Biorama Exhibition
BIB Arts Forum
Biographical Gardens
BIB Research Centre
Education Outreach
Information Access Centre
Conference, Shop, Café

About the BIB

The British Institute of Biography (BIB) was established in 1996, as a registered charity. Its mission is to foster the record, study and interpretation of real lives, in all media.

Since the time of Dr Johnson biography has been one of Britain's most distinctive contributions to modern culture - from books to biopics. Yet there has never been a central institution in Britain to promote the art and practice of biography.

It was felt that, with National Lottery backing, Britain could and should retain its leading position in the biographical world by the creation of an international biographical arts centre. An application was therefore made to the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England to explore the viability of such a centre.

In May 1996 Arts Council of England awarded the British Institute of Biography a major Lottery grant for a full Feasibility Study for the centre - provisionally titled the BIORAMA Real Lives Centre.

The proposal envisaged 'the creation of a visitor centre (BIORAMA), multi-purpose biographical arts centre (BIB Forum), research centre, educational outreach programme and biographical archive'.

The name BIORAMA derives from the panorama or view of human life. The aim, in conceiving the BIORAMA Real Lives Centre, is to provide a new, world focus upon real lives, in a central location.

The centre will fulfill its mission by:

  • fostering biographical work and an appreciation of the biographical arts, in all media: a field in which Britain excels;
  • developing an international programme of biographical anniversary celebrations for visitors to the BIORAMA Real Lives Centre, but accessible also via electronic communications and radio and cable television broadcasting.
  • establishing a research and education centre of international excellence, in the field of biography;
  • creating a national repository of, and gateway to, knowledge concerning real people.

To achieve these objectives, seven interrelated components of the BIORAMA Real Lives Centre, as envisaged in the Pre-Feasibility Study, were examined by the Steering Committee and Feasibility Study Team. These are the BIORAMA Exhibition, BIB Arts Forum, Biographical Gardens, BIB Research Centre, Education Outreach, BIB Information Access Centre, and Conference, Shop and Café facilities.

Consultation has been underway for some time and views have been incorporated into the Feasibility Study. This study is about to be published and copies are available in designated public libraries and from the Arts Council of England. Further views are now actively sought.

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