Tate Encounters is a three-year research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme. The project started in April 2007 and involves three collaborating institutions: Tate Britain, London South Bank University and the University of the Arts London, through Chelsea College.
The project aims to provide an in-depth account and analysis of a sustained encounter between London South Bank University (LSBU) students who have a migrant family background and Tate Britain as an important national cultural site. The project will develop knowledge and understandings of how narratives of Britishness are contained, constructed, and reproduced within the curatorial practices and collection of Tate Britain, and of how such notions are received and valued by different migrant and diasporic family members within the context and cultural practices of their everyday lives. From this encounter the project will develop new curatorial and educational perspectives relevant to wider and more culturally diverse audiences and will contribute towards cultural change within the Museum and Galleries sector.
In April 2009 Tate Encounters concluded its two-year fieldwork period with a month-long programme of public research interviews, discussions and ethnographic film screenings at Tate Britain. The programme was divided into four strands which reflected the key areas of enquiry within the project: the history of gallery education practice at Tate since 1970; the relationship between the museum and the digital realm; the impact of cultural policy on the museum and specifically cultural diversity policy, and the forms and expressions of the diasporic encounter with the museum.
A large collection of the project's data (audio interviews and discussions, video films, photo-essays and research papers) gathered during the fieldwork period can be accessed and viewed at a dedicated archive website. The purpose of the archive is to make a selection of the fieldwork data available to museum professionals, the research community and students of museum studies and is held under a Creative Commons License.