About Me – Emily Pringle

I am a researcher and consultant in the fields of visual and community arts, museums and gallery education.  I trained in fine art (my practice was predominantly drawing) and worked as an artist, a freelance researcher and artist educator in galleries during the 1990s. During that time I also worked as the Education Co-ordinator at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. I wrote a piece about these experiences which has been published here.

In 2009 I completed a PhD at the Institute of Education, University of London which focused on the relationship between artistic knowledge and practice and teaching and learning in the contemporary art museum. A paper that summarises some of the findings from my PhD can be found here.

My research during the 2000s centred on the arts and creative learning, artistic pedagogy and gallery education.  In 2002 I was commissioned by the Arts Council of England (ACE) to review their Artists in Sites for Learning scheme, which supported artist-led visual arts projects in cultural and educational settings. The publication which sets the AiSFL projects within a wider examination of creative community situated education practice can be found here.

In 2006 I wrote a text for the Arts Council and engage (the National Association for Gallery Education) that outlined a model of Contemporary Gallery Education which can be found here.

In 2010 I was appointed the Head of Learning Practice and Research at Tate in London.  My role involved supporting the strategic development of research-led practice and initiating and managing research and evaluation programmes within the Learning department across Tate Britain and Tate Modern.  I worked alongside colleagues to implement a values-led research based approach to programming.  In 2012 I co-ordinated the Learning team’s contribution to the ‘Art in Action’ programme for the opening of the Tanks at Tate Modern.  I wrote about the challenges and opportunities of bringing together artists commissioned by exhibition and learning curators here.

In 2014 I established the Tate Research Centre: Learning. The Centre exists to promote research and knowledge exchange and inform practice in the field of learning in galleries.  We organise symposia and conferences, host researchers and instigate and oversee Learning research and evaluation programmes within Tate.  The Centre also provides a forum for sharing and disseminating research from across the sector in the UK and internationally.  Details of the Centre can be found here.

In September 2016 I worked with colleagues to evaluate Tate Exchange at Tate Modern.  Tate Exchange was a five-year ‘experiment in practice’ that explored with artists and collaborating organisations how art can make a difference to people’s lives and to society.  Throughout the first pilot year of the programme we documented what took place and how best to capture and assess the changes brought about in the organisations and participants taking part.  The findings were documented in two publications – an evaluation report and a text that details the evaluation process itself, which can be found here:

Other writing I have done over the last seven years has included a 2014 text written collaboratively with Jennifer DeWitt on how learning is constructed within the art museum, which can be found here.

From September 1st 2017 to August 20th 2018 I was on a ten month sabbatical from Tate as I was awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship to explore research  practices in the gallery.  I have published a paper on this topic which can be accessed here and written a book ‘Rethinking Research in the Art Museum‘ published by Routledge in 2019.

I was appointed Head of Research at Tate in February 2019, a role I occupied until December 2022.  In this role I worked with colleagues to develop the Tate Research strategy and create a vibrant research culture across the museum.  I was the principal investigator on the AHRC funded Provisional Semantics:  Addressing the challenges of representing multiple perspectives within an evolving digitised national collection project which focused on how museums and heritage organisations can engage in decolonising practices to produce search terms, catalogue entries and interpretations fit for purpose in the twenty-first century.

During this period I reflected on how research can be a positive agent of change in the post-pandemic museum in a paper that can be accessed here.  I also wrote about why change can be difficult in museums in a chapter in this excellent publication – Theorizing Equity in the Museum.

In December 2022 I left to focus on freelance research and consultancy. I am continuing to test ideas and develop my thinking with great colleagues within the organisation and beyond.

Do please contact me if you would like any more information.

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