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National Arts Education Archive

The National Arts Education Archive was established in 1985 to provide a documentary trace of the development of arts education in the UK and worldwide, by collecting children’s and students' work and the papers, letters and work of key educators and artists in the visual arts, music and language. YSP has managed the Archive since 2009.

This material, comprising more than 100 catalogued collections, is based in the purpose-built Lawrence Batley Centre on the former Bretton Hall College campus and is available to researchers, lecturers and the general public by appointment on Mondays and Tuesdays each week. Staff and volunteers at the NAEA regularly curate exhibitions from the collection – exhibition opening times vary.

The NAEA offers placement opportunities to Higher Education students. The length of placements can vary, from one or two weeks, to four months. Students from The University of Leeds and from The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford have benefitted from these opportunities in the past. Other than contributing to the work of the NAEA and following up personal research interests using the collections, students spend time in other departments at YSP. This provides insight into behind-the-scenes operations and helps students to consider different career options within the creative industries.

To find the NAEA, pick up a free Welcome & Map leaflet at YSP – it is a short walk from the Red Car Park at YSP Learning. Please note, major construction is underway around the area surrounding the Archive.

‘To look through the material and understand the competing initiatives and investigations by artists and teachers in that period is to recharge one’s batteries’

Bob and Roberta Smith

Exhibitions from the National Arts Education Archive


Marking Time: A Century of Drawing in Art Education

15 Sep–20 Oct 2012

This exhibition, at Batley Art Gallery, presented work drawn from the collections of the National Arts Education Archive, based at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, reflecting the nature of teaching and...


Tom Hudson: Transitions

25 May–8 Sep 2013

This exhibition looked at the radical interaction of art and education in the 1960s, focusing on the work of Tom Hudson, a key figure in the Basic Design movement, which revolutionised art education...


Scratching the Surface

10 Feb–28 May 2014

The selection of drawings in this exhibition was made from the larger Marking Time: A Century of Drawing in Art Education exhibition, that was held at Batley Art Gallery in 2012, and offered another...


Herbert Read & Alec Clegg: A Revolution Realised

31 Jan–29 Mar 2015

This exhibition offered an insight into the life, ideas and work of two of the most influential educators of the 20th century. The photographs, paintings and publications gave evidence of the impact...


Philip Rawson: Sculptor-Educator

25 Apr–26 Jul 2015

The Philip Rawson Collection, held by NAEA (National Arts Education Archive), consists of several thousand items. 


Eileen Adams: Agent of Change

26 Sep–15 Dec 2015

Agent of Change showed how revolutionary initiatives have prompted change in art, design and environmental education.


Mary Martin Thomas: A Classical Art Education 1927–30

26 Mar–27 Nov 2016

This exhibition – via Thomas' work and other documentary evidence – provided an insight into the nature of art training at the time and the way in which one particular student...


Treasures Revealed: From the National Arts Education Archive

15 Apr–24 Oct 2017

In celebration of YSP's 40th anniversary in 2017, artists, supporters and volunteers chose 40 inspirational objects, collections and ideas from the National Arts Education Archive (NAEA).


Art, Games and Play: Don Pavey and other Collections

24 Mar–20 Nov 2018

Calling upon a range of visual materials and other items held in the National Arts Exhibition Archive (NAEA), this exhibition celebrates the close relationship between art, games and play. Open...


Children’s Images of Peace, War and Genocide

9 Mar–19 May 2019

Children’s Images of Peace, War and Genocide is a touring exhibition presented as part of the National Arts Education Archive’s (NAEA) membership in the International Research and Archive...


Transformations: Cloth and Clay

13 Jul–3 Nov 2019

Across the late 20th century, craft in the classroom has had a volatile history. This area of cultural and curriculum space has been much contested.