From April 2019, Ian is linked though his voluntary support and association with Art UK , a cultural education charity that looks to enable global audiences to learn about the UK’s national art collection.
Acting for them in his free time, Ian has recently been inducted as an Art UK Sculpture Volunteer, to work part-time as both a researcher and photographer to help catalogue outdoor sculpture in the public realm (i.e. not including such things as church or gallery collections or other temporary public art). His allocated area to research and record is to be the three West Midlands districts of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Moorlands.
Art UK believe in democratising access to art, and it’s current major project is documenting and digitising the nation’s sculptures – both in collections and in public spaces. The project is being done in conjunction with the National Recording Project of the Public Monuments & Sculpture Association (PMSA), of which Ian is also a Member.
The UK is set to become the first country in the world to create a free-to-access online photographic showcase of its publicly owned sculpture. The first photographic records began appearing on the Art UK website in early 2019. Many of these 100,000 works are without records, images or online access, and many public monuments are not fully recorded and are at risk. This ambitious project will transform the way people access and learn about sculpture heritage. The database, part of which is already searchable via the ArtUK website, will allow audiences to share knowledge, exchange opinions and visit sculptures – both in person and virtually.
Volunteer Researchers are helping to record the details of public sculpture found outdoors in town centres, parks, etc, such as the sculptures’ titles, owners, and biographical details of both subject and sculptor. Volunteer Photographers then take images of outdoor sculptures in public ownership in their local area. They record sculptures in parks, town centres, shopping centres and in rural locations. The images are for use on the Art UK website, which will eventually record all sculptures in public ownership – indoor and outdoor.