University Gallery and Baring Wing

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The Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic Art Gallery was established in 1977 as a teaching gallery and a crucial link between town and gown. The gallery’s policy was to present exhibitions by artists of national and international distinction, in addition to shows by less established but promising artists.

Mara-Helen Wood was appointed Exhibitions Officer in 1978 and two years later she curated the gallery's first major international exhibition with paintings by Edvard Munch, on loan from the Munch Museum Oslo.

Major UK touring exhibitions of Munch's work followed in the 1980s, including Munch and Photography in 1989, firmly establishing the gallery's international profile.

In 1992 Newcastle Polytechnic was awarded status as Northumbria University and Miss Wood was appointed Director and Keeper of Collections of the University Gallery. Also that year, Miss Wood was invited to curate the Edvard Munch Frieze of Life exhibition at The National Gallery, London.

University Gallery initiated high profile exhibitions with touring links in America, Japan, Greece, Italy and Germany while maintaining an annual programme of exhibitions by artists of regional and national distinction.

The gallery specialises in contemporary painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography exhibitions, as well as historic and thematic loan exhibitions from national collections. Exhibitions are supported by scholarly publications, interpretative literature and an education programme for adults and children, including public lectures, art classes and study days.

In 2003-2004, with grant support from the Baring Foundation, Northern Rock and the Monument Trust, the gallery underwent a major redevelopment programme to improve access, double the exhibition space and create a highly visible public entrance.

Nico Widerberg’s impressive sculpture Pillar Man, commissioned by ACE and Newcastle City as part of the Hidden Rivers programme, marks the entrance to the University Gallery. It is one of three other major sculptures, commissioned by the university as part of its ‘Percent for Art’ policy.

In 2008 the University Gallery’s sister organisation Kings Place Gallery opened in Kings Place, London, providing a touring link for exhibitions and events initiated by the University Gallery. This unique and enterprising development placed the University of Northumbria at the heart of the Kings Cross regeneration area, which included the relocation of Central St Martins in 2012 on the site opposite.

University Gallery also provides training and work experience for students, as well annual placements for graduate and post-graduate students from Northumbria and Newcastle Universities.

Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection, comprising over 350 works, reflect the exhibition programme’s strong regional, national and international links created since its inception.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Mon-Thurs 10.00-17.00
Fri-Sat 10.00-16.00

Closed: Sundays and Bank holidays

Admission charges


Collection details

Fine Art, Photography

University Gallery and Baring Wing
Northumbria University
Sandyford Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear



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0191 227 4424


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