Warburg Renaissance

The Warburg Institute Capital Redevelopment Project

Warburg is Warburg, and everything else is everything else!
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, 2018

The Warburg Renaissance is an opportunity to invigorate the Warburg Institute, making essential improvements to the building and introducing new spaces that connect the Warburg with its origins in Hamburg. This will create new possibilities to develop our reputation as an international beacon for the interaction of images, ideas and society.

This transformative project will establish a haven for scholars, collections and debates by opening the Institute to new partners, publics and ideas. The Warburg will be easier to find, more comfortable to use and provide new facilities for teaching, special collections, exhibitions and public events. There will be an emphasis on digital connections, bringing Warburg’s Bilderatlas to life and exploring the ways in which it anticipated the digital age.

Our ambition is to strengthen the community of support around the Warburg Institute and raise £5 million, which will supplement the University of London’s investment of £9.5million and bring Aby Warburg’s inspiring vision to life and complete Charles Holden’s never-finished courtyard.

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The Warburg Institute: The Future of Cultural Memory 

For more than a century, the Warburg Institute has transformed the study of art and history. The movement of people and proliferation of images in the twenty-first century has made the different strands of Warburg’s vision and influence more powerful than ever.

Today, we can apply the Institute’s founding mission, academic strength and revolutionary approach to inform contemporary cultural, political and intellectual work, completing the vision and the building that houses it for new generations. The project offers a unique opportunity to support the architectural and intellectual transformation of one of the world’s leading scholarly institutions and to shape the future of cultural memory. 

The original plans of Charles Holden's Warburg Institute


This will provide the foundations for the Institute’s continued success, influence and cultural reach for many years to come. A complete renovation of the Institute’s iconic building in the heart of Bloomsbury will fulfil the vision of Aby Warburg and finish architect Charles Holden’s never completed courtyard to create perhaps the greatest concentration of colleges, libraries and museums in the world.

New spaces and programmes will allow the Institute to: 

  • Offer its expertise to new audiences; 
  • Host artists, curators, writers and translators in residence; 
  • Serve as a laboratory for experimental exhibitions; 
  • Provide a haven for scholars who have been forced into exile; and 
  • Connect with leaders in digital technology to share our collections and explore the ways in which Aby Warburg anticipated the Digital Age. 

The Warburg Institute has always been devoted to questions that dominate our digital age, namely: ‘How do I find what I need?’ & ‘What connects this piece of culture to another?’ 
Our bold aim now is to open up our work and make new connections, providing new spaces and tools for using cultural memory to shape our future.” 
Bill Sherman, Director, The Warburg Institute, 2018 

If you are interested in helping to aid us in transforming the Warburg Institute please get in touch with our Development Manager lewis.jones@sas.ac.uk