UK is also keen for the platform to be used by museums and other public collections that wish to fashion digital exhibitions of physical shows that can’t currently open as well as future exhibitions they would like to stage.

This, it points out, can be a hugely beneficial tool for these institutions to reach an audience of 2.5 million people while none of them can welcome visitors in person. To further support cohesion amongst the sites responsible for the nation’s artworks, Art UK is rallying behind the new #CollectionsUnited campaign.

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An example of the showcase format in Curations

Further, the tool is also launched with the hope of assisting teachers’ delivery of creative learning – both as a planning resource for staff and a platform for students to present their work.

This will complement the aims of Art UK’s Schools Learning portal. Set to go live in the autumn, it is designed to help students and teachers “fully exploit the substantial educational resource that is Art UK, and connect them to learning resources at Partner collections”.

Andrew Ellis, Art UK’s director, says the Curations platform is an “example of what is possible when you digitally connect the national art collection”.

Its launch, he continues, “means museums and the public alike can now bring together artworks from institutions across the country, tell the stories behind the art, and share their Curations with others. Art UK is all about democratising the nation’s art collection. Curations takes this a step further”.

An example of the storyline format in Curations

Once completed, creations can be kept private or published publicly and can be shared via social media using the hashtags #CurateYourOwn and #ArtUKCurations.

Subject to funding, Art UK is planning to piggyback the launch of Curations with two other major initiatives.

The first is a data harvesting tool that will allow larger UK art collections to update and add significant numbers of artworks to the site. The second will see a tagging tool introduced so that users can identify more of the subjects depicted in the nation’s artworks.

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