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York Art Gallery Bursary with Internship

 York Art Gallery

The 2020-21 York Art Gallery Bursary with Internship will provide the successful applicant with a fee waiver worth £8,040, and an opportunity to undertake a 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 bursary with internship is available to students undertaking a Masters degree in History of Art at The University of York. The award will provide a fee-waiver worth £8,040 for one full-time student, commencing their studies in Autumn 2020.

The recipient of the York Art Gallery Bursary with Internship 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 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, upon appointment. 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 student view

The student view

‌‌‌York Art Gallery MA Scholar Placement, Abigail Jubb


What did you work on?

My research project was on the Tillotson Hyde Collection of Drawings and Illustrations, a collection of some 1500 works on paper produced between the early nineteenth and mid twentieth century by over 500 artists and amateurs. Diverse in content and quality, the collection includes artists’ drawings, preparatory sketches and “commercial” artwork. In particular, my research focused on the collection’s social cartoons and caricatures. The outcomes of my project include provenance and object led research, the proposal and preparation of an exhibition on the project, gallery talks and events for the Friends of York Art Gallery programme and the publication of a report on the Friends of York Art Gallery website.

You can find out more about my research project by reading my report, The Tillotson Hyde Collection of Drawings and Illustrations: Research project Report.

What experiences would you say have been most useful or unexpected?

Besides conducting provenance and object-based research on the collection, I proposed and prepared an exhibition of its artworks. This involved curatorial tasks such as creating objects lists, making loan requests, preparing an exhibition proposal and interpretation plan, and researching and drafting interpretation labels. My exhibition proposal proposed the exhibition of costume and textiles objects alongside the works on paper from the Tillotson Hyde collection, which expanded my experience of working with collections. This experience was particularly useful as it gave me an understanding of what goes into curating an exhibition, which will certainly help me to pursue my professional interest in curating, and has encouraged my interest in working with institutions with interdisciplinary collections.

My experiences at York Art Gallery also, unexpectedly, extended outside my research project! I assisted on the install of the ‘Paul Nash and the Uncanny Landscape’ exhibition, designed and delivered public engagement events for the Friends of York Art Gallery’s program, assisted with the learning team’s Sketchbook Circle and contributed research to the visitor experience team’s Instagram project, Sartorial Saturdays, which informed a gallery talk I gave on dress details in the Gallery’s permanent collection of portraits. These experiences have expanded my insight into and interest in the diverse heritage sector.

Who do you work with and how does the institution make use of you?

In short, the Friends of York Art Gallery made use of my art historical knowledge and research skills to further knowledge of York Art Gallery’s collections, providing me with a platform through which to share this at public-facing events.

Primarily, I worked with the Curator of Art, Jennifer Alexander, and Curatorial Assistant, Fiona Green; we had regular supervision meetings to discuss my research project and proposed outcomes, where I learned from their knowledge and expertise. I also met with the Friends of York Art Gallery Committee to discuss my research and the design and delivery of three gallery and two seminar sessions, which were part of their programme of events. These outreach events engaged members of the Friends, and the public, in my research project, and enabled me to use their feedback to plan my research project and its public-facing outcomes.

Besides York Art Gallery’s curatorial team and the Friends of York Art Gallery, I also worked with the Gallery’s visitor experience and learning teams, and the Assistant Curator of costume and textiles when contributing to projects.

What do you value most about your experience with the institution?

Through my experience at York Art Gallery, I feel that I have gained skills in collections research, management, care and interpretation, which have equipped me for a future career in curating. Since completing my research project I have been offered a paid collections internship with Ripon Museums and a paid internship with the Hull Yorkshire’s Maritime City project; prospective employers continue to be interested in my experience at York Art Gallery and the transferable skills and knowledge I gained there.

How has your work with York Art Gallery enhanced your studies at York?

While I approached this partnership as separate from my studies, due to my differing research interests (I specialised in fashion), my experiences at York Art Gallery still enhanced my studies in unexpected ways. In particular, working on the research project developed my provenance and object-led research skills, which were instructive to my Master’s dissertation project. I also found that the public engagement events I delivered at York Art Gallery encouraged my confidence when public speaking, which helped me when presenting academic work.

Do you feel it has been helpful with career planning or improved your job prospects, and if yes, how?

The projects I worked on at York Art Gallery have given me an insight into the diversity of the museums and galleries sector, which has helped me consider what a career in this sector could involve. Personally, this research-focused partnership has furthered my interest in academic research and curating. I am now pursuing further academic study and curatorial roles, and I feel that, to date, the highly transferable skills and knowledge I gained at York Art Gallery have been hugely helpful in my pursuits!

Would you recommend it to future students?

I would recommend this partnership to future students who are interested in provenance and object-led research, public engagement and working with collections. It is an instructive opportunity to gain practical experience working with collections and to gain knowledge and skills in collections research, management and care, all of which will be invaluable to students’ future employability in the museums and galleries sector.

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




To be eligible to apply for this bursary with internship, 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).

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

Please submit an enthusiastic personal statement of no more than 500 words which outlines a possible research topic of your choice, as well as:

  • your awareness of, interest in and commitment to the period / theme / collection(s) detailed in the possible research topic
  • 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 11am BST on Thursday 11 June 2020.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview to take place in the afternoon of Monday 22 June 2020.  Please ensure your availability for attendance via video-conferencing before submitting an application.



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