Georgia Smithson

Georgia Smithson

New Collecting and Distribution Models for Contemporary Art.

How can new media be used to develop international distribution networks, and new economic models for a regional contemporary art organisation? This research will investigate current models from the curating of Digital Art, Fine Art and Design to inform economic policies for small regional art organisations.

Although new media art is collected, and is increasingly becoming an important part of contemporary art practice and presentation, the distribution of, modes of collection, the commissioning of, and the rationale for collecting appear disconnected. An established model to follow for the wider distribution of artworks does not exist in regional England. Regional contemporary arts organisations would benefit from a model to enhance productivity and economic growth of both the organisation and artists while keeping costs to a minimum.

This research aims to be original by collecting data on associated ‘disparate’ activities. From forging relationships with emerging artists, promotion of the ease of distribution, editioning of artworks, relationships with established curators, ease of access to artworks, the aim is to produce a reference model to be used by organisations to facilitate efficacy within the scope of distribution and collecting by:

  • investigation and analysis of the disconnect between public museums, exhibiting galleries, artists, private collectors and other institutions on a national and international level
  • proactively encouraging reciprocal beneficial arrangements between collector and artist between the parties above
  • assimilation of data to develop a model that can be utilised by regional contemporary art organisations for the promotion and distribution of new media art while ensuring economic benefits are reaped
  • ensuring ease of transaction methods are understood by all parties within the context of distribution
  • examining how existing collecting institutions' strategies are being reconceived in the light of emerging media

The overall methodology will draw upon existing case studies of established collecting institutions (i.e. ZKM and SFMOMA) to analyse the curation, collecting and distribution of new media art. Of particular interest is the case study by Lindsay Taylor on the ‘Current’ exhibition at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.

Parallel methods of research will apply to regional contemporary art organisations in the UK and further afield.

Qualitative data will be collected by means of interviews, questionnaires, discussions, visits and published literature.

By working alongside my partner organisation, the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA), my aim is to develop and enhance online awareness of the NGCA’s profile in relation to new media art and collecting and hence improve global distribution opportunities.



Having recently graduated with a Master of Arts in Museum and Gallery studies and experience of working within the museum and gallery sector, I’ve focused on meeting standards of collections management (compliance with SPECTRUM 4) and providing wider access to collections using traditional methods as well as new media. My Masters dissertation questioned the ‘purpose of university art collections in the twenty first century’. I gained a thorough understanding that all organisations are diverse in their approach to collecting and management and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to how an organisation operates, but the purpose of the collection exists for the benefit of the public.

I was recently employed to steer the application for Arts Council England Accreditation for National Glass Centre and subsequently the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art where I enjoyed partnership working and collaboration, and working with dual organisations with different collections and parallel but distinct histories.