WEVAA supports the visual arts ecology in the West of England through programming, advocacy and partnership working. The goal of the alliance is to invest in development and increase the visibility and resources for the visual arts community.
Our annual programme of Research and Development Fellowship and Bursary Programme supports artists/groups annually to further their practice. WEVAA Fellows receive £10,000 to support the development of their work and the visual arts sector. The bursary programme offers artists up to £1000 to support creative practice and create a step change in career development. Find details of fellowship and bursary recipients below.
Partners Bath Spa University have produced research which makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the visual arts ecology in the city by encouraging interaction between professionals and students, and supporting wider community engagement with contemporary art practice. A monthly networking event, WEVAA Wednesdays, enables informal information sharing and has helped to develop networks.
As part of the process of building a visual arts infrastructure in Weston, Culture Weston have worked with Weston Artspace to secure their long-term future. Weston Artspace successfully applied for funding, and have been awarded a R&D Fellowship (details below) to set up a sustainable infrastructure for the visual arts in Weston, providing much needed capacity.
Bristol City Council have begun to research to develop a Cultural Infrastructure Plan (CIP) for Bristol. This will be an opportunity to set out what cultural spaces are needed and should be supported in the city, and will enable the city to plan for cultural development.
The University of the West of England supports the alliance through stewardship, funding, and the development of their partnership with Spike Island. The School of Art and Design have created two new roles to support partnership work, including a Partnership Support Assistant and a Research Fellow.
Creative Youth Network have worked with Spike Island to deliver an Engagement commission with Rachel Bradley and four young artists from their Creative Futures Programme. They have also worked with VASW to co-produce workshops.
Research & Development Fellowships and Bursaries 2023-2024
Bristol Refugee Artists Collective
Bristol Refugee Artists Collective (BRAC) is a group of 15 artists from different countries, cultures and languages who share a passion for creativity and a love of the universal language of art. Participants come from Sudan, India, Turkey, Afghanistan, Palestine, Bangladesh, Brazil, Iran, Syria and Kurdistan.
BRAC demonstrates the power of collectivism to advocate unity in society despite differences in age, gender, physical ability, ethnic, economic, or social backgrounds. They believe in equal opportunity for everyone to experience creativity in all mediums, regardless of skill-level; and gain deeper understanding of other cultures and heritages through exchanging and learning new skills, and improving capabilities together.
During the fellowship, BRAC will work collaboratively to develop their ideas and share their practice in community art. The group will participate in workshops with mentors and an active research process, and co-create public events to further their practice as emerging artists, entrepreneurs, community activists and leaders.
Rachael Clerke is an artist and organiser based in Bristol. They create generous artworks that sit somewhere on the edge of live art and community infrastructure; playful experiments about what real life might look like if we were less concerned with what real life ‘should’ look like.
This includes: a shop for talking about economics; a performance score for 3-5 year olds to take power over institutional art space; a piece of drag-gig-theatre about architecture; a book of 151 ideas for overthrowing the government; a quilt of general election data; a business selling shares in a communal bicycle; and a podcast about private renting.
Art Business Ltd is the third business in Rachael's 10-year seriesBusinesses, a project that asks if art can do business, and if a business can be art. Art Business will serve as a playful container for art and art-adjacent activities undertaken by the artist formerly known as sole trader Rachael Clerke. Over the fellowship Rachael will constitute the business, document & publish its activities, wear a uniform, convene a DIY artist-led business school (the Art Business Art Business school) and collaborate with artist Clara Potter-Sweet to develop the cathartic 'dance of professionalisation for survival'.
dhaqan collective asks and seeks to find ways of building imaginative futures that support Somali people here and in East Africa to resist the threats over cultural heritage. They are a feminist art collective of Somali women, centering the voices of womxn and elders in our community, and privilege co-creation and collaboration.
The collective uses everyday materials, cassette tapes, food, textiles, to create spaces of communion, joy and healing that centre the full range of Somali diasporic experiences. Their creative ecology is rooted in the collective thinking of Somali nomadic life and the creativity at its heart.
dhaqan’s fellowship will be centred on craft and weaving as a way of centring conversations around cultural inheritance, climate change, pastoralism & movement, connections between varied geographies, and cultural memory. They will take a knowledge-centered approach in developing their practice with Somali Handicrafts, and strengthen and expand their community network to provide a larger impact for Somali people in Bristol.
2023-2024 Bursary recipients
13 artists were awarded bursaries of between £500 and £1000 to further their practice and create a step change in their careers. Their projects include a range of activities, from mentoring and training, to opportunities to travel and develop new work. Click on the artist's names to find out more about their work.
See below for reflections by previous bursary artists.
Research & Development Fellowships and Bursaries 2022-2023
Kat Anderson is a visual artist, musician, and filmmaker from Bristol currently working under a film and research framework called Episodes of Horror, which explores the representations of mental illness and trauma; as experienced by and or projected upon Black bodies, and as constructed and recorded using lens-based media and literature. Utilising ‘Horror’ - a genre which draws audiences in for entertainment but leaves us questioning everyday horrors - the work asks its audience to reflect upon our current cultural and social landscape of systemic social injustices and race relations, as well as drastically increased levels of mental illness.
For the fellowship, Kat will develop a new project that considers the effect of trauma on the voice of Black womxn; the vocalisation and reception of Black trauma, protest in public spaces, and the policing of Black womxn’s voices. The work will respond to the marginalisation of the Black womxn and enable the activation and amplification of her voice through vocal and sonic experimentation and composition, contextualised within a long history of Black sonic experimental political resistance.
Music to Come
Evolving out of the DIY community, Music to Come aims to develop a lasting framework for artists and projects working with sound, experimental music and performance. The fellowship will be used to build relationships with diverse artists and groups working in this field. It will explore ways of supporting them individually and collectively in the long term to develop, produce and present new work, reach wider audiences and progress their careers through commissions, collaborations and tours. A key objective is to research and develop a sustainable and cooperative platform for resourcing projects and representing artists working in this critical area of independent creative practice.
Music to Come is initiated by Dali de Saint Paul, Max Kelan and Al Cameron. Dali de Saint Paul is a vocalist, curator and label member whose practice foregrounds community and improvisation. Best known for the Ephemeral Project 64 (EP/64) which has gathered more than 40 artists around her, she is also part of post classical feminist group Viridian Ensemble and industrial duo Harrga. Max Kelan is a multidisciplinary artist whose work crosses industrial and electronic music, video making, experimental poetry and provocative performance. A core member of bands Salac and Bad Tracking, the Slack Alice and Avon Terror Corps collectives, and a solo artist, he is responsible for countless performances, events, broadcasts, releases and publications. Al Cameron is a curator, DIY producer, researcher and educator working professionally and creatively at the juncture of sound, music, written and visual cultures.
Weston Artspace is a socially engaged visual arts organisation and hub for the creative community in the heart of Weston. It is a CIC and member-led community art studio that offers artists a place to meet, create and make connections. Weston Artspace supports artists and cultivates an environment where people can develop their networks, take risks and foster ambition. Anyone is welcome whether they identify as an artist or not, and the space is available to all who need it regardless of background or life experiences.
The WEVAA fellowship will support Weston Artspace to broaden the scope of their work by developing management roles, and implementing new systems and development processes that will support the organisation to become sustainable. New programmes and workshops will be introduced for members, as well as materials and resources for production. This project is the first step in a longer-term vision for the visual arts ecology in Weston, that will see skills development and business support the growing creative community.
2022-2023 Bursary recipients
14 artists were awarded bursaries of between £500 and £1000 to further their practice and create a step change in their careers. Their projects include a range of activities, from mentoring and training, to opportunities to travel and develop new work. Click on the artist's names to find out more.
Look out for future news about how this support has impacted the selected artists' practices.
Research & Development Fellowships and Bursaries 2022
Art In Motion
Art in Motion Charitable Trust (AIM) is a not-for-profit participatory arts organisation based in Bristol, UK. AIM provides support and opportunities for a growing community of neurodiverse and learning-disabled artists to develop their artwork. Working in the public realm, they provide opportunities for artists to gain skills, knowledge and nurture their creativity. As a community of artists, they support and inspire each other to develop our work, engaging in a range of artist-led projects that we share with audiences through exhibitions, presentations, and screenings.
They advocate for the rights and inclusion of learning-disabled artists within the arts. They achieve our goals through working in partnerships with key arts organisations. They enjoy the challenges and creativity that comes through working collaboratively. The core activities they provide include a supported studio, artist development programmes, projects, exhibitions opportunities, workshops and events, networking, artist residencies, the publication and promotion of artists’ work.
AIM will be using the fellowship as a valuable opportunity to challenge assumptions about learning-disabled artists engaging in research and inform the inclusive development of the visual arts sector in the UK. Their work will consist of reflection, visual mapping of their research and learning disabled arts organisations, meeting with arts organisations and sharing the results of their research process online.
Lucy Badrocke is working with the community of Easton and Lawrence Hill to develop arts and cultural activity, which builds on a commissioning programme at Bannerman Road Community Academy. Working with partners including the school, Friends of Bannerman and Take A Part, the Fellowship will support the research and development needed to build the programme into a sustainable organisation that works collaboratively with residents to create new work and engagement opportunities.
Lucy Badrocke is a curator and producer with over ten years’ experience in leading and supporting the development of contemporary art projects. She has worked in a range of contexts including a major public arts institution through to a school and community run initiative; leading the planning and delivery of projects from ambitious commissions to embedded engagement programmes. At Arnolfini, she curated projects including a solo exhibition, offsite commission and publication by Richard Long, the first UK solo exhibition by Basim Magdy, an exhibition and publication by Willem de Rooij, a solo exhibition and a new commission by Josephine Pryde. She co-curated The Promise, which included offsite commissions by Assemble, Jenifer Kabat, Kate Newby, Jeremiah Day and Oscar Tuazon. Since 2107, Lucy has worked independently delivering a programme of public art commissions, including a new pedestrian area with artist Bahbak Hashemi Nezhad, designed collaboratively with local children.
Bath Art Depot
Bath Art Depot (BAD) is a collective of artists, architects and artist-educators who live in Bath. Conscious of the vibrant yet dispersed creative individuals/organisations that live and work in Bath, but aware of the city's lack of an arts and cultural hub, the aim of the collective is to develop such a site. Since the collective formed in late 2020 the Weston Island (a unique site on the river) has become available as a potential location for a cultural hub and the group has used this geographical location as a focus for their ambition. Through their work, the group and their plans for the island have gained support from: Wera Hobhouse, MP; Kevin Guy, leader of the council; local councillors; and, Sarah Crown, Arts Council England. Bath Spa University and Bath Bridge have also joined the conversation. Working with MA architectural students from Reading University and business students from the University of Bath, Bath Art Depot have started to re-imagine the site and establish a business plan. This early work with students models our ambitions to position learning at the heart of our plans.
BAD were awarded the fellowship as a collective to develop the plans for the arts and cultural hub for the city of Bath. They will use the fellowship’s time, space and support to grow engagement in the project through a series of open access pop up activities in the city. These activities will have a central focus on community. A series of consultations, workshops and talks will actively promote knowledge sharing and professional development for the creative communities in the city through inviting a series of relevant organisations/individuals to share their experience in events that are free and open to all. In addition, these planned activities will focus on building a broad inclusive community for the hub by working with local residents and groups.
2022 Bursary recipients
In 2022, 13 artists were awarded bursaries of between £500 and £1000 to further their practice and create a step change in their careers. Their projects cover a wide range of activities including working with the Gypsy Roman Traveller community, creating zines with neurodivergent people, travel to further project and practice, acquisition of equipment for new work, and community work in hyperlocal areas.
The selected artists are: