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Bayley - The ICA: A History of the Contemporary
Lucy Bayley, PhD student

The ICA: A History of the Contemporary, a distributed narrative

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (established in 1946) has been arguably the most important programming organization for contemporary arts in the Twentieth Century in Britain – yet its history has never been written. By drawing on its archives held predominantly at the Tate and the ICA my research will consider the legacy of the ICA’s interdisciplinary programmes.

Whilst being informed by the early form of the Institute, as created by its founders (including Herbert Read and Roland Penrose), and later on through the Independent Group, my research will focus on the middle period of its history - 1970s and early 1980s - and its subsequent establishment on the Mall.  Using the ICA as my point of focus, I will consider in broader terms, how art history has been shaped by the programming, documenting, archiving, collecting and the distribution of our art institutions.  In addition to drawing on its archives, my research will be informed by interviews with the people who have been integral to the development of the ICA.

The ICA: A History of the Contemporary is a Middlesex University awarded Collaborative Studentship with Middlesex University and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.