a gallery with art adorning the walls


Attenborough Arts Centre is the largest contemporary art gallery in Leicester and one of the largest in the East Midlands. The gallery was  funded by Arts Council England, University of Leicester and over one thousand public donations.

Art is for everyone

We curate four free-to-access gallery spaces across Attenborough Arts Centre. Situated on the first floor, our balcony gallery connects our bustling studio spaces with our café and theatre, and hosts four to six exhibitions a year. Our three main galleries host three large scale exhibitions per year, and can be the most peaceful spaces in Leicester.

Highly adaptable, these spaces have hosted a wide range of art pieces from artists all around the world from across the spectrum of artistic disciplines.

Carbon Bell, 2019, jesmonite and hemp rope, 37 x 37 x 37 cm

Yambe Tam: Cosmic Garden

Saturday 18 September – Sunday 21 November 2021
Cosmic Garden’ is the result of a commission from Attenborough Arts Centre that builds upon an earlier installation presented at Barbican Arts Trust in 2019. The immersive sound and sculpture installation imagines a primordial garden that lies in darkness, a dry landscape of volcanic rock crushed and crystallised under the weight of time.

Yambe Tam (b.1989, US) is an artist based in London. She works across a wide range of media, from painting, ceramics and sculpture to video game design and virtual reality. Her practice is rooted in a deep interest in the evolution of consciousness which Yambe explores through the creation of contemplative, multi-sensory experiences. In the process of researching and making her work, Yambe regularly collaborates with specialists including composers, creative technologists and scientists.

In this exhibition, Metallic wormholes are suspended in the air above. They sing a ghostly chorus about the infinity of space: a faint siren song whose vibrations draw rippling columns that appear to grow from the mineral pool below. ‘Cosmic Garden’ is a birthplace of protean waveforms that shift between sound, light, and matter, and is a space that the artist invites us to enter and contemplate the transitory nature of things.

In creating ‘Cosmic Garden’, Yambe was particularly influenced by Japanese gardens, which are meticulously crafted according to particular aesthetics and philosophical ideas. These gardens are transitional environments designed to create a space for reflection upon the interconnectedness of life and the passage of time. Echoing the forms and function of the Japanese dry garden, ‘Cosmic Garden’ is a celebration of the formidable power and form of the natural world: from the depths of the oceans to the farthest reaches of outer space.

Birds eye view of books in boxes

The World is a Work in Progress

25 September 2021 – 16 January 2022 
The World is a Work in Progress is an exhibition that invites local communities, contemporary artists and our visitors to come together to share their visions for the future. Encompassing tactile tapestry, spaces for thinking and dreamingbrand new sculpture and protest banners, the exhibition features newly commissioned works, co-produced projects and several significant loans by artists whose work actively engages with the conditions of our time. 

The artists represented in the exhibition respond to these themes in markedly different ways, but their practices are connected by an interest in social and political activism, co-production and concepts of futurity. Some highlight the inequalities and prejudice that exist in our societies today, acting as a call to action in the here and now. Other works explore a variety of possible futures and invite us to collaborate in imagining the future that we want for ourselves and our communities. If the world is a work in progress, what do we want to change? What might the next 100 years have in store? 

The University of Leicester celebrates its centenary in Autumn 2021. It is no coincidence that the public fund that would go on to endow the University of Leicester was opened on Armistice Day in 1918. Then known as the University College for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, the University College was envisaged as a ‘living memorial’ to the sacrifices of local people in the First World War. Leicester was to have, as the local paper put it, “more than a mere artistic war memorial”. The University motto ’Ut vitam habeant’ (‘so that they may have life’) stands as a permanent reminder on every publication and degree certificate issued since. We are the only European university founded as a memorial to the First World War, and one of only two anywhere in the world. 

Participating Artists

Ruth Beale, Michael Forbes, Khush Kali, Vince Laws, Bob & Roberta Smith, Kai Syng Tan, Jessica Voorsanger.

two people, a boy and man, hold models of houses on their palms


By Two Destination Language
2 October 2021 – 24 October 2021 
In August 2021, Kat and Alister from Two Destination Language met with young people from Leicester and talked about what home is for them. These short stories are a glimpse into their worlds and hopes — past, present and future.

Visit our gallery space for the full exhibition, an audible and visual exploration into the idea of home.

Please pick up an audio player, sit down, relax and enjoy the short stories of the young people’s experiences of home in their own words.

After you have listened to MY LAND YOUR LAND, we invite you to fill in one of the cards from the booth. You can post it in a drawer or take your card to reception and we will then add it to the growing collection in the café.

Tell us what you think — @2destlang #MyLandYourLand @AttenboroughAC

MY LAND YOUR LAND is part of University of Leicester’s Centenary Celebrations.

the cafe full of people with a group singing

Gallery Late

19 November, 8pm – Late
A night of music, spoken word, film, debate, and art, all happening across our galleries.
Join us for our latest Gallery Late, an opportunity to see the current exhibition after hours whilst enjoying Life Drawing in the galleries, and a night of film, spoken word, debate, arts and crafts, a brownie bar and more.
Tickets for this event are free but booking is recommended.
tetrahedrons in combed sand

Visual Arts Commissioning 2019 - 2020

We are working with a wide range of artists throughout 2019 – 2020 across a number of disciplines and styles.
covers of the NJITA magazine

No Jobs In The Arts

No Jobs in the Arts is a new zine, shining a light on some of the amazing visual artists working in the East Midlands today.
A golden clad dummy wearing a golden sun mask

Exhibition Archive

An archive of the exhibitions we have shown over the last 20 years