VASW Co-Chairs to Step Down Next Month

Fol­low­ing two inspir­ing and impact­ful years, Louise Coysh and Jamie East­man are step­ping down from their roles as Co-Chairs at the end of August 2020.


Paula Orrell, Network Manager of VASW, says:

"Visual Arts South West can't thank both Jamie Eastman and Louise Coysh enough for their considerable support. Their approach as Co-Chairs has enabled our organisation to flourish. It is often not recognised enough by our sector how valuable volunteering is to an organisation and the impact that skilled professional arts workers have. They are both a true example of amazing leaders, brilliant managers and advocates for our art form and community. We look forward to working with them still as part of the sector in their roles as Arts Directors for Bath and Southampton Universities."

Louise and Jamie reflect on their time as Co-Chairs of VASW:

“We believe in the collective power of VASW as an essential network that connects, supports and advocates for the region’s visual arts ecology, from individual artists to a wide range of organisations and galleries, for the value that they bring to their communities and places.

We have achieved what we set out to do. VASW is stronger and ideally placed as an essential voice, supporting the visual arts in the region and nationally, as part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN). Alongside our brilliant team and steering group, things are well placed for a new Chair (or Co-Chairs) to step in and maintain momentum. At a time when its vital the cultural sector stands united, supports new voices and innovates purposefully, they must bring passion and a willingness to advocate for and be a vocal champion for our SW and national visual arts ecology, ensuring VASW is a partner and friend to the amazing individuals, organisations and collectives, based in our region, fuelling UK visual arts development and engagement.

We’re proud to have appointed Paula Orrell, Nella Aarne and Daniel Waller to the team. They have brought strategic intent, ambition and engagement to the centre of our programme. We’ve been supported by our Steering Group colleagues who generously give their time, share their knowledge and experience, and offer alternative perspectives.

Finally, thanks to our colleagues at Spike Island who host VASW and to Arts Council England – South West for their continued support and guidance.”

Adjusting to this change in our leadership, we have opened applications for a new Chair/Co-Chairs to support this vital network in the next major phase of its development and to work alongside Vice Chair Emily Bull (Creative Youth Network). Applications are open to individuals, individuals interested in Co-Chairing, and pairs who would like to Co-Chair together. Find out more about this role and apply here.

We are also looking to grow our Steering Group further and are welcoming new artist members. If you are an early (aged 21 – 26) or mid-career artist who is actively engaged in the South West’s Visual Arts sector and wants to see it thrive, we’d love to hear from you. Find out more about what it means to be a member of the VASW steering group, and apply to be an artists member here.