From rugged rural coastlines to clustered urban environments, VASW connects artistic communities throughout South West England as a way of raising visibility, advocating diversity and developing resilience across the visual arts sector.
About VASW 3
About VASW 2

Our Ambition

Visual Arts South West is a sector support organisation. Our mission is to advocate for people in the visual arts to enable the sector to thrive in South West England.

Our core aims are:

  • Increased recognition of the value of the visual arts locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Development of a sustainable, supportive and inter-connected sector.
    • By delivering sector support projects like West Of England Visual Arts Alliance we see to foster resilience in our region.
    • We are bringing together Associate Programmes across the region to enable their resilience so they can help and support artists and independent art workers. We'll be telling you all about this on our news page soon.
    • We understand that no two areas are alike - we run events such as VASW forums to help us understand specific local issues and allow those working in the visual arts to connect to others in their area. Look out for our forthcoming symposium at the British Art Show in Plymouth.
  • To tackle structural and systemic issues in the sector.
    • We worked with artists from marginalised backgrounds to create the Together We Will recommendations for best practice. You or your organisation can pledge to uphold these.
    • We approach these issues knowing we will never finish learning to be better. Keep an eye out in the future for more work developing Inclusive Cultures.

Our vision is one of justice, inclusion, success and celebration for all across the visual arts. Join us as we make it real.

We're based at Spike Island as part of their National Portfolio Organisation funded by the Arts Council England. We are an independent organisation connected to the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network and in a position to apply for funding to develop our own work specific to the South West.

Sector Support
We seek to connect those working in the visual arts to reduce barriers between individual practitioners, organisations and funding.

Our In-house Team

Network Manager

Paula Orrell

Whilst leading the network, Paula is an independent curator and consultant and known for her curatorial approach in engaging new audiences with the visual arts and ability in supporting the development of emerging artists at the same time as working with established international artists. Art ecology and community are central to her work, as well as a socially engaged approach.

Graham 45
Online Producer

Graham MacLeod Johnson

Graham produces VASW's online programme, with a producing background in theatre, illustration and outdoor arts. Their external practice focuses on Radical Wellbeing in the sector, challenging existing standards with workshops and consultation. Currently they co-produce Kid Carpet.

Graham's website
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Katie Whitford

As well as working as an Administrator for Visual Arts South West, Katie is an artist working with printmaking, ceramics and drawing. She is currently studying for a Masters in Multidisciplinary Printmaking at University of West England.

Katie's website

Steering Group

Helen Cammock Alun Callender

Helen Cammock


Woodrow Kernohan


John Hansard Gallery
Vice Chair

Emily Bull


Creative Youth Network

Robert Leckie


Spike Island

Zoe Li

Independent Curator

Yasmin Joan Qureshi

Yasmin Joan Qureshi

Photo: @shamphat

Hannah Rose03 sq

Hannah Rose

Artist (LOW PROFILE) & Curator (The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art)


Jane Sutherland




By becoming a VASW member and contributing to our website, you’re helping to strengthen the visual arts community across the region.
Our supporters

Our Supporters

Since 2012, ongoing support from Arts Council England and partnered organisations have given VASW the power to make an invaluable impact.