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New Funds, New Name, New Future

We are delighted to announce that we have been successful in obtaining funds from Arts Council England which will help us strengthen the visual arts sector in the South West region over the next two years.

We have been awarded just under £150,000 by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme.  This major award will enable us to deliver exciting new projects including:

  • An artist mentoring scheme
  • A programme to develop Critical Writing
  • A major audience engagement study
  • Collaborative work with the museums sector through New Expressions
  • A Cultural Leadership programme
  • Research and development for major new contemporary art biennial

 Working with artists, partner organisations, groups and individuals, our programme will foster new ways of working, strengthen existing activity and networks and encourage greater regional collaboration in order to build a strong and valued visual arts sector in the South West. 

Visual Arts South West, over the past two years has quickly established itself as a key resource for the region.  Our expertise and awareness of what the needs are of the sector has been recognised and supported by Arts Council England through the awarding of this grant and therefore signals a new period of activity and growth in our activities, for the benefit of the Region.   

Our new name from Turning Point South West to Visual Arts South West also marks our new independent status.  We will shortly be launching a new website which will map the visual arts in the South West, provide a valuable platform for critical exchange and discussion and be a tool to better connect artists, organisations and audiences.

Tom Trevor, Chair of VASW, said “Turning Point South West has come a long way in the past two years, with the support of Arts Council England. The change of name to Visual Arts South West marks a new phase in the development of the network, as well as our independence from ACE. This coincides with the national name change from Turning Point to Contemporary Visual Arts Network. Our aim is to be a strong voice for the visual arts sector in the region, and we are already developing a wide range of projects in partnership with agencies such as Alias, Engage, Curatorial network, Contemporary Arts Society and Audiences SW. We have devised and are delivering our programme under four key areas of focus: Collaboration, Audiences, Criticality and Economy. The major award through ACE Grants for the Arts will enable us to push forward with this partnership work, and develop a programme of activity across the region, working for a stronger visual arts sector.”

Artist Julie McCalden said “As an artist and co-director of Motorcade/FlashParade in Bristol I have benefitted enormously from Turning Point South West. Their critical, timely and relevant events have opened up a space to engage with the issues that concern the whole sector, through presentations and dialogue between artists and arts professionals. These network strengthening sessions are a fantastic opportunity to become informed and be involved in shaping solutions. The Turning Point South West Curatorial Bursary, which supported ‘Bread & Roses’, has had a huge impact on the development of my curatorial practice at M/FP.”

In addition to delivering new projects, we will continue our work supporting and developing excellence in artists and arts organisations, empowering the sector with greater skills and knowledge, providing greater opportunities for collaboration within the region and beyond, developing a better understanding of audiences and extending reach, and providing leadership and advocacy for the visual arts in the South West.


Weymouth 2012 Visual Arts Networking Tour

Photo: Max McClure

Wednesday 1 August 2012, meet 11.15am Weymouth Railway Station (finish approx. 6pm)

A one off opportunity to experience the wealth of visual arts activity in Weymouth & Portland this summer and develop new conversations and collaborations on the way in a selected tour of the Cultural Olympiad Visual Arts exhibits and events. Presented by Visual Arts South West, the coach tour will comprise visits to SW's Artists Taking the Lead project 'Nowhereisland'; a selection from b-side multimedia festival including weird & wonderful mis-guided walking tours, film screenings and artist talks;  'Boat Project' from the South East, a trip to Portland Bill for an exploration of science and art through one of ExLab's commissioned projects; and opportunities for discussion with artists, curators, producers and directors of arts organisations in the region. 

The tour is free, but booking is required as places are limited. For more information and to book you place, please follow this link:


Art & Money, Artists Professional Development events

Art & Money: Artists Professional Practice events

In partnership with Contemporary Art Society, we have developed a series of Artists' professional practice events, around the theme of Artists and Economy.

Event 1 - Tuesday 22 May 2012, SVA, Stroud with Paul Hobson of Contemporary Art Society, artist Alistair Gentry and Artist and Director of Eastside Projects, Birmingham, Gavin Wade. (please note this event has already run)

Event 2 - Monday 11 June 2012, Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth. With presentations from Paul Hobson of Contemporary Art Society, artist Paul Harrison (of Wood and Harrison) and Simon Morrissey, Curator and Director of Works|Projects. For more information, or to book, please see

Event 3 - Tuesday 19 June 2012, Bridport, Dorset. With presentations from Sophia Bardsley of Contemporary Art Society, artist Tania Kovats and introductions to digital platforms for contemporary artists from Paul Stickland and Peter Dickinson. For more information, or to book, please see


Bursary Recipients Announced!

We are pleased to announce the recipients of our Research & Project Bursary Funds. This opportunity, which is intended to give opportunities for curators, artists and writers in the region to develop their practice, make new connections and links to the wider visual arts network, was extremely popular and we were unfortunately able to support only a small percentage of applications.

We look forward to collective feedback from successful participants and discussion amongst the wider visual arts South West network for our learning and dissemination event in the Autumn (date & details TBC).

 Successful Travel Bursary Applications

1. Bryony Gillard, Artist, Bristol             £254.00
Support to visit 7th Berlin Biennale and dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel.
Aim is to initiate a relationship with other artist-led groups in the respective cities whilst visiting two major International art events.
2. Clare Thornton, Artist, Bristol            £248.00
Support to take part in Summer Lodge, July 2012 at the Fine Art Department, Nottingham Trent University - invited by writer Emma Cocker.
3. Matthew Pontin, Artist, Plymouth           £300.00
To Support a research trip to meet Directors of number of organisations including Belfast Exposed Photography, Photo Ireland, Source Magazine and Open Eye gallery.
4. Hand in Glove, Curatorial Group, Bristol                £300.00
To support research trip to visit artist led groups across the UK which include among others: Project Space 11, Plymouth; OSR Projects / Reveal, Somerset, Site Festival, Stroud, Eastside Projects / Grand Union / Lombard Method, Birmingham, Airspace, Stoke-on-Trent, Royal Standard, Liverpool adn S1 Artspace, Nottingham,
5. Simon Lee Dicker, Artist, West Coker, Somerset                £300.00
To support trip to Ukraine to develop partnership with artist led group 'Open Place' and research Ukraine's art scene including their inclusion in the inaugural Kiev Biennial.
6. Anna Clawson and Nicole Ward, Artists, Bristol                   £300.00
To support research trip to Manifesta9, Genk, Belgium to visit major International Art Event and develop links with other artist led-groups in Belgium
7. Betina Wennzel, Curator, Newquay                    £300.00
To support research trip to the Liverpool Biennial, 2012 & continue conversation with Sally Tallant about multi-sited events and meet specific community groups in Liverpool for development of current project.
8. Suzanne Mooney , Artist, Bristol                      £100.00
Part-funded trip to dOCUMENTA 13. Kassel and Musum Fur Moderne Kunst to meet Curator Mak Dickinson and visit his commercial gallery Alte Bruecke.
9. Nancy Murphy Spicer, Artist, Bristol                   £100.00
Part funded trip to visit dOCUMENTA 13. Kassel - this year's theme of the nature of objects, particularly relevant to practice and report back to wider Associates group
10. Martha Crean, Curator, Exeter               £100.00
Part funded trip to Liverpool Biennial to see work of Jeane Van Heeswijk and Grizedale Arts to discuss potential collaborations.
11. Louisa Fairclough, Artist, Stroud, £200.00
Part funded to support research trip to Documenta 13 and Manifest 9 and to fund an artist to return to Stroud for a Mezz event at SVA.
Successful Curatorial Bursary Applications
1. Julie McCalden, Cultural Producer, Bristol                 £300.00
To support the exhibition Bread & Roses at Motorcade/Flashparade which will support the production of new work and profile of 11 emerging artists.
2. Martyn Cross, Artist and Writer, Bristol                     £300.00
To support the project 'Crumbling Into Dust' in the Old Edwardian Toilets, Bristol, drawing on a 1933 publication 'English Eccentrics' by the avant-garde poet Edith Sitwell.
3. Bristol Diving School, Artist led group, Bristol           £300.00
To support collaborative exhibition with artist collective Third Belgrade, Serbia to take place at KARST, Plymouth, 2012.
4. Sam Playford-Greenwell, Artist and Curator, Bristol      £200.00
To support two new commissions for a forthcoming off-site project as part of Supernormal festival 2012, involving four regionally based artists.




Art & Money Professional Development Seminar

This professional development day is aimed at critically engaged artists who have been practicing for over 5 years. The day will give insights into the contemporary art market, working with curators and an alternative look at ways in which artistic practice can be sustained. With keynote presentations from Paul Hobson, Director of Contemporary Art Society; Alistair Gentry, Artist and Writer and founder of Market Project; and Gavin Wade, Artist and Director of Eastside Projects, Birmingham.

A limited number of places are available for small group 'surgeries' with the speakers in the afternoon. 

The event is a Turning Point South West event, in partnership with SVA with support from the Contemporary Art Society. Tickets £12 including lunch and refreshments. Booking is essential as places are limited 01453 751440 or or you can book online via