The Sainsbury Research Unit is based in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA), on the UEA campus. The Sainsbury Centre building was built initially as the home of the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, a unique art collection spanning 5000 years of human history and creativity, with objects from cultures across the world including Africa, Oceania and the Americas. The Sainsburys donated their collection to the University in 1973 and the centre opened in 1978.
The centre also hosts the University's department of Art History and World Art studies, a restaurant and other visitor facilities.
Other related institutions are the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC), and the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust (SADACC), based at other locations in Norwich.
These institutions recently participated in the Sainsbury Institute for Art (SIFA) project which brought together the expertise of its constituent members to collaborate in a series of events, exhibitions and visitor programmes, academic research and conferences, teaching and public engagement activities to promote an integrated, interdisciplinary approach to art as a global phenomenon.
The SIFA project, which ran from 2011 to 2016 organised the Robert Sainsbury Lecture series at UEA, with speakers such as Neil MacGregor, Norman Foster and Chris Dercon discussing Art, Architecture and Museums and also introductory courses in Art History, Archaeology and Anthropology.
See the SIFA website for archive information on the achievements of the project.