Potential Future Trends in the Recording and Preservation of Murals

Murals have long been an important form of public art, representing cultural expressions and narratives, and creating a sense of identity within communities. However, due to urban development, environmental damage, vandalism, and the passage of time, many murals have been lost. The initiative by Art UK to record and photograph approximately 5,000 murals across the UK is a significant step towards the preservation and documentation of this important art form.

The Importance of a Comprehensive Database

Art UK’s plan to create a free public database of recorded murals is a significant development for the art world. This database will serve as a comprehensive resource for researchers, art enthusiasts, and the general public to explore and learn about various murals throughout the UK. It will document not only painted murals but also those made of various materials like concrete, brick, wood, stone, and tile.

With the inclusion of murals by prominent street artist Banksy, the database will attract even more attention. Banksy’s works are known for their social and political commentary, and often become headlines when damaged or removed. By including these works, Art UK ensures that they are preserved and accessible to future generations.

The Challenges of Documenting Troubles-related Murals

One of the standout challenges for Art UK’s initiative will be documenting murals in Northern Ireland, particularly those related to the Troubles. The violent unrest between Catholic and Protestant communities during that period adds a layer of sensitivity to the project. However, it is crucial to include these murals in the database as they hold historical significance and provide insights into the social and political climate of that time. It will require skilled researchers with deep cultural understanding to navigate this aspect of the project successfully.

Preservation Through Digitalization

The digitalization of murals is a crucial step in preserving these artworks for future generations. Digitalization allows for easier accessibility, documentation, and conservation efforts. Through high-quality photographs and detailed records, the database created by Art UK will serve as a visual and informational archive, ensuring that these murals are not lost to time or subjected to environmental damage.

Enhancing Accessibility and Education

The three-year initiative by Art UK goes beyond documentation and preservation. The inclusion of workshops, audio descriptions for the blind and partially sighted, mural trails, and learning resources for teachers highlights the importance of accessibility and education. By making art inclusive and educational, the initiative aims to engage a wider audience and foster appreciation for murals as an important cultural heritage.

Predictions and Recommendations

The future trends related to the recording and preservation of murals are likely to center around advanced technology and enhanced accessibility. Here are some predictions and recommendations for the industry:

  1. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can play a significant role in providing immersive experiences with murals. Users could explore murals virtually, even if they are no longer physically present.
  2. Collaboration between art organizations, local communities, and technology experts can ensure a more comprehensive and accurate record of murals. Crowdsourcing data collection efforts can help in discovering and documenting lesser-known murals.
  3. Engaging with local artists can generate new works inspired by the recorded murals, creating a dynamic art ecosystem that continuously evolves.
  4. Promoting the use of sustainable materials and techniques during mural creation can contribute to their longevity and reduce the environmental impact.

By incorporating these predictions and recommendations, the industry can embrace technology, foster collaboration, encourage creativity, and ensure the long-term preservation and accessibility of mural art.


Art UK’s initiative to record and digitize murals across the UK is a significant step towards preserving this unique form of public art. The creation of a comprehensive database, inclusion of pivotal works by Banksy, and the focus on accessibility and education demonstrates the commitment to ensuring the longevity and appreciation of murals. As technology continues to advance, it is crucial for the industry to adapt and embrace new trends that enhance accessibility, promote collaboration, and contribute to the long-term preservation of mural art.


  1. [1] Art UK. (2022). Up to 5,000 murals across UK will be recorded and photographed. Retrieved from https://www.artuk.org/about/blog/up-to-5000-murals-across-uk-will-be-recorded-and-photographed
  2. [2] The Art Newspaper. (2022). Banksy murals to be included in Art UK’s three-year volunteer project. Retrieved from https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/banksy-murals-in-art-uk-database
  3. [3] National Lottery Heritage Fund. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/
  4. [4] The Pilgrim Trust. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.thepilgrimtrust.org.uk/
  5. [5] Historic England. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://historicengland.org.uk/