Pop-up Galleries

There's more to London's art scene than just its world-famous galleries. Join Joe as he finds out about a new kind of gallery...

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to the Tasks and do the activities. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • Where do you normally go to see art?
  • What venues display new art for sale in your country?
  • Why might artists like a smaller place to show their art?

Now watch Joe discover the world of pop-up galleries.


Joe: London is famous for its vibrant art scene. It’s got some of the best art galleries in the world. Among them, the National Gallery... the Tate Britain... the National Portrait Gallery and many more. They are here permanently; they are part of the London landscape. But not all our galleries are like that.

Now there’s a new kind of art gallery springing up or popping up in London. They’re set up quickly, enjoyed for a short time, maybe a few days or a week. And then they close again. They’re called pop-up art galleries.

All you need is an empty building, permission from the owner, some artists and then some visitors to pop in.


In London’s Covent Garden a new pop-up art gallery is being organised in an empty shop by Ryan Stanier.

Joe: Hi, Ryan.

Ryan: Hi, Joe.

Joe: You alright?

Ryan: Yes, good.

Joe: So Ryan, what are the advantages of a pop-up art gallery compared to a traditional gallery?

Ryan: Big, traditional galleries take on less artists when times are tough. Therefore it’s a good opportunity for a younger audience to actually see emerging artists.

Joe: And it’s good for visitors as well.

Ryan: Absolutely. It’s free to come in. We try and make an informal environment making it very unintimidating and a nice buying environment to buy affordable art from young artists.

Joe: What can I help you with?

Ryan: Come inside and I’ll show you.


Ryan: Well, welcome to the gallery. As you can see, there’s still a bit left to do.

Joe: Let me help you out.

Pop-up galleries are an example of people creating an opportunity during economic hard times. It’s a way of using buildings which would otherwise be empty.

OK, so that’s the hard work done. Now it’s time to see what’s on show.


London’s newest pop-up art gallery is finally open to the public. But what do they think of it?

Woman 1: Yeah, I think it’s really neat. It’s a good idea.

Man 1: Well, I think it’s a fantastic use of space.

Woman 2: It doesn’t look like it’s just been put up. It looks like it could have been here for quite a while.

Man 2: Yeah, it’s a very, sort of, you know, bright, colourful, in your face and it’s a good space to sort of go in.


Laura is one of the artists whose work is on display here.

Joe: Laura, most of these paintings here are yours. What was it that made you want to put your art work in a pop-up art gallery?

Laura: Erm, it’s just a basically an excellent opportunity to be able to display work which I might not have been able to do in a more established gallery.

Joe: Has it helped you as an artist?

Laura: Definitely. I mean, for somebody who’s not established yet, it’s better to have the paintings in a shop than to have them at home still.

Joe: And you sell them here, don't you?

Laura: Yes.

Joe: It’s been a great way to bring more art to more people and no doubt another one will be popping up soon.

Task 1

Answer the comprehension question.


Task 2

Answer the true/false questions about pop-up galleries.


Task 3

Choose the best adjective to complete each sentence. Check the Transcript if you are not sure.


Average: 5 (1 vote)
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Submitted by yuldus83 on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 11:34

Hello everyone, in 2018 I had a chance to visit London and had been to one gallery don't remember the name but it was close to Bakhingam Palace, the paintings were very huge and remarkable, and all paintings were digitalized, that means visitors have an opportunity to see tiny images which would impossible to see even if you stare for several hours. I agree with that -London is famous for its vibrant art scene... that's true!
Profile picture for user fidaasiddig

Submitted by fidaasiddig on Sun, 13/10/2019 - 14:13

Hello (display work which I might not have been able to do) What the condition make it present perfect here?
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Mon, 14/10/2019 - 07:40

In reply to by fidaasiddig


Hello fidaasiddig

That is not the present perfect -- it is the modal verb 'might' with 'have' and a past participle -- see our Modals with 'have' page for an explanation of this grammar. Here Laura is speaking hypothetically about a possible future; she would perhaps not be able to display this work in other galleries.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user fidaasiddig

Submitted by fidaasiddig on Mon, 07/10/2019 - 10:02

(Sort of go in) go in seem like a noun what it means here

Hello fidaasiddig

This is informal speech. 'go in' is a phrasal verb that means 'enter' and 'sort of' basically means 'in some way' here. It suggests the man isn't completely sure about what he is saying.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Profile picture for user btriton

Submitted by btriton on Mon, 04/06/2018 - 18:07

Mi wife likes this type of art so much, and my daughter paints this type of pop up art, for my side only I like go together and discover all of these beautiful art.