Hayward Touring‘s British Art Show 8 has received a total of 302,587 visitors throughout its 15 month tour of the UK. The exhibition featuring 42 artists was held in Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton, where John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery also saw a 50% increase in visitors.

The British Art Show takes place every five years, providing a curated survey of contemporary art produced in Britain during this period. Each edition takes place in different cities throughout the UK and the eighth edition was the first time that the British Art Show had taken place in East Anglia.

Curated by Open School East co-founder and co-director Anna Colin and Whitechapel Gallery chief curator Lydia Yee, the exhibition took different shapes in each city, with its final leg in Southampton closing last month.

For the first time in its history, Leeds Art Gallery – where the show launched in October 2015 – de-installed its entire collection to make room for the contemporary art works. In Edinburgh, the exhibition took place across three venues and also included a number of off-site installations.

Funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, British Art Show 8 included a wide range of participatory and socially-engaged projects. Over 250 community group sessions took place, with over 5,000 workshop participants.

A number of these Strategic Touring projects – from workshop activities to a screening of films produced on tour – take place at the Royal Festival Hall on Wednesday 22 February, creating a finale for this participatory strand of the British Art Show.

1. Stuart Whipps, The Kipper and the Corpse, 2015, British Art Show 8, Leeds Art Gallery. Photo: Jonty Wilde

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