About VASW

Who we are

The programme is developed and delivered by our Network Manager. The Network Manager reports to an elected steering group. The Visual Arts South West steering group is set out to reflect the geographic spread and diversity of practice within the region and is comprised of 3 groups representing the following sectors:

1. National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs)
2. Independent artists and Curators
3. Non-NPOs/independent organisations



Network Manager: We will shortly be recruiting a new Network Manager. Keep an eye on our Twitter, Facebook and Jobs & Opps page for more information.


Network Administrator: Nella Aarne
@VisualArtSW nella@vasw.org.uk

Nella Aarne is a curator based in Bradford-on-Avon. She is the Co-Director of Obsidian Coast, a project space hosting exhibitions, residencies and events, and the convener of the Of Animacy Reading Group hosted at the ICA, London from 2017–18. Her work considers the possibilities of learning through collaborative practice and feminist engagements with human and nonhuman agents in the material world. She completed the MFA Curating programme at Goldsmiths in 2015, and was the recipient of their Curatorial Junior Fellowship in 2015–16. She has worked on projects for Glasgow International, Art Licks Weekend and Science Museum. Her writing has been published by Assembly Point and Watermans Arts Centre.


Web Editor: Ellen Wilkinson
@VisualArtSW info@vasw.org.uk

Ellen Wilkinson is an artist and writer who has been Web Editor for VASW since 2016. She lives and works in Bristol where she has worked for organisations including Spike Island, MAYK, Arnolfini and University of the West of England. As an artist she has exhibited nationally and internationally, and as a writer commissions include Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, FACT Liverpool, Bristol City Council and Printmaking Today.



Steering Group


Co-Chair: Louise Coysh
University of Southampton
, Non-NPO, Hampshire

Louise Coysh joined the University of Southampton as its first Associate Director, Arts and Culture in 2016. Working with the University’s John Hansard Gallery, Turner Sims Southampton and through partnerships, she leads on delivery of the University’s arts and cultural strategy. With a background in visual art and curating, Louise has specialised in working with artists and communities on realising ambitious collaborative projects, interventions and dynamic public programmes located outside the gallery. Past roles include Senior Curator at Art on the Underground, TfL (2008–16), Project Curator (2004–8) at the Serpentine Gallery, London and Magazine Co-ordinator at an: The Artist Information Company (1998–2001). In 2017 she was a selector for Plymouth Contemporary. She is Co-Chair of Visual Arts South West and Chair of Southampton Mayflower 400 Cultural Group.


Co-Chair: Jamie Eastman
Edge Arts Bath
, Non-NPO/Independent Arts Organisation, Somerset

Jamie Eastman (b. 1972) has an accomplished career in arts and culture most especially in contemporary art, performance and music. Before joining Bath as Director of Arts, Jamie held senior roles at Lancaster University, Arnolfini, Bristol and the ICA, London with responsibility for artistic, strategic and operational direction.


Vice Chair: Ben Borthwick
Plymouth Arts Centre, Non-NPO/Independent Arts Organisation, Devon

Ben Borthwick is Artistic Director of Plymouth Arts Centre and an independent curator and writer. He was Director of the international art prize Artes Mundi 5 from 2010-12 and before that Assistant Curator at Tate Modern, where he curated exhibitions and commissions by Bruce Nauman, Latifa Echakhch and Gilbert & George. Recent independent projects include Andrea Buettner’s 2014 exhibition Hidden Marriage at National Museum Cardiff and accompanying artist’s book published by Koenig Books, and Rosa Barba's 2015 film Hidden Conference. He was on the selection committees for the British Pavilion and Wales in Venice at the 2013 Venice Biennale.


Alexander Stevenson
Independent Artist, Bristol

Alexander Stevenson is an independent artist working on commissions in the public realm, within international festivals, self-initiated projects and with contemporary galleries. In his practice, he mines information using processes usually associated with anthropologists, historians and researchers to create artworks, journeys and films. Recent commissions include: Cynosure, an SVHS installation and a 16mm dance film for The Centre for Moving Image Research, Bristol Experimental and Expanded Film and Rogue Studios, Manchester; Quilt Cowboy, an exhibition and film, commissioned by Situations for The American Museum in Britain, Bath; and Odyssean, an artist residency in North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, Orkney Isles. He was recently Visiting Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, Bristol.


Judith Robinson
Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
Non-NPO/Independent Arts Organisation, Plymouth

Judith Robinson is Partnerships Officer (Cultural and Creative Programmes) at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and Project Manager for New Expressions 3. A visual arts specialist she was a Visual Arts Officer for Arts Council South West and South West Arts (2000–2006), leading on capital developments in Newlyn, Penzance and St Ives, and regional curatorial practice; supporting strategic initiatives such as St Ives International; and developing arts and heritage partnerships.


Emily Bull
Creative Youth Network
Non-NPO/Independent Arts Organisation, Bristol

Emily Bull is based in Bristol and currently working as the Creative Producer at Creative Youth Network. Emily has an MA in Arts Management and career background in audience and community engagement in the Arts. She brings together stakeholders, artists, spaces and communities to create, participate and deliver, with a particular focus on young people primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds and emerging young artists. Emily is also a Clore Cultural Leader, Mentor and Coach.


Lara Goodband
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery
NPO, Devon

Lara has over 20 years’ experience as an art curator in galleries, museums and unusual places and spaces. Most recently she initiated, curated and delivered major contemporary art exhibitions and education projects as part of Hull City of Culture. Lara was 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 lives in Exeter.


Zoe Li
Somerset Art Works
NPO, Somerset

Zoe Li has more than 15 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 in 2015 and has served as Trustee at Take A Part CIC since 2017.


Robert Leckie
Spike Island
NPO, Bristol

Robert Leckie is Director of Spike Island in Bristol. He was previously Curator and Head of Programmes at Gasworks in London, where he led the exhibitions, residencies and public programmes from 2011 to 2018. He is also a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art, Goldsmiths and the University of the Arts in London, and has written for Afterall, Rhizome and Benedictions, among other publications.




Find out more about:
our programme
about CVAN
CVAN Organisations

What's On

The Artizan Garden Salon Open Show

7 Lucius Street

Friday 02 February 2018 – Sunday 23 December 2018

Portrait Art Sessions

The Old School, Newent Road, Highnam, Gloucester, GL2 8DG

Wednesday 25 April 2018 – Wednesday 19 December 2018

Workshops at The Guild at 51

The Guild at 51, 51 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3JT

Thursday 03 May 2018 – Monday 31 December 2018

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: