Ben Uri Research Unit

for the study and digital recording of the Jewish, Refugee and wide Immigrant contribution to British visual culture since 1900.

Ben Uri Research Unit

What is BURU -

BURU is the Ben Uri Research Unit for the Study of the Jewish, Refugee and Immigrant Contribution to the Visual Arts in Britain since 1900. It is based at Ben Uri Gallery and Museum at 108A Boundary Road, St John's Wood, London NW8 ORH. It now includes covering specifically the black and Asian contribution to British visual culture.

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Strategic objective

Our strategic objective is to be the pre-eminent academic resource and internationally recognised as the first stop for those searching for biographical details of the Jewish, refugee and immigrant contribution to British visual culture since 1900.

We are well on the way to securing this goal. In 2023 Ben Uri was honoured to be appointed the custodian in perpetuity of the leading research database, which was originated by artist, curator, scholar and academic Professor Eddie Chambers addressing the black and Asian contribution to British visual culture. Between and Ben Uri now presents over 3000 published biographies from across over 100 countries and growing as our research teams continue their work.

What does BURU do?

BURU aims to centralise research on, and record, the Jewish, refugee and immigrant contribution to British visual culture since 1900, principally via our digital resource BURU online. This is the museum’s principal function and is a long-term project and examples of those currently under research are available to review through the links provided.

Further outcomes of BURU research include exhibitions, related events and publications, audio recordings (including oral histories, curatorial and guest talks), films and links to external resources.

What is BURU online?

BURU online is the first comprehensive online resource recording the lives and careers of major Jewish, refugee and immigrant contributors to British visual culture since 1900. It includes immigrant artists (and those born to immigrant parents within ten years of their arrival) and related professionals (e.g. curators, gallerists, dealers, patrons, publishers, critics, teachers and art suppliers), as well as their professional affiliations and networks.

This database is the principal outcome of our ongoing research and is an extension of previous research carried out by our Collections and Curatorial team for our related site exploring the Ben Uri Collection. The information on, and, is searchable in a number of ways to facilitate different perspectives.

Who is BURU online for?

BURU online is aimed at academics, students and researchers in art, provenance, social history, exile and migration studies, auction houses, art dealers, journalists, publishers, politicians and interested members of the public, including family members and estates.

BURU records

Each record includes:

Biographical information
Year of birth and year of death
City (where known) and country of birth
City (where known) and country of death
Year of immigration to Britain
Reason for immigration to Britain
Principal city/cities of residence in Britain
Education at art school (where applicable), e.g. as student or teacher
Work in public collections (e.g. Tate, British Museum etc)
Honours (e.g. RA, Sir etc)
Selected exhibition history: Major museum exhibitions during lifetime and major posthumous museum exhibitions
Selected literature: e.g. biographies, monographs

Candidates included in the database:

First and second generation immigrant artists, illustrators, photographers, designers, ceramicists, cartoonists, architects, to Britain since 1900
Artists adversely affected by the Nazi period, c.1933-45
Historians, Curators, Critics, Teachers, Art suppliers, Gallerists, Art dealers, Patrons