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, challenge and enable the visual arts to thrive in South West England.

Our core aims are to:

  • Raise the visibility of the South West's visual arts sector, both in the region and nationally
  • Advocate for diverse perspectives our area
  • Focus on addressing the significant issues facing the sector in the region
  • Develop a more resilient visual arts sector

We're based at Spike Island as part of their National Portfolio Organisation funded by the Arts Council England. We are an independent organisation part of 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.

Nella Aarne l sq
Network Administrator

Nella Aarne

Alongside managing administrative processes for Visual Arts South West, Nella is a curator co-directing Obsidian Coast in Bradford-on-Avon and convening the Of Animacy Reading Group.

Obsidian Coast
Rosa Martyn sq
Social Media Manager

Rosa Martyn

As well as Visual Arts South West, Rosa works at Spike Island, Bristol in communications. As well as contemporary arts, Rosa is interested in traditional handicraft practices, with a focus on textile work.

Steering Group

Vice Chair

Emily Bull


Creative Youth Network

Lara Goodband

Contemporary Art Curator & Programmer


Robert Leckie


Spike Island

Zoe Li

Independent Curator


Woodrow Kernohan


John Hansard Gallery

Jane Sutherland



Vickie Fear


Aspex Gallery


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.