National Gallery

Inclusive, digital, sustainable: National Gallery outlines its plan for the next five years

Confronting the challenges posed by the pandemic and seeking out opportunities to make its offer more inclusive, technology-driven and environmentally responsible have been laid out as priorities by the National Gallery in its new Strategic Plan.

The 12-page document has today been published as a guide to how the national institution will approach the first half of the decade, with this vision punctuated by its 200th anniversary in 2024.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery, says the coming five years will see the institution “fighting our way out of the crisis, building on our strengths, responding to challenges and opportunities, and forging a pathway to the National Gallery of the future”.

Inclusion, digital advancements and environmental responsibility, he goes on to explain, are central to this. Major infrastructure projects also evidence the Gallery’s focus on the future, with improvements scheduled to the Sainsbury Wing and Jubilee Walk, alongside the establishment of a new research centre.

Driving digital

An ever-growing commitment to digital is at the core of the 2021-26 agenda, with major strides having been made of late. By committing to an “extended programme of digital activity across the Covid period” and testing approaches which may never have seen the light of day without lockdown restrictions, the National Gallery has experienced a 50% increase in digital reach from 2020 to 2021.

If its current growth rate of 16% persists then the organisation will reach one billion people via digital means by 2025. The scaling up of digital approaches, in conjunction with outreach work, also forms a major strand of the Gallery’s aspirations to connect with as many members of the public – regardless of previous arts engagement – as possible.

“We want to welcome more people into the Gallery than ever before. We want to engage young people from all backgrounds with the wonders of our collection. We want to use our skills in the digital world to win new audiences both in the UK and across the globe,” states Tony Hall, chair of the Trustees of the National Gallery, in his introductory remarks.

For those people unable, unwilling or unaccustomed to visiting the Gallery in person, an increased emphasis will also be placed on social media. Reaching new audiences via platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok is mentioned in today’s publication, along with “doubling down” on the outputs of existing accounts.

The National Gallery’s Strategic Plan 2021-2026 can be read in full here.