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New Website Launched

Our new website is now online and contains all the news, information and updates about the visual arts in the south west. Please now refer to the new website for information about Visual Arts South West.


Regional Sector Meeting 2012

29 November 2012, 10.30am - 5pm

Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM), Exeter

Join us for an opportunity to hear about the work of Visual Arts South West, input your thoughts in to its future and discuss how we can strengthen and develop the visual arts in the South West. With a keynote presentation from John Holden on Network Culture, the event will be an opportunity to make new connections, share knowledge and experiences and develop a shared vision for the creation, presentation and promotion of contemporary art in the region.

For more information, and to register, please go to the Eventbrite booking site>>

There are a limited number of travel bursaries for artists and freelancers. To apply for one, please contact Grace Davies, Regional Development Coordinator at


New Artist Opportunity - Engagement Network South West

Engagement Network is a partnership programme between engage, the National Association for Gallery Education and Visual Arts South West. The programme aims to contribute to some of Visual Arts South West’s key objectives:

  • Developing better understanding of audiences and extending reach.
  • Supporting and developing excellence in artists and arts organisations.
  • Empowering the sector with greater skills and knowledge.
  • Providing greater opportunities for networking, partnership working and collaborative projects, including engagement with wider networks nationally and internationally

 The 6-month pilot project proposes to investigate the development of artists’ practice in social engagement through collaborative research between an artist, an arts organisation and a university. The aim is to place artists at the centre of research around how the visual arts sector addresses key issues in audience development and engagement.

Engagement Network is now seeking proposals from artists with significant experience of working in a socially engaged context, to undertake a residency with a visual arts organisation in the South West.

During January to June 2013 two artist residencies with two organisations will run in parallel, each developing and testing key research questions to examine ways of creating a dialogue between the artist, the organisation and audiences, whilst considering what contribution an artist might make to address issues of audience engagement. Areas of enquiry that might inform a backdrop to more specific research questions could include: What does it mean to ‘participate’? What are our expectations of audiences to engage the visual arts? To what extent does an active involvement with the making of art inform experiences of art? How do the physical spaces of the arts organisation influence a visitors’ experience? How can we be more creative in how we understand who audiences are and what their motivations are to attend and participate?

Ongoing reflection and evaluation will be key to this programme. Residency artists should take a reflective approach to the development of the research and, in addition, the artist and the organisation will be partnered with a regional university to support and define the evaluation framework.

Learning from this programme will be shared across wider visual arts networks through engage and VASW. The residencies will be complimented by four learning cells - discussion and dissemination events at different venues across the SW region. Each event will create the opportunity for a wider pool of arts practitioners, including early career and more experienced artists, gallery educators, writers, curators, researchers and directors to meet and explore the programme’s ongoing findings. Successful residency applicants will be required to contribute to these cells by sharing their practice and experiences. Each learning cell will explore elements of audience engagement and critique current language and methodologies around the sector’s approach to audience development. The events will aim both to strengthen and feed into the ongoing research and act as a professional development opportunity for emerging practitioners. The specific content of these events will be defined as each residency progresses, in order to be responsive to findings and questions as they arise.

For the pilot project there are four organisations for potential collaboration: Arnolfini, Bristol, Plymouth Arts Centre, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, Penzance and Spacex, Exeter. Artists are invited to propose to work with a particular organisation that relates to their location or concerns, or this can be established in negotiation with Engagement Network once artists’ proposals have been submitted.

To apply please submit an outline proposal (maximum 800 words) stating your interest in how artists might better contribute to developing and engaging audiences. You should outline how you would approach this opportunity, how you would record your findings and detail how this opportunity would develop your practice. You should also include information about your experience and understanding of audience engagement and an indication of possible research questions you’d be interested in developing.

Applications should be accompanied by an artist CV and web links for your practice.

Artist fee: £1800 to cover the equivalent of £180 per day for 10 days during January to June 2013.

Deadline for applications is Monday 26th November 2012

Interviews will be held at Arnolfini, Bristol on Wednesday 5th December 2012 (Please keep this day free if you intend to apply).

Please send proposals to Kirsty Lowry, Engagement Network Coordinator:




New Artist Opportunity - Regional Interference

Visual Arts South West in collaboration with Works|Projects are offering a unique opportunity for unrepresented artists living in the South West region.


WORKS|PROJECTS is an internationally recognised commercial gallery in the Arts Council of England’s South West region. WORKS|PROJECTS represents a stable of critically engaged emerging and established British artists and presents an ambitious programme of national and international quality in Bristol as well as participating in national and international art fairs and staging off-site projects. Over the past 4 years since opening in 2008 the gallery has built an excellent reputation for securing significant exhibition opportunities and sales of work to noteworthy collections for the artists it works with.


In collaboration with Visual Arts South West, Regional Interference will offer 5 contemporary artists based in the Arts Council of England South West region who at present do not have commercial gallery representation in the UK the opportunity to be supported by WORKS|PROJECTS for the duration of the Regional Interference programme. 

The opportunity includes the following for each successful artist:

  • ·      support from WORKS|PROJECTS for a minimum period of 4 months (December 2012 – March 2013)
  • ·      professional development sessions with WORKS|PROJECTS’ Director, Simon Morrissey, on your practice, networks, documentation, pricing, presentation, promotion, and potential income streams
  • ·      participation in a 3 month exhibition season at WORKS|PROJECTS  in Bristol dedicated to the programme
  • ·      Implementation of professional support structure in the form of press archives, inventories of work, professional photographic documentation
  • ·       an illustrated, professionally designed critical profile on their work by a selected art critic
  • ·      presentation of your work at the London Art Fair (16-20 January 2013) and work presented to collectors and professionals at WORKS|PROJECTS new private viewing space in London, WORKS|PROJECTS STUDIO during the duration of the programme
  • ·      the opportunity to present talks on your work to public audiences in the South West region
  • ·      the opportunity to meet nationally recognised curators, gallerists, critics and collectors through access to WORKS|PROJECTS extensive professional network
  • the potential to secure further exhibition opportunities, critical writing or commissions through contacts made through the programme

For further information, including details of how to apply, please see here >>


Call for Partners - Measuring Quality of Experience

Image:bau Stelle, Christine + Irene Hohenbuchler + Young Arnolfini Artist's Collective + participants, 2010, photo: Arnolfini, Bristol (UK)

A unique opportunity to take part in this pioneering study and develop techniques to demonstrate the value of your work

Visual Arts South West (part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network) have commissioned a pioneering study from Annabel Jackson that examines the Quality of Experience in the contemporary visual arts, in partnership with Arnolfini, Spike Island, Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Plymouth Arts Centre. This study will develop criteria by which we measure Quality of Experience, and will provide the tools to help arts organisations put these into practice. Annabel has already drafted a paper on conceptualizing quality of experience in the arts, which you can access here:

The next stage is to pilot methods with three contemporary visual arts organisations in the South West and others across England.


The project is a unique opportunity to understand how we can measure Quality of Experience in our visitor experience, and by doing this creates measurable evidence of ‘high quality of experience’ to our key stakeholders particularly in the lead up to the next ACE review of portfolio organisations to ensure long-term survival.

In addition to our main partners, we are also looking for interested organisations to take part in a SHARING PANEL, which will actively contribute to the shape of the programme, disseminate the findings and learn how to adopt the methods for their own evaluation purposes. The Sharing Panel will meet once a year and share through online dialogue. Anyone can take part in this panel.

If you are an organisation in the South West region interested in finding out more, please click here >>

If you are an organisation in any other part of the UK interested in finding out more, please click here>>