Ruskin Gallery takes a leap into the digital future

Published: 18 April 2011 at 12:34

Anglia Ruskin University’s new art space is a first for the UK

Anglia Ruskin University will open a groundbreaking digital gallery in the centre of Cambridge on 9 May, the first of its kind in the UK.

Housed in the Ruskin Gallery, part of the Cambridge School of Art which was opened by John Ruskin in 1858, the innovative new gallery will display art in a digital format on High Definition screens, including the world’s first Panasonic 103” 3D Full HD plasma screen which has been specially imported from Japan.

Chris Owen, Head of the Cambridge School of Art said:

“This is a hugely valuable facility for Anglia Ruskin University, the city of Cambridge and the UK.  Whether students are studying fine art, photography, animation or film production, the opportunity to exhibit digital artwork is of paramount importance in the contemporary art world. 

“This exhibition space is already attracting interest from a wide range of international artists, and we are confident it will soon become a major attraction in the cultural life not just of Cambridge but the whole region.”  

The Ruskin Gallery is a unique exhibition space surrounded by artists’ studios on the Anglia Ruskin campus. Open to the general public, all exhibitions are free and carefully selected to provide a memorable gallery-going experience.

With its vaulted ceilings, character and light, the Ruskin Gallery is the perfect backdrop for traditional shows and the new technology – which also includes a state-of-the-art Bose audio system – has been installed to complement the building’s period character. The new digital technology is fully flexible, allowing both traditional hanging and digital viewing, either independently, or at the same time.  The area underneath the main exhibition space has been transformed into a photography gallery and there is also an interactive touch-screen information point.

The work was carried out by Snelling Business Systems and Managing Director Toby Wise said:

“We are delighted to be part of this extremely exciting project which has involved installing the audio visual requirements for this country’s first ever permanent digital art gallery.

“The Ruskin Gallery now joins projects in Italy and Argentina in offering this state-of-the-art medium for displaying and exhibiting art.”

The digital gallery will help to further the relationship between art and science at Anglia Ruskin, with similar cross-disciplinary projects already existing with the Digital Performance Lab and the Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute.

Professor Derrik Ferney, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences, said:

“Not only is the Ruskin Gallery an impressive space for traditional hanging exhibitions but it can also be quickly converted to a cutting-edge digital gallery with nine 32” full HD monitors in addition to a 103” 3D full HD video wall.  

“Its flexibility means that a variety of configurations and combinations of digital and hanging spaces can be achieved. It has been cleverly designed to allow it to continue to show 2D work exceptionally well, whilst enabling synergies with new technology and connectivity emanating from our successful Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute.

“The space will allow students to exhibit in new ways and across disciplines, in fields as diverse as fashion, film, photography and computer games.

“The international nature of the project combines excitingly with the regional context and we see the new digital gallery as a bridge between Anglia Ruskin University and the creative industries that thrive in Cambridge and the surrounding region.”