Current Exhibitions

Our gardens, parkland, The Bounds Cafe takeaway and children's activities are open Daily 11am-4pm, the Main House & Chapels are open Thursday to Sunday 1pm-4pm 

Throughout the year, Ushaw runs a series of exhibitions, ranging from accounts of the more notable of our alumni, through to art exhibitions of different themes. Visitors can come and see our exhibitions during standard opening hours. Our current exhibitions are detailed below:

Mark Fairnington - Relics  REOPEN TO VISITORS NOW!

Containing the figures of Saints, Martyrs, Sinners, Birds of Paradise, Beasts and Plants

Inspired by objects from Ushaw’s extensive permanent collection, Relics will comprise 36 paintings by Fairnington displayed alongside important items from Ushaw’s holdings. The exhibition features significant works from Fairnington’s career, including paintings from the Collected Human and Collected and Possessed series together with Specimen 11, his monumental obssessievly realist depiction of a leaf insect. 


Fairnington’s paintings will be displayed alongside items from Ushaw’s renowned collection of religious relics. Other exhibits from Ushaw’s holdings include St Cuthbert’s Ring, a medieval gold and sapphire ring removed from the Saint’s tomb at the time of the Reformation, a 19th century sculpture depicting the martyrdom of St Cecelia and a copy of Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1747), the first published record of the animal and plant life of North America.


Relics explores notions of representation; as Fairnington commented, ‘Running through the show is the concept of a representation as evidence, of something seen, witnessed and recorded. The representation presents itself as a truth however believable or unbelievable the thing represented is.’ Lucy Jenkins, Ushaw’s Heritage and Curatorial Director said, ‘we are very excited to be showing an exhibition of Mark Fairnington’s stunning paintings in a way that makes connections with the historic collections at Ushaw. Mark’s interest in the nature of collecting, in realism and the representation of human and natural history has strong resonance with Ushaw as a place of faith and learning.’

Worker’s Thread - An Exhibition By Richard Bliss
8th July - 10th October 2021


Worker’s Thread celebrates people who have been overlooked in the history of Durham. The exhibition is made up of three installations, each with a piece of ‘historic’ clothing at its heart.

“I have made these objects that never existed, but should have been collected at the time they were made.” Said Artist/Tailor Richard Bliss, who has created the exhibition.

The exhibition has been developed with groups from

Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe and volunteers at Ushaw.


A combination of conversations, and research in archives, has uncovered
the stories of; Richard Cordner, who built Bishop Auckland Town Hall; Kitty Grady who worked at Ushaw in the 1930’s; and the Pioneer women of Newton Aycliffe who developed the first schools, libraries and community centres

in the New Town.

The items of clothing have been created by studying photographs and looking at historic clothing held in the collections of The Bowes Museum,

The V&A, and the Harris Museum in Preston.

Interpretations - An Exhibition By Down's Syndrome North East


We’ve worked with Down's Syndrome North East to bring you a new

art exhibition taking place in our Main House.

Including 55 framed works, prior to lockdown DSNE held several art workshops led by parent member artist Karen Johnson.

Adult members of the group were then invited to paint their interpretations of a specific type of painting.

The exhibition runs until 26th September, so plenty of time to see it if you’re visiting our Main House. 

Life at Ushaw - reopening in due course

An interactive display giving an insight into the day to day life of the different people living here when Ushaw was a seminary and boarding school. Visitors can find out more about the lessons that were taught, the sports that were played and the army of domestic workers that were needed to keep such a vast estate running.

Throughout the exhibition visitors can listen to the stories, experiences and recollections of the people who worked or studied at Ushaw from the College professors to the housemaids who worked in the laundry. These have been collected as part of our oral history project Divine Voices which has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Outdoor Window Exhibition - on display in the grounds

Stuart Langley creates public realm works which consider light, colour, neon, sculpture and digital. Since imagining the work 'Stained Glass Cars' for Lumiere Durham 2013 he has created an extensive body of work which has been featured at light festivals, as permanent public sculpture and touring interactive artworks. 'Outdoor Windows' follows on from the stand-out light installation 'Inside Out' which brought Ushaw's iconic facade to life as a seasonal spectacle of neon and projection last winter.

To celebrate welcoming visitors to our Outdoor Bounds Cafe and stunning grounds & gardens, we commissioned artist Stuart Langley to create a series of stained glass effect artworks to add more magic and intrigue to our beautiful site. There is a total of seven ‘Outdoor Windows’, each taking inspiration from iconic objects and features unique to Ushaw and its vast collection. The artworks are displayed in the grounds, together with a design by Charlotte Marsland age 9, who won the competition to have her design created by Stuart and featured in this exhibition. We hope visitors exploring the grounds enjoy a colourful flash of inspiration, and a reminder of the treasures to be found within the soon to be reopened buildings.