COLUMN: Behind the Scenes...at the Hepworth Wakefield

Hepworth Wakefield by Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2017
Hepworth Wakefield by Marc Atkins / Art Fund 2017

For the past year I’ve been project managing the development of The Hepworth Wakefield’s website and digital infrastructure upgrades.

There are many reasons we wanted to overhaul our website, but it had become a priority because it was built in an old system which was difficult to update.

Technology has moved on a lot since we opened in 2011 and we needed to catch up. 
Our brief was to create a site that was mobile and tablet friendly, making it easier to plan your visit, give you access to more of our collections online and tell you more about our exhibitions and events.

We’ve been working with digital agency Substrakt to develop the new website, which has been great, as they primarily work on digital projects for the arts.

The new website went live in October with a range of new features. We now have more of our collection online, so you can explore Wakefield’s superb collection and perhaps make some discoveries – we are known for our holdings of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, but did you know that Wakefield owns a painting by James Tissot, contemporary of the Impressionists and acquaintance of the likes of Manet and Degas?

We’ve added information about the contemporary artists whose work we have shown at the gallery as a sort of directory of the careers we have championed.

With exhibition pages we are aiming to present creative content that enhances the experience of visiting.

You can find out more about the short but fascinating life and career of Polish artist Alina Szapocznikow in our timeline that complements our current exhibition Human Landscapes.

We’ve also got a wonderful animation of one of Stanley Spencer’s paintings from last year’s retrospective which brings the work to life through Spencer’s own words.

Another big change is a very image-led approach, so if you are a regular visitor to the gallery, you are likely to find an image of yourself somewhere on the site!

We are also delighted to have put Wakefield on Google Arts and Culture’s map, bringing The Hepworth Wakefield to more people around the world than ever before.

You can now wander through our beautiful galleries from the comfort of your computer screen using Google Street View technology.

Accompanying the camera around the building and not getting in each shot was an interesting experience!

For the next few months I am working on integrating new systems to make it easier for you to book an event or make a purchase in the shop.

After that, who knows? But one thing’s for sure we are keen to constantly improve our digital presence and the launch of this new website is just the beginning.

Visit our new website at www.hepworthwakefield.org.

I’d love to hear your thoughts - feedback@hepworthwakefield.org