Sainsbury Centre shop

About Us

Welcome to the Sainsbury Centre. Here you can find out more about our team, our history and governance

About Us

The Sainsbury Centre is one of the most prominent university art galleries in Britain, and a major national centre for the study and presentation of art.
We house the extraordinary art collection of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, as well as the Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau and the University’s Abstract and Constructivist Collection.

Alongside these permanent collections, we host a range of temporary exhibitions, with our new galleries providing the largest climate-controlled exhibition space in Eastern England.
We also offer an award-winning learning programme of gallery talks, lectures and art workshops.


University of East Anglia and the Sainsbury Centre
The Sainsbury Centre itself houses the university’s School of Art History and World Art Studies and the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Oceania, Africa and the Americas.

The Centre also houses The Sainsbury Institute for Art, bringing together the activities and expertise of the Sainsbury Centre, the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, and World Art Studies and South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust.


Charity number
The University of East Anglia was formed by Royal Charter and as such has neither a company number nor charity number, as it is not required to be registered with either Companies House or the Charity Commission. The University does, however, retain charitable status, as it is deemed an ‘Exempt Charity’.

HM Revenue & Customs Charities Reference Number: XN423

Sainsbury Centre shop
Sainsbury Centre © Richard Bryant 2019

The Team

Directorate and Administration
Paul Greenhalgh
Director, currently seconded as Specialist Project Lead, UEA Estates

Ghislaine Wood
Deputy Director, currently Acting Director

Emma Roper
Executive Officer and Manager of the Directorate

Rachel Hoxley-Carr
Executive Officer, currently seconded as Special Project Assistant, UEA – seconded

Kerry Cross
Administrative Officer and PA to Ghislaine Wood

Karen Parsons
Finance and Administration Officer


Collections & Curatorial
Calvin Winner
Head of Collections

Maria Ledinskaya

Joanna Roberts
Gallery Registrar

Katherine Mager
Assistant Gallery Registrar

Laura Reeves
Assistant Gallery Registrar

Roger Bishop
Head of Technical Services

Tania Moore
Joyce and Michael Morris Chief Curator of Art

Sim Panaser
Assistant Curator

Vanessa Tothill
Assistant Curator

Natalie Baerselman le Gros
Exhibitions Coordinator

Lisa Newby
Project Curator

Stephanie Renouf
Head of Development

Hospitality & Events
Debbie Longordo
Events and Hospitality Co-Ordinator

Kate Dunton
Head of Learning

Nell Croose Myhill
Learning Programme Manager (Adults and Young People)

Lawrence Bradby
Learning Programme Manager (Children and Families) (part-time)

Becca Sturgess
Learning Programme Manager (Schools and Outreach) (part-time)

Rose Hughes
Acting Learning Programme Manager (Schools and Outreach) (part-time)

Lynn Gray
Learning Administrator (Schools and Outreach)

Lisa Hawkins-Weeks
Learning Administrator

Marketing and Communications
Penelope Lucas
Head of Marketing, Communications & Administration

Chloe Lamb
Marketing & Communications Officer

Paul Kuzemczak (part-time)
Creative Design Officer

Visitor Experience
Rory Hill
Visitor Experience and Retail Manager

Rachel Page
Visitor Experience and Retail Assistant Manager

Kiran Miller-Burton
Visitor Experience assistant

Security/First Aid
Lee Heath
Security Manager

Sainsbury Centre © Richard Bryant 2019

Our governance

The Sainsbury Centre is governed by the Sainsbury Centre Board, a sub-committee of The UEA Council – the University’s overall governing body.

The Sainsbury Centre Board meets three times a year and is responsible for setting overall policy and strategy and for ensuring resources are in place to deliver the strategic objectives.

Our funders are:
The Gatsby Charitable Foundation
The Arts and Humanities Research Council
The University of East Anglia
The Sainsbury Centre Endowment Fund

Sainsbury Centre © Richard Bryant 2019
Sainsbury Centre © Richard Bryant 2019

Annual Review

Each year the Centre produces an Annual Review document which is a round-up of the year’s work together with a financial statement.

View Annual Review 2018-2019

Sculpture Park at the Sainsbury Centre © Andy Crouch
Sculpture Park at the Sainsbury Centre © Andy Crouch

The Board

The Board terms of reference

To manage the galleries and to conserve and display the Sainsbury Collection consistently with the terms of the Deed of Gift from Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury and the conditions of the Endowment Funds, all remaining terms of reference being subordinate to this objective.

To approve annual budgets for the Sainsbury Centre (ensuring, unless agreed otherwise by the Vice-Chancellor, that the income expected to be generated in the year will meet the expenditure); to monitor income and expenditure; and to submit reports to external funders as required, including an annual report to the Trustees of the SCVA Endowment Funds after each financial year showing how the income received from the endowment has been used.


To be responsible for: the security and well-being of University’s art collections housed in the Centre and elsewhere; the hours of opening of the Centre; and the conditions of access to the collection for members of the University and the general public.

To have strategic responsibility for special exhibitions and special events in the Centre.

To determine the use and allocation of such accommodation in the Centre as falls within the remit of the Board.

To maintain appropriate standards for the protection of the visual environment of all areas of the Centre, having regard to the design concept of the Building.

To have regard to the interests of all users of Sainsbury Centre building.

To be responsible for the loan for exhibition elsewhere of works under its governance, subject to the rights reserved to other parties to approve such loans.

To establish and be responsible for the implementation of a policy covering the acquisition and de-accessioning of works under its governance; any sale or disposal to be subject to the agreement of the Vice-Chancellor.

To be responsible for all aspects of retail, and the production of materials for sale which relate to the Collections and/or building.

To ensure that conditions of employment of all staff of the Centre comply with health and safety legislation, and that recruitment of staff is fully compliant with guidelines on equality and diversity.

To submit an annual report to Council.

To meet at least three times a year.


Current Membership Proposed Future Membership Comments/Justification for Change
Ex Officio


Chair of Council


*The Director of the Sainsbury Centre

The Director of the Sainsbury Research Unit

 (Those indicated by a * indicates those ex officio members who currently exercise their right to attend)

Ex Officio

Pro-Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation

The Director of the Sainsbury Centre

In practice, most ex-officio members do not attend.  It is therefore proposed to streamline the ex-officio members to those who regularly exercise their right to attend.These members are rolling with status

The Vice Chancellor and Chair of Council are able to exercise their right to attend at any time

Chair appointed by Council Chair appointed by Council 3 years, renewable
One member appointed by the External Trustees of the Endowment Funds One member appointed by the External Trustees of the Endowment Funds 3 years, renewable
One member appointed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation One member appointed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation 3 years, renewable
One member appointed by Council One member appointed by Council 3 years, renewable
One member appointed by Senate One member appointed by Senate 3 years, renewable
One member appointed by the School of Art History and World Art Studies Member category deleted The HUM Faculty reorganized its Schools and this School no longer exists, therefore there is no requirement to have a member on the Board
Up to five members co-opted by the Board Up to six members co-opted by the Board – 3 years, renewable A sixth member co-opted by the Board is recommended to ensure the diversity required to run an increasingly complex and ambitious Centre and activities in future
Secretary Secretary


Current members are listed in the table below with terms of appointment.


Member Type Name Expertise Term commenced Term Expires
Chair Mr Dominic Christian Planning, Finance 1 Aug 2017 31 Jul 2023
Ex-Officio Director Prof Paul Greenhalgh Director Rolling with status Rolling with status
Ex-Officio PVC Research & Innovation Prof Fiona Lettice UEA policies and procedures, research, impact and innovation Rolling with status Rolling with status
One member appointed by the External Trustees of the Endowment Funds Mr Simon Blakey Sainsbury Family, Finance 31 July 2022
One member appointed by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation Mr Peter Hesketh Funding, Endowments 1 Aug 2018 31 July 2021
One member appointed by Council Ms Laura McGillivray Governance, Metropolitan Relations 31 July 2020
One member appointed by Senate Prof Claire Jowitt Research, Academic planning 1 Aug 2018 31 July 2021
Up to five members co-opted by the Board Lady Susan Bacon Regional and national arts communities 1 Aug 2015 31 July 2021
Up to five members co-opted by the Board Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll Museums, galleries 31 July 2023
Up to five members co-opted by the Board Mr Charles Barratt Regional relations, Fundraising 1 Aug 2018 31 July 2021
Up to five members co-opted by the Board Ms Sara Foster Public relations, Fundraising 1 Aug 2018 31 July 2021
Up to five members co-opted by the Board John Talbot Business, Strategy 11 May 2020 31 July 2022
Secretary Emma Roper Minutes and meeting logistics Rolling with status Rolling with status



Sainsbury Centre © Pete Huggins

Work for us

The Sainsbury Centre is widely known for the excellence of its staff. It is part of the University of East Anglia and jobs are advertised on the University’s website. Links to all current UEA vacancies can be found here: › vacancies

Install of Titian’s Christ Bearing the Cross, c.1560 © ANDY CROUCH

Our history

The Sainsbury Centre was first conceived after Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury generously gave their art collection to the University of East Anglia in 1973.

A pioneering era of patronage

For over 40 years, Robert and Lisa Sainsbury collected works of art which ranged across time and place. They sought work both from major European artists, as well as art and antiquities from different periods and cultures around the world.

Commissioning Norman Foster

The Sainsburys were equally radical in commissioning the young Norman Foster in 1974 as architect for the new building to house their works. Sir Robert saw Foster’s innovative building as the great jewel of the Sainsbury Collection.

Innovative display

When the Sainsbury Centre first opened its doors in 1978, the ‘Living Area’ space inside that displayed the Sainsbury Collection was also ground-breaking.

It was designed as a place of visual communication. All objects were housed at comfortable eye-level in small groups within free-standing square or rectangular cases to enable 360 viewing.

The Sainsburys did not want a museum but a place where people could view objects closely and to appreciate them in the way they had themselves, in their own home. It is for this reason that the Centre still uses minimal labelling.

Growth and extension

Soon after the building opened, Sir Colin and Lady Anderson donated their collection of Art Nouveau to the University. Originally it was displayed on the East Mezzanine, and it continues to be shown in temporary exhibition spaces from time to time.

The University’s Abstract and Constructivist Collection also moved to the Sainsbury Centre and in a similar way, is shown in the temporary exhibition galleries every few years.

By the late 1980s the collections and staff had outgrown the original building. Foster + Partners designed the Crescent Wing, which opened in 1991, to offer new office, exhibition and technical spaces.

Education and research

The Sainsbury Centre was designed from the start to house the University’s department of art history (later adding World Art Studies to its name). Research activity grew around the collections.

In 1984, the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas (SRU) was founded. In 1999 the Sainsburys also helped to fund the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC).

From the early 1990s the Sainsbury Centre began to establish a regional reputation as a centre for learning both for the University and a wider public of all ages.

Further expansion

In the last decade the centre has undergone two further extensions. The first, which opened in May 2006, linked the 1978 and 1991 buildings internally and added a bigger shop, an education studio and Link gallery spaces.

The most recent refurbishment in 2013-14, has made better use of building’s space again. The new lower galleries give the Sainsbury Centre the largest climate-controlled exhibition spaces in Eastern England.

The future

Lady Lisa Sainsbury’s death in February 2014 marks the end of a pioneering era of artistic patronage. However, in the context of a world class University and with the Sainsbury family’s continued support, we can ensure that the Sainsbury Centre thrives long into the future.

Interior of the Sainsburys' home

Our collection

The Sainsbury Centre Collection represents some of the most remarkable works of art assembled in the UK alongside over 1400 items from across the globe spanning 5000 years, with artefacts from prehistory through to the late 20th century. The collection also includes a signifiant group of 20th century studio ceramics.

Take a closer look at some of the highlights in our collection as seen through the eyes of artists, writers, architects, fashion designers, curators and collectors including Edmund De Waal, Norman Foster, Margaret Howell, Dr Arapata Hakiwai, Julia Blackburn, Greta Arwas, Rose Hilton, Mizutori, Mami and David Attenborough.

The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection

Sir Robert Sainsbury started collecting art around 1929. His first major purchase was a bronze head of ‘Baby Asleep’, from Jacob Epstein. Sir Robert talked about his passion for collecting being like an artistic instinct, with a ‘gut feeling’ guiding his choices.

When Robert married Lisa van den Bergh in 1937, art collecting became a joint venture. The couple enjoyed building friendships with individual artists, often collecting their early works.

The Sainsburys always remained fiercely independent in choices and would never buy something for its value or fashion.

Why the collection is of international importance

The Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection is one of the few intact modernist collections of the 20th century. The collection contains many seminal works of European modern art, by major artists such as Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Francis Bacon, Jacob Epstein, Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Amedeo Modigliani.

The Sainsburys also collected many artefacts from cultures around the world, at a time when successive art movements also began to engage with works of art from beyond Europe.

This ‘world art’, largely from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, was previously (and unfairly) labelled as ‘tribal’ or ‘primitive art’. Sir Robert increasingly saw such works as of equal status to European art, reflected in how the collection is displayed today.

From 1973 to 2006

In 1973 Sir Robert and Lisa Sainsbury donated their collection to the University of East Anglia and their son David funded the building to display it on the campus.

From that date, the collection continued to grow. After Sir Robert died in April 2000, Lady Sainsbury continued to acquire pieces, particularly Japanese antiquities, up until 2006 when she ceased to collect.

Lisa Sainsbury Ceramics Collection

Lisa Sainsbury’s collection of modern pots began in the 1950s, when she and Sir Robert first purchased work by Lucie Rie.

The Sainsbury’s friendship with Rie led them to the work by Hans Coper, with Sir Robert seeing his works as “sculptures”. The Sainsbury Centre now holds the largest public collection of Coper ceramics, many donated by his widow after his death in 1981.

The collection also includes pieces by Rie’s and Coper’s contemporaries such as Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. Other artists represented include; James Tower, Ewen Henderson, Claudi Casanovas, Rupert Spira, Jennifer Lee, Julian Stair, Sara Radstone, Gabrielle Koch and Ian Godfrey.

The Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau (not on show)

Sir Colin and Lady Anderson were among the first British collectors of Art Nouveau. The first pieces were bought in 1960, the last in 1971. They were particularly drawn to exquisitely coloured pieces that epitomised the style with whiplash curves, botanical lines and floral motifs.

The collection comprises of 200 works and encompasses examples of European and American Art Nouveau from about 1890 to 1905, and includes furniture, glass, ceramics, metalwork, jewellery and graphics.

The collection includes pieces by leading exponents of Art Nouveau such as Louis Comfort Tiffany, Emile Gallé and René Lalique, and significantly, other anonymous commercial pieces, giving the collection a wonderfully individual character and offers an opportunity for an exploration of Art Nouveau as both design and manufacture.

The Abstract and Constructivist Collection (not on show)

This collection focuses on the non-objective, constructive and concrete art movements of the 20th century and related fields of design and architecture.

The collection comprises over 400 works. These includes furniture, architectural models as well as paintings, sculpture, reliefs, multiples, and works on paper.

Due to its unique focus, the collection is now of national importance.


In 1968, the University decided to form a collection of 20th century art on a theme that reflected the utopian spirit of the new University, with its modernist campus and multi-disciplinary ethos.

Common themes

General concerns of artists, designers and architects whose works are represented include some or all of the following: a refined form of abstraction with a restrained vocabulary of colours and geometric forms offering an alternative vision of art. The importance of structure, systems and mathematical processes as components of a work of art. In the age of the machine, there was a rejection of the literal, narrative and descriptive elements in art.

Art movements represented

The collection covers major art movements of the 20th century, including:

  • The English Vorticists
  • The Russian Suprematists and Constructivists
  • The Dutch De Stijl Group
  • Members of the German Bauhaus School
  • The French Purists
  • British artists represented in the avant-garde publication, Circle
  • Concrete movement in Brazil

Important artists represented:

Duncan Grant, David Bomberg, Natalia Goncharova, Wassily Kandinsky, Bart Van der Leck, Cesar Domela, László Moholy-Nagy, Joseph Albers, Johannes Itten, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Hans Arp, Amedee Ozenfant, Auguste Herbin, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Lygia Clark, Francois Morellet, Max Bill, Ben Nicholson, John Cecil Stephenson, Kenneth Martin, Victor Pasmore.

Archive collections

Sir Robert Sainsbury

The archive of Sir Robert relates specifically to his activities in formulating the art collection and his relationship with artists and dealers such as Henry Moore, Francis Bacon and John Hewitt. Notably it contains his original ledger of acquisitions and correspondence with Bacon, Giacometti and Moore revealing the relationship between artists and patron. Most notably a series of 12 letters between Bacon and Sir Robert that reveal the extent to which Bacon was supported by his patron at a critical moment in his career.  The archive was donated to the university by Sir Robert to sit alongside the collection for research purposes.  The archive resides in the Robert Sainsbury Library, part of the Sainsbury Research Unit which is housed within the Sainsbury Centre.

Lucie Rie

The Lucie Rie Archive was donated by Cyril Frankel, prominent collector and writer of studio pottery, in 2004 and contains letters, photographs, books, ephemera  and documents relating to the life of Lucie Rie. There is a full inventory which can be accessed upon request.

Sir Colin Anderson

The family of Sir Colin Anderson donated the archive to the Sainsbury Centre is 2014. Colin Anderson was of course a benefactor to SCVA in donating the Anderson Collection of Art Nouveau but also he was a significant figure in the post-war art world as a Trustee of Tate (alongside Sir Robert Sainsbury) and an active member of the Contemporary Art Society. The contents of the archive are currently being catalogued and the exact nature of its holdings yet to be revealed. However, perhaps the most significant known element is a series of correspondence between Anderson and Francis Bacon from the 1940’s, which will complement the existing letters between Bacon and Sir Robert Sainsbury.


Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Sainsbury Centre. © Richard Bryant 2019

Touring exhibitions

Our team combines unique objects with exceptional curatorial expertise to produce high-quality exhibitions available to tour.

Our exhibitions tell fascinating stories based on the original research and knowledge of curators and experts across the Sainsbury Centre and the University of East Anglia. The objects are drawn from the Centre’s renowned collection and from its access to private and institutional lenders worldwide.

Our staff work flexibly with touring partners to create bespoke exhibitions and to accommodate the needs of individual venues and diverse audiences. We offer hands-on support on delivery, installation, marketing and technical issues to ensure that exhibitions are installed successfully and within budget.

See our full list of exhibitions available for tour.

Brian Clarke touring exhibition