Visual Arts South West hosts ten online meetings for the visual arts community working across the South West region.
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As part of a broader sector support programme, Together We Will, VASW invites visual arts communities living and working within or in the surrounding areas of Bath, Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Exeter, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Plymouth, Somerset and Wiltshire to attend a meeting dedicated to their local context.

Our region is vast and diverse, and the infrastructure and resources for maintaining visual arts practices, public programming activities, and professional networks varies between counties and local areas. These meetings are intended as forums for open discussion and their key objective is to map out our colleagues and peers’ priorities for sector support across urban and rural localities in our region, considering the long-term impact of both COVID-19 and Brexit on the visual arts sector.

Each meeting will be moderated by a local host, who will also minute the conversation for the purposes of informing VASW’s future sector support work.

Join Us

All meetings are hosted on Zoom and free to attend, but booking is required.

Please book a place for the meeting in the area you are most familiar with.

Book your space on Eventbrite, the full details on how to attend will be shared with you on the day of the meeting.

Please note that all meetings will be recorded for archival use only, to help the meetings hosts note the key concerns, ideas and perspectives brought forward by the participants.

VASW Forum Meetings

Tue 13 Apr, 2.30-4pm: Exeter, hosted by Lara Goodband, RAMM

Thu 15 Apr, 2-3.30pm: Wiltshire, hosted by Nella Aarne, Obsidian Coast

Thu 21 Apr, 3-4.30pm: Dorset, hosted by Rocca Holly-Nambi & Amanda Wallwork, b-side

Tue 27 Apr, 1-2.30pm: Bath, hosted by Jamie Eastman, Consultant and Freelance Project Director

Wed 28 Apr, 2-3.30pm: Somerset, hosted by Zoe Li, Curator and Eastville Project Space

Thu 29 Apr, 3-4.30: Hampshire, hosted by Vickie Fear, Aspex

Fri 30 April, 2.00-3.30pm: Bristol, hosted by Paula Orrell, VASW Network Manager

Tue 11 May, 11am-12.30pm: Gloucestershire, hosted by Jo Leahy, SVA

Tue 11 May, 2.30-4pm: Cornwall, hosted by Melanie Stidolph, independent

Wed 12 May, 11am-12.30pm: Plymouth, hosted by Hannah Rose, LOWPROFILE and Plymouth College of Art

Book your space on Eventbrite, the full details on how to attend will be shared with you on the day of the meeting.


All meetings in this series will take place online. They will be hosted on Zoom and live captioned with

The hosts will follow gentle online meeting practice:

  • Participants can choose for themselves whether they feel comfortable turning their camera on.

  • To minimise background noise, microphones will only be kept on at the time of speaking.

  • Participants can join the conversation by speaking and typing.

  • An outline of what will take place during the meeting (including break times) and any presentation materials (if applicable) will be provided in advance.

  • A meeting recording, a computer generated transcript and the contents of the associated text-based chat will be available for all participants after the meeting upon request.

If you have any specific access needs that you would like to discuss with us, please contact the VASW team at and we will do our best to support you with your requirements.

About the hosts

Nella Aarne is a curator based in Bradford-on-Avon. She is the Co-Director of Obsidian Coast with artist Sam Smith, the convener of the Of Animacy Reading Group and Administrator at Visual Arts South West. Nella is also an Associate Lecturer on the MA Curating programme at the University of West England and member of the Hypericum: A Code of Practice working group. Nella is interested in feminist and environmentally sustainable practices, and her work considers the ethics of professional encounters, collaborative learning and redefined notions of productivity.

Jamie Eastman (he/him) is an Independent Consultant and Freelance Project Director based in the West of England; specialising in strategic support for cultural organisations and creative industries, and advising creatives engaged in HE research, collaboration and knowledge exchange. Current roles/projects include Associate Director for Arts & Culture at the University of Bath, CAMERA Creative Network Associate and Bristol & Bath Creative R&D. He also chairs the Programme Committee at Liverpool’s Bluecoat centre for the contemporary arts where he is a Trustee. Previous roles include programme and project delivery for Lancaster University, Arnolfini, Bristol and ICA, London. Between 2016 and 2020 Jamie organised the exhibition programme of the Andrew Brownsword Gallery at the University of Bath and was Co-Chair of Visual Arts South West.

Vickie Fear is Curator/Programme Manager at Aspex in Portsmouth. She also works independently as a curator and producer of exhibitions, commissions and events in South West England. Vickie is currently co-curator of Od Arts Festival: Alone with Everybody with OSR Projects in Somerset and she joined the Visual Arts South West Steering Group in 2020. Before moving to Portsmouth in 2019 Vickie was based in Plymouth where she curated exhibitions at Plymouth Arts Centre and The Arts Institute at the University of Plymouth. She was also co-organiser of Counter, an annual art book fair; co-Director of Contemporary Art Membership Plymouth (CAMP) and one of the driving forces behind the Plymouth Art Weekender. As a producer Vickie has worked on projects including Groundwork with CAST in Cornwall, Jamboree at Dartington with LOW PROFILE and We The People Are The Work across five galleries in Plymouth.

Lara Goodband is Contemporary Art Curator & Programmer at Royal Albert Memorial Museum. Lara has 25 years of experience as an art curator in galleries, museums and unusual places and spaces. She previously initiated, curated and delivered major contemporary art exhibitions and education projects as part of Hull City of Culture, and also worked as part of the Ferens Art Gallery curatorial team that enabled its position on the shortlist for Museum of the Year 2017. From 2011 to 2013 Lara directed international programmes for Cultural Olympiad including the award-winning Sea Swim project. Her experience includes strategic planning and partnerships across cultural institutions as well as co-directing the large-scale, outdoor contemporary art project York Curiouser in 2014/5. As Director of Exeter Culture based at the University of Exeter she recruited a new steering group, developed its vision and brand and commissioned the new arts and culture strategy. Lara was made an Honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter in July 2020. Lara has lived in Exeter since December 2017.

Rocca Holly-Nambi is an internationally award-winning Cultural Producer. She is Director of b-side, a contemporary arts organisation and biennale festival based on the Isle of Portland. Holly-Nambi is undertaking a practice based PhD in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, on Queer Abstraction in Kenya and Uganda.

Founder member, artist and co-director, Jo Leahy has been a key strategic player in the formation and development of Stroud Valleys Artspace (SVA) since 1996. Jo’s desire to be engaged in radical social change through art and culture are rooted in her early years as a practising artist, producing her own work as well as working with communities. With energy and determination Jo Leahy jointly created a vital and innovative organisation from scratch - an organisation that now works with a community of over 3000 artists and 34,000 audiences annually in partnership with 20 local and national arts, industry and community partners. Jo project managed and fundraised for the £2.2 million development of the studios, gallery and events space, enabling a space for artists in perpetuity which placed art in the heart of a small rural market town.

Highlight projects over the years include collaborative research work investigating change makers and activist communities in Berlin and Amsterdam (2018-2019); International projects with organisations in Berlin, Amsterdam, Korea and Morocco(2008- 2019); Site Festival director since 1998; Digital content management - Resound Radio and Deepbed Radio (2017- 2021); Exhibition production in partnership with White Cube, Darbyshires, Carol Fletcher: Andy Holden, John Wood & Paul Harrison, Darren Almond, Siobhan Hapaska and Darbyshire Award (2008-2020). More recently Jo has been leading on the John St Gallery programme which have included a series of young artist lockdown residencies. Jo was a selected participant of Culture Reset (July 2020) and undertook Clore Leadership training (Oct 2018). Jo has been a founder member, steering group member and mentor of ALIAS, Visual Arts South West and Create Gloucestershire (2000- 2016).

Zoe Li has more than 20 years experience in working with artists to develop new commissions at off-site locations. She delivered the annual Somerset Art Weeks between 2007 – 2015 and is currently working as freelance Programme Associate of Somerset Art Works to lead their professional development programme, digital strategy and the development of Art Weeks Festival. She also worked for Arts Council England (South West) as regional coordinator for decibel (2002-2004) and Visual Arts Relationship Manager (2010-15). She works with artists across different disciplines, and has established curatorial interests in participatory practice and collaboration. She co-founded Eastville Project Space in Yeovil and Project Director for Yeovil Art Space. She serves as Broad member at Take A Part CIC and Steering Group Member of Visual Arts South West. Zoe Li was born in Hong Kong and moved to the UK in 2001.

Paula Orrell is an independent curator and consultant, Network Manager at Visual Arts South West and Director at CVAN. She previously worked as Relationship Manager, Visual Arts for Arts Council England in the South West. Paula is passionate about supporting the creation of exceptional visual arts and the development of emerging and established visual artists. She has developed a wealth of national and international experience to support that passion, including in Plymouth as a Curator and Artistic Director, and in New Zealand as Artistic Director and Principal Curator of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Christchurch. Art ecology and community are central to her work, as well as a socially engaged approach.

Hannah Rose is one half of the artist duo LOW PROFILE (est 2003) with Rachel Dobbs and is based in Plymouth. LOW PROFILE make ambitious and engaging artworks in response to specific contexts, carefully shaping audiences’ experiences, putting them at the centre of their work. Hannah is the Curator at Plymouth College of Art, establishing the gallery in 2006 from scratch to become a regionally and nationally recognised programme. In her role, Hannah has chaired and been an active partner in Plymouth Visual Arts Programming Group (2017-19) & PVAC (2009-2013), helping to shape city-wide strategic partnership projects like We The People Are The Work, and bringing the British Art Show to Plymouth. Hannah is also a founding director of CAMP CIC, has been a board member for Take A Part and is a regular supporter of other artists’ professional development.

Melanie Stidolph works with moving image and photography. Her work is influenced by experiences of infertility & childlessness and she is drawn to rock pools & mis-using photographic equipment. Studied at University of Leeds & University of British Columbia, Vancouver, tutor: Jeff Wall. Commissions from The Photographers' Gallery & Tate, Learning. Solo exhibitions include Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art & Kamloops Art Gallery, Canada. Group shows in London, Madrid, Vancouver, New York. Curated exhibitions include Format Festival. Current photo series 'Last Summer' featured in NU review & Photomonitor. Lives in Cornwall, where she is Learning Curator, Public Programmes, Tate St Ives.

Amanda Wallwork is a Dorset based artist and curator, and Co Artistic Director at b-side. Her current creative practice is a continuing enquiry into landscape based around a series of research projects with associated exhibitions and commissions, specifically concerned with the archaeology and geology of place. Informed by a process of immersion, extraction and abstraction the work is a form of mapping or shorthand for a collection of ideas and ideologies, symbolising an activity in time and place. Recent commissions have offered the opportunity to use different approaches and media including maps, graphic posters and products. Her work is held in many private collections and she is represented in Cornwall by Belgrave Gallery St Ives. She was elected member of the RWA in 2014.

These Forum meetings are part of Visual Arts South West's six-month sector support programme Together We Will.