BACKLIT is an artist-led public gallery and studios in Nottingham, supporting arts and culture since 2008.

Founded in 2008 as an artist-led space by Nottingham graduates, BACKLIT has evolved into an internationally renowned independent public gallery and cultural organisation.

Since opening, we have contributed to over 14 years of arts and culture, presenting more than 100 national and international exhibitions, and continuing to support significant discussions around contemporary art.

Housed in a historic Victorian building Est. 1872, the galleries feature across three floors, alongside our creative studios. We are home to over 120 artists, collectives, and associate members. Our yearly free programme of exhibitions, events and workshops support an essential framework for the public, local people, communities, students and creat­ives at all stages of life to develop.

Being LGBTQ+ and Female-led is part of our ongoing foundations as a cultural organisation. We care about equity, inclusion, mental health, the environment and being a safe space for all.

BACKLIT is a registered charity, no 1167258, and Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.

Our Focus

Over the next five years from 2022, BACKLIT​‘s work has four key areas of focus: Mental Health, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Environmental and Digital.

These key areas will flow throughout our organisation, programme, projects, staff, recruitment, governance, policies and frameworks.

Each focus area will help us deepen our research and impact to continue to provide valuable and relevant public engagement, exhibitions, learning and membership programmes.

Morley History

Originally a flourishing textile company established in 1872 by Samuel Morley, our building has a rich past of creativity, manufacturing, and production.

Samuel Morley, described as an entrepreneur, philanthropist, Member of Parliament, social reformer, and was a model employer and ardent abolitionist, originally commissioned Alfred House to be built. He was an English woollen manufacturer and political radical who pioneered progressions in industry, human rights, anti-slavery, and adult education.

Morley, an advocate of the anti-slavery movement in Nottingham and London, supported and funded Josiah Henson (a freed’ fugitive American Slave), to publish a book about his experience of Slavery and the Underground Railroad. The book changed history and is the inspiration behind Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. BACKLIT has since developed Morley Threads Archive, an online resource.

Support Us

Supporting arts and culture since 2008, BACKLIT is a charity, no 1167258, and depends on the donations and support from our visitors, patrons and funders.

Donating and supporting BACKLIT helps us achieve our charitable objectives and reinvest in our yearly free programme of exhibitions, events and workshops that support an essential framework for local people, artist development, communities, and creat­ives at all stages of life to develop.