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Friday, 07 September 2018
Unusual Facts about Nottingham Contemporary
Laura-Jade Vaughan

Unusual Facts about Nottingham Contemporary

Lara Favaretto, Thinking Head, 2017. Installation view at Nottingham Contemporary. Generously supported by The Ampersand Foundation.


Our 2017 installation by Lara Favaretto caused a stir. Thinking Head - an artwork where steam rose from the top of our building – was mistaken for being a fire at the gallery. The artwork has become famous, even making an appearance on Have I Got News for You.


We have held lots of events, including talks by international artists, but did you know we’ve held a lecture by Nottingham designer Paul Smith, a discussion with graphic novelist Alan Moore, and we’ve hosted the feminist writer Germaine Greer. We’ve programmed music gigs by The Futureheads, Sun Ra Arkestra, Don Letts, and more recently Neneh Cherry performed among the tapestries of her grandmother, Moki Cherry.

© Nathan Dainty – VeryCreative

The first public appearance of Harry and Meghan was made at Nottingham Contemporary after they announced their engagement. Crowds gathered outside our venue to see the royal couple attend an event organised by Terrence Higgins Trust- a charity supporting those affected by HIV & fighting against stigmatisation & discrimination.


In 2017, we worked with students from Farnborough Academy in Clifton, Nottingham, to develop new work that reflected their hometown. The students work was then featured in an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary and at the very prestigious National Portrait Gallery in London.

Credit: Peter Anderson

The steps at the side of our building have an unpleasant history. In 1844 Nottingham’s notorious murderer William Saville was publicly executed. The event attracted large crowds and got out of control, leading to a large crush where people were being trampled, and tragically 12 people died.


Our building is green, gold, concrete… and pink? Have you ever spotted that the air conditioning unit on top of our building is actually coloured pink? It was a last-minute decision from our architects, meant as a playful metaphor that the building’s pink knickers were accidentally on show.


Our lace heritage is seen in our building. Did you know that our building is embedded with an antique cherry blossom lace design by Richard Birkin from 1847, that was discovered in a time capsule buried on our building’s site?


We’re based in the oldest site in the city, home to a Saxon town hall and jail, and a Victorian railway tunnel. The remnants of an old railway tunnel runs from our venue to the old Victoria Railway Station, where Intu Victoria Centre sits today.


Our building is cuts into Nottingham’s sandstone cliffs, making it seem larger on the inside than the outside. You might find our venue has a cavernous underground vibe. Nottingham has hundreds of man-made caves- many yet to be discovered.


Posted by ljvaughan at 16:17


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