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Academic Engagement at Queen’s

Photo: Tim Forbes

Academic Access to Art for Research and Teaching

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a professional university-based public art gallery located in the heart of Queen’s University’s historic campus. We encourage Queen’s faculty to arrange course-specific access for students (undergraduate and graduate) to exhibitions and collections to support new kinds of learning and to advance understanding and appreciation of visual art. The Muriel Meisel Seminar Room and a second new space can be booked for on-site for class sessions.

Our collections, exhibitions and events are a teaching and research asset. Please let us know how we can make them work for you. We are open to collaboration with faculty in all disciplines. In the past, we have worked with diverse departments and programs including Physics, Drama, Geography, Occupational Therapy, Sociology, the School of Business and the School of Medicine. If you have an idea you would like to explore, please contact Public Programs Manager Pat Sullivan. Or, if you are interested in a specific aspect of our work, make an appointment with one of our specialist staff.


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We mount about 12 new exhibitions each year in Contemporary Art, Canadian Historical Art, European Historical Art and African Art. Detailed descriptions are available 3 to 4 months in advance of the start of each show, and shorter summaries are typically available a year in advance. For information on current or upcoming shows, check our website, or contact the relevant curator for details or to discuss our long-range exhibition plans.

  • Class Visits: Exhibitions are available on a drop-in basis during our open hours. Queen’s student, faculty and staff admission is free of charge. If you plan to bring a group to an exhibition, please notify Pat Sullivan of the time, date and group size in advance to ensure conflicting uses of the galleries are avoided.
  • Assignments: We encourage use of our exhibitions as a subject for student assignments. To help our staff welcome and direct students, please alert us if you make such an assignment, sending the course code, title, instructor name and number of students to Pat Sullivan. Please flag our open hours to your students. See Visit.
  • Tours: An in-gallery curatorial tour for groups of up to 30 students can be customized to suit your course. Larger classes can be accommodated by subdividing the group. To arrange a tour, please contact the exhibition curator at least three weeks in advance of your target date.
  • Exhibition Proposals: As a professional art gallery serving the Queen’s, Kingston and national communities, we plan our exhibition program two to three years in advance to create a dynamic and balanced program that serves a range of audiences. Unfortunately, short-lead time exhibition proposals cannot be considered. We accept proposals for future exhibitions on an on-going basis. See Proposals.
  • Course-based, Academic-led Exhibition Development: Faculty may propose an exhibition development project as a focus of one or more seminar courses (normally graduate courses) by working with gallery staff to identify a body of works from the collection that suits their learning goals. Contact the relevant curator to shape your proposal. Exhibition proposals are vetted by the Art Centre Programming Committee, ideally with an 18- to 36-month lead time for accommodation in our exhibition schedule. For approved projects, the relevant curator will act as liaison for the show’s realization.
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The Art Centre collection contains around 16,000 works of art. A summary description of our collection and selected highlights are featured at Collections. Contact a curator to learn more, or to arrange an on-site research session.

  • Seminars: Small groups of 10 to 20 students can access works of art not on view in the galleries for examination and discussion in the Art Centre’s Muriel Meisel Seminar Room and a new ground-floor learning space. Session content should be developed in consultation with gallery staff. Note that faculty must attend on-site collection seminars with their students. The relevant curator or the Agnes’s Collections Manager will normally be present during the session.
    Seminars should be scheduled a minimum of 30 days in advance. To avoid disappointment, contact us before the beginning of the semester, or sooner if possible, as you are preparing your course outline. We will do our best to accommodate your request and assist you in identifying appropriate works from the collections.
  • Research: Individual faculty or graduate students may book research sessions with works of art, or with other on-site resources including gallery records. Canadian artist biographical files and the small-run catalogues and other specialist publications available in our resource library can be visited by making an appointment; please contact the relevant curator to arrange this. While undergraduate students may access the resource room by appointment, we don’t have the staffing to support numerous individual requests. Note that exhibition records more than three years old are held in Queen’s University Archives.
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We offer artists’ talks, tours, films, scholarly speakers and panel discussions each year. Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

  • Collaboration: Each year we collaborate with faculty to develop and promote wide cross-disciplinary and public engagement with academic visitors. Planning usually takes place in March through May for visitors in the following academic year, but discussions begin anytime. Please contact Pat Sullivan or the relevant curator to explore areas of mutual interest.
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The following courses are available at the Art Centre: an Internship (ARTH 395) and two Practicum courses (ARTH 880 and CUST 895). These are led by staff members who are adjunct faculty in the respective departments, and offer intense hands-on applied learning and research opportunities. Descriptions and application information are found in: Appendix C (.pdf) 217 KB; Appendix D (.pdf) 197 KB; and, Appendix E (.pdf) 181 KB.

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Student volunteers are recruited annually through a session in March for the following academic year. Such volunteers are an important part of our work, and they benefit enormously from the training and hands-on experience we offer. Our student docents deliver programs to school groups and families; please see our special tribute to them at Celebrating Student Docents.

All volunteer jobs and recruitment details are posted on the Volunteer page.

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Facility Use

Faculty wishing to book spaces in the Art Centre for events such as receptions, screenings, or study or conference sessions should contact Barry Fagan at for details and availability. Please plan well in advance as spaces are heavily subscribed at certain times of year. Note that rental fees apply. In instances where the event aligns with the Agnes artistic mandate, rental fees may be reduced or waived at the discretion of the Director. Classes, student organizations, and arts non-profit organizations may request full or partial rental-fee sponsorships.

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