Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship

The 2018-19 Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship will provide the successful applicant with a partial fee waiver of £5,000, and an opportunity to undertake a volunteer placement at the gallery. Open to all full-time Home/EU and Overseas applicants.

York Art Gallery

About York Art Gallery

York Art Gallery is part of York Museums Trust, a registered charity which also manages The Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum. As such, the gallery works alongside colleagues in learning, volunteering, marketing, enterprise and digital media. York Art Gallery is a major regional art gallery which works in partnership with a range of local, regional and national partners including the Art Fund, Tate and the National Gallery. 

The collections

York Art Gallery’s collections are an outstandingly rich resource with over 1000 oil paintings, 15,000 works on paper, 100 sculptures, 5500 studio ceramics and archival material. Consequently there are still lots of new discoveries to be made, in a supportive and inspiring environment. York Art Gallery reopened in summer 2015 after a major £8,000,000 development project with 60% more display space in which to present major exhibitions, new gardens, exciting learning programmes and also the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). The Gallery has won numerous awards including Family Friendly Museum of the Year Award 2016, was shortlisted for the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award 2016 and most recently won a special commendation at the European Museum of the Year Awards.

About Friends of York Art Gallery

The gallery has a highly supportive and active Friends group which has funded this MA scholarship and which is keen to learn more about York Art Gallery’s collections. You can watch a video about the group here.

The partnership

The partnership

This annual scholarship is available to students undertaking a Masters degree in History of Art at The University of York. The award will provide a partial fee-waiver of £5,000 for one full-time student, commencing their studies in Autumn 2018.

The recipient of Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship will undertake a research project based on York Art Gallery’s collections and this research should also contribute towards their MA dissertation, the topic for which will be agreed by the Gallery and the Academic Supervisor.  The research project will be based on the J.B.Morrell collection of Old Master prints and its outcomes will be determined through discussion with the Curator of Fine Art in partnership with the Friends of York Art Gallery.

The student will work on average one day a week at York Art Gallery on the research project and will also contribute to the Friends of York Art Gallery’s programme of events & activities.  The student will be expected to deliver the following outcomes and will be given full training and support to realise these:

  • Research project as defined by the student, Friends of York Art Gallery and York Art Gallery. Outcomes for this – e.g. digital resources etc will be agreed at the start of the project.
  • At least 1 x lunchtime talk for the Friends of York Art Gallery
  • 1 x 500 word report for the Friends of York Art Gallery newsletter
  • 1 x 2000 word essay on the findings of their research, for publication on the Friends of York Art Gallery/ York Museum Trust website
  • 1 x final report for the Friends of York Art Gallery (approx 300 words)
  • the MA dissertation should relate to the research project, or another aspect of the York Art Gallery collection

The research topic

John Bowes Morrell (1873-1963) was an author and historian from York and a leading public figure in the city. He was involved in the movement to establish the University of York (the JB Morrell Library is named after him), he founded York Conservation Trust, and twice became Mayor of York. From the 1930s until his death in 1963, Morrell gifted and bequeathed a large number of artworks to York Art Gallery, including a collection of Old Master etchings from the 17th and 18th centuries which he gave in 1954. This includes over 200 prints by artists such as Rembrandt, Durer, Van Dyke, Canaletto, Goya, Ruisdael and Lorraine. Some are Italian, French and British, yet the majority are Dutch and Flemish.

The project for this year’s Friends of York Art Gallery MA Research Scholar will be to conduct research into this collection, specifically the Dutch and Flemish aspects. The project may involve identifying the relevant works and researching the artists, individual images, editions and print processes, among other aspects. In October 2019 York Art Gallery is organising an exhibition in collaboration with Jeanne Nuechterlein from the University of York, centred around the 15th Century painting St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child by the workshop of Dieric Bouts from the collection of the Bowes Museum. Alongside this exhibition will be a display of Dutch and Flemish painting from the York Art Gallery collection and the research carried out through this research project will feed into this through the display and interpretation of the prints. The collection has been little researched so this project represents an exciting and unique opportunity to undertake new research leading to tangible public outcomes. In addition to the outcomes required by the Friends of York Art Gallery, other results may include:

  • enhanced knowledge of YAG’s collections for the public.
  • updated information on the collections website and in internal object history files.
  • complementary display to accompany a major loan exhibition on Dieric Bouts and early Netherlandish art, in October 2019. This may include selection of works, research and interpretation.
  • talks or other public outcomes including through digital and social media channels.
  • themes and works identified for future collections displays.

Students should be able to demonstrate an interest in or knowledge of prints and printmaking and ideally of 17th century Dutch and Flemish art. The student will be supervised at the Gallery by the Curator of Fine Art and will be provided with any necessary training including object handling and Adlib, the Collections Database. There may be an opportunity to be involved in other aspects of curatorial work should that be of interest to the candidate.




The student view

The student view

‌‌‌York Art Gallery MA Scholar Placement, Samantha Timm

My education at the University of York and experience at the York Art Gallery have been invaluable and an essential part of my growth as a scholar. The History of Art Department’s instruction and dissertation advising is top-notch, and has helped me solidify research skills which I was able to apply to my work at the York Art Gallery. As the Friends of York Art Gallery’s MA Scholar for 2016-17, I curated two displays in support of the feature exhibition Albert Moore: Of Beauty and Aesthetics. My expertise in 19th-century British art and the style of Aestheticism was well suited for this purpose, especially in writing the exhibition texts and labels for my two rooms featuring 19th-century painting and the Moore family paintings in the collection.

This important feature is the first exhibition of Albert Moore’s work since his memorial exhibition in 1894. The appeal lies in the outstanding and rare selection of works, unified themes of later 19th-century painting, and clever displays.

With the guidance of the Gallery’s Assistant Curator, Jennifer Alexander, I have also honed my ability to draw on the collection’s strengths. Furthermore, I am currently working with the Gallery’s Curator of Learning, Gaby Lees, and facilitating the Welcome Team to curate the Community Chest. The Community Chest is a set of drawers that will contain a vibrant selection of works on paper, accompanied by a small book of interpretive materials and insights about the works.

My experience at studying at the University of York and working at York Art Gallery has been invaluable, and has equipped me to succeed as a museum educator and curator.

Read about the experiences of previous recipients of the Friends of York Art Gallery Research Scholarship:




To be eligible to apply for this studentship, you must already be holding an offer of a place on the taught MA in History of Art, or a related pathway degree. Applications are welcomed from all full-time offer holders, regardless of fee status (Home, EU or Overseas). Please see our general guidance.

If you are yet to submit an application for MA study with us but hope to apply for a partnership studentship, please e-mail us immediately at histart-pg-admission​ for individual guidance. You will need to submit your application for an MA place as a matter of urgency.

How to apply 

Submit an enthusiastic personal statement of no more than 500 words which outlines your preferred research topic, as well as:

  • your awareness of, interest in and commitment to the period / theme / collection(s) detailed in the project description
  • any relevant skills, knowledge and/or experience
  • how you see the award fitting in with and facilitating your career plans

Remember to consult the information regarding the partnership on this webpage, and the partner institution's own website, before you apply.

Please email your personal statement to by 12 noon (BST) Thursday 10 May 2018.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview, scheduled on Wednesday 13 June 2018.  Please ensure your availability for travel and attendance before submitting an application. If you are not in the UK on the interview date it may be possible to arrange interview by skype; please email us ( for guidance.



I have hugely enjoyed the involvement with the Friend of York Art Gallery, in the position of giving talks and even visiting schools, and helping produce a film...

Jye O'Sullivan, Friends of York Art Gallery Scholarship

The partnership students undertake invaluable research on the collections at York Art Gallery, deepening our understanding and making new discoveries.

Laura Turner (Curator of Art), York Art Gallery

I think it is impossible for [the placement] not to contribute to my, or another other student's, job prospects

Jye O'Sullivan, Friends of York Art Gallery Scholarship

Current Partnership Studentships: