Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 2158 | FREE ADMISSION

About Us

World-class contemporary art in Southampton

John Hansard Gallery is an internationally recognised and locally engaged contemporary art gallery in Southampton. Being part of the University of Southampton, John Hansard Gallery aims to change the world for the better through great art. To realise this, the Gallery creates innovative and critically acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions, events, engagement and research projects that excite, challenge, represent and reach the widest possible public audience.

Since being established in 1979 the Gallery has been located on the University’s Highfield Campus. In 2018, the Gallery relocated to the new purpose-built arts complex Studio 144 in Southampton’s city centre, significantly increasing the space available for exhibitions, events and integrated programming. Learning and engagement are at the heart of the Gallery and underpin all its activities. The innovative education and public programme is accompanied by special community-focused projects, including activities for all ages and levels of experience. John Hansard Gallery is supported using public funding as a National Portfolio Organisation by Arts Council England.

John Hansard Gallery actively supports the scholarship and publication of critical writing and has published over ninety exhibition catalogues, which are available to buy from our Gallery Shop. We regularly commission new writing as part of our ongoing publishing activities with artists.

Accessibility Requirements

We would like to make your visit as easy as possible. Therefore, if we can help you with any additional mobility needs during your visit to the Gallery, please let us know upon your arrival.

Studio 144

Our relocation to Southampton city centre in 2018 took place as part of a brand new arts complex, based on the old Tyrrell & Green site on Guildhall Square. The project, which also includes a new base for City Eye and a NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, was led by Southampton City Council and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, in partnership with Grosvenor Britain and Ireland Developments Limited.

Named Studio 144, the arts complex comprises around 75,000 sq ft of stunning gallery, performing arts and film/media studio space across two iconic buildings, as part of a proposed mixed-use development. Arts Council England were responsible for funding £7.2 million towards the project, which represents a major milestone in bringing Southampton’s Cultural Quarter to fruition and will bring the John Hansard Gallery’s programme of exhibitions and events to the heart of the city.


The John Hansard name

The John Hansard Gallery is named after John Henry Hansard (1895–1979), an honorary graduate, good friend and benefactor of the University of Southampton in recognition of his encouragement and interest in the visual arts. John Henry was a descendent of Thomas Curson Hansard (1776–1833), an early printer and publisher after whom the transcripts of parliamentary debates in Westminster are named.

Establishing the John Hansard Gallery

The John Hansard Gallery was created in 1979 under the leadership of the subsequent Gallery Director, Leo Stable and established by the Arts Council of Great Britain and the University of Southampton so that two existing galleries at the University could be united under one roof.

As one of only two purely photographic galleries in Britain outside of London, The Photographic Gallery, housed in the University’s Administration Building, enjoyed a strong national reputation. During the 1970s, the Fine Art Gallery, attached to The Nuffield Theatre (now the Nuffield Southampton Theatres café), mounted a number of outstanding exhibitions including Richard Long, Bruce McLean and an infamous performance by Genesis P. Orridge and Cosy Fanny Tutti. The new building sought to bring these galleries together, with the John Hansard Gallery originally designed as a laboratory built in 1956 to house a giant tidal model of the Solent.

Our directorship history

Since its establishment in 1979, the John Hansard Gallery has been developed under the leadership of four Directors: founding Director, Leo Stable (1979–1980); Barry Barker (1980–1987); Professor Stephen Foster MBE (1987–2017) and Woodrow Kernohan (2017-date).John Hansard Gallery is funded by the University of Southampton, its governing body. We are proud to be part of a world-leading University and are one of a trio of outstanding arts organisations connected to the University of Southampton, alongside the Turner Sims and NST, Nuffield Southampton Theatres. We are also hugely grateful for the ongoing support of Arts Council England, who have funded the John Hansard Gallery since its inception. Our exhibitions and educational activities are further supported through additional fundraising each year via trusts, foundations and sponsorship.