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Attenborough Arts Centre offers a stimulating visual arts programme of new, socially engaged exhibitions and events that have a positive impact in the promotion and research of disability culture. Our visual arts programme focuses on art that is relevant, engaging and accessible, critical and progressive.

Our exhibitions have a social motivation exploring the changing role of contemporary art, its local and global relevance; supporting practical, aesthetic, and poetic new approaches to our society, our environment and our place within the two.

Exhibit your work in the Balcony Gallery at Attenborough Arts Centre.

The Balcony Gallery sits on the first floor of Attenborough Arts Centre and is a key feature for visitors as it connects our art studios and offices to the bustling Attenborough Café, Diana Princess of Wales Hall, Front of House and new galleries.Local artists and groups can hire the gallery for a minimum of two weeks. Find out more information here.

Attenborough Arts Centre is part of the University of Leicester’s Division of External Relations and our exhibition programme significantly contributes to the University’s strategic research goals and wider public engagement. It specifically aims to explore issues of human identity and inter-cultural interactions, promote inter-discipline, attract high-calibre collaborators and encourage new imaginative approaches that culminate in exhibition projects.

Please be aware that our gallery opening times have changed:

  • Tuesday - Friday 12pm - 6pm,
    Saturday, 10am - 5pm
    Sunday, 12pm - 4pm


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  • Talking Heads

  • Mel Brimfield
  • Galleries 1, 2 and 3
  • 19 January - 17 April
  • Exhibition opening: Friday 18 January from 5.30pm
  • Commissioned by Attenborough Arts Centre, Mel Brimfield has created Talking Heads an exhibition of new work that includes a range of sound installations, sculpture, multiple films and large scale comic-like drawings. The exhibition reflects her lively collaborative approach that draws on an interdisciplinary practice encompassing theatre, visual art and performance. The commission is rooted in a long period of research undertaken by Mel at the Department of Psychosis Studies at Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, and the National Psychosis Unit at Bethlem Hospital, London, and explores the experiences of a national community of people living with and recovering from psychosis, and of the carers, nurses, neuroscientists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers and academics who work to understand and provide support. Mel’s Collaborators on this project include Professor of Psychiatry Sukhwinder Shergill,composer Gwyneth Herbert, filmmakers Nick Abrahams and Milo Creese, composer/ sound designers Paul Higgs and Gareth Fry. The exhibition will tour to the Tetley (Leeds) and Chapter Arts (Cardiff). The project is supported by funding from the Arts Council England and Kings College Cultural Institute.
  • In My Shoes. Art and the Self since the 1990s

  • An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition
  • 7 July – 26 August
  • Exhibition opening: Friday 6 July
  • Self-portraiture has provided a source of inspiration to artists throughout history, and in recent years many artists have revolutionised and extended the genre by incorporating action, performance, narrative and explorations of identity. This exhibition offers a timely opportunity to consider the legacies of the so-called ‘Young British Artists’ including Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Gavin Turk, who received international attention for putting themselves in the frame with bold and confrontational works.
  • Criminal Ornamentation

  • Yinka Shonibare curates the Arts Council and Crafts Council Collections
  • 22 September – 21 December
  • Exhibition opening: Friday 21 September
  • Criminal Ornamentation is about the political, cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in art and craft. The exhibition is not about the hierarchy of taste as it manifests between high and low culture, but rather about the cultural and political manifestation of pattern within craft, sculpture, painting, costume design, film and photography. Criminal Ornamentation celebrates the impolite and unapologetic display of pattern, repetition and colour as freedom from the elitism of good taste, rejoicing the radical deviancy of pattern.

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  • The Pit of Nations

  • David Severn
  • 29 November 2018 - 13 January 2019
  • David Severn is a Nottingham based documentary photographer, whose work explores working class culture and places associated with it, both historically and today. The Pit of Nations is a new portrait series of British Coal Miners of African and Caribbean heritage that worked at Gedling Colliery. Known as “The Pit of Nations” due to the diverse nationalities of its workforce, the series examines traditional conceptions of miners, recognising an overlooked aspect of British industrial history. The series was commissioned by Norma Gregory for Digging Deep: Coal Miners of African Caribbean Heritage.


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  • Somatic Self

  • Stefania Laccu
  • Friday 18 January – Sunday 10 March
  • Somatic Self is an ongoing series of paintings by Leicester-based artist Stefania Laccu. Her practice is concerned with exploring ways to paint emotions and their effects on the human body.
    Feelings are intrinsically intangible and abstract; they cannot be physically seen or held. Yet, in contrast to this invisibility, they profoundly affect our day to day lives, dictating our physical and mental health. Somatic Self imagines these physical effects, visualising the impact emotions could have on the inner body. Laccu has asked, what does anxiety look like in the stomach; or depression in tissue and bone?
    Somatic Self is part of Laccu’s larger project Somatic Identity, currently on display in the George Davies Medical Centre.

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