Barber Association


The Barber Association is a new organisation for our beloved Barber aficionados!

Lady Barber stipulated that the Barber Institute of Fine Arts should be an arts centre for use ‘…by the University, in perpetuity, for the study and encouragement of art and music’.

With this in mind, the Barber Association is a membership society which encourages students to help shape a more effective, dynamic and creative arts centre for the university, whilst themselves enjoying a number of exclusive benefits.

Whether it’s music, art, museums or meeting other students, our wide-ranging programme offers something for everyone.

Benefits include:
• Socials throughout the year
• Behind-the-scenes sneak-peeks
• Practical art workshops
• Visits to campus collections and regional museums
• Having your say about Barber exhibitions and events
• Regular exclusive art and music offers

…..and much much more! You can also find us on Facebook

Annual membership is FREE for all first year undergraduate and postgraduate History of Art and Music students at the University of Birmingham, and just £6.50 for everyone else to take part in the rest of this year’s activities. Sign up at the Barber Institute reception or for more information email

Below are some highlights of upcoming Barber Association events:



Wednesday 22 January

2 3.30pm (Meet at Research and Cultural Collections, 32 Pritchatts Road)

An afternoon at University of Birmingham’s Research and Cultural Collections

Discover the diverse and surprising collections held within Research and Cultural Collections including decorative arts, science instruments and objects exploring the University’s own heritage.  You will also have the opportunity to take part in an object handling workshop with RCC staff exploring how to work with, interpret and curate objects.

8 places available

Booking essential.  Barber Association members only.




Wednesday 5 February

Behind the scenes at the Cadbury Research Library

2 3.30pm (Meet at the Muirhead foyer exhibition cases at 2pm)

A tour through the Cadbury Research Library, home of the University’s Special Collections. You will have the opportunity to see inside the strong rooms where the manuscripts and rare books are stored and visit the conservation studio, including a practical demonstration of Japanese lining techniques by the paper conservator. The tour will include a viewing and handling session of some of the highlights from the collections as well as an introduction to the current exhibition: Art and Anatomy curated by Professor Alice Roberts.

15 places available.

Booking essential.  Barber Association members only.


Wednesday 26 February

Lunchtime lecture followed by a free printmaking workshop

1.10 – 2pm

Lunchtime Lecture  – ‘The who, what, why and where of contemporary art’

Join independent curator and writer Anneka French who will be discussing the ‘ins and outs’ of contemporary art, inspired by our New Art West Midlands exhibition.  Free, just turn up.

2 – 4.30pm

Free printmaking workshop Drypoint

Come along for a taster session in drypoint; a form of printmaking involving scratching a design into a copper plate. See some fabulous examples of drypoint in the Barber’s collection, including Egon Schiele’s Crouching Woman, watch a demonstration of the process, then have a go at making your own drypoint print!

12 places available.  Booking essential.  Barber Association members only.

Crouching Woman, Egon Schiele, 1914          Drypoint on a copper plate



Wednesday 5 March

1.30 4.30pm

Contemporary Art Study Afternoon

Includes free tea and biscuits

Explore new art at the Barber… inspired by our New Art West Midlands exhibition, contemporary art is the focus of this study afternoon of lectures and discussion.

Meet the New Art West Midlands exhibition curators and exhibiting artists to find out more about their work and practice in their own words.  Discussions will also consider the challenges and opportunities facing new artists emerging today and explore what’s exciting in the regional art scene right now.  Find out more about the exhibition at:


Saturday 15 March

10am – 5pm/£10 Barber Association members (RRP/non-members £20)

Visit to Compton Verney

MOORE RODIN exhibition, Collections, Robert Adam architecture and Capability Brown landscape

Join us for a day out at Compton Verney, the venue for what promises to be a compelling setting for a major exhibition of masterpieces by these giants of 20th- and 19th-century sculpture. Undoubtedly one of the region’s cultural gems, this world-class gallery is housed in the historic rooms and a purpose-built contemporary extension of an elegant, Robert Adam-designed mansion – set in parkland designed by Capability Brown in the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. Moore Rodin will span the grounds and the house, which also includes unique collections of Napolitan, Northern European, Chinese and folk art, and British Portraiture. The visit will include a guided tour of the exhibition and introduction to Compton Verney. More information:

The cost of entry to the house and grounds, plus guided tour, and coach travel to Compton Verney, will be heavily subsidised by the Barber Association.


Wednesday 19 March

2 3pm

(3 3.30pm Free tea and cake for Barber Association members, in the foyer)

Speed Art at the Barber!

Expand your knowledge of art through five key paintings with the theme of Life and Death.  A bit like speed dating, you’ll spend a few minutes up close and personal with a picture, with our very own undergraduate and postgraduate history of art students, before moving on to the next one. Unlike speed dating, you might find you don’t want to run a mile at the end, but instead linger a bit longer in the gallery and enjoy free tea and cake with fellow Barber Association members!

This could be you..!  Would you like to work with a postgraduate student to develop and deliver a Speed Art talk for this event?  If so, contact Dr Elizabeth L’Estrange,

FREE, please book your place by emailing


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