Our aim is to collaborate with artists, artist collectives, galleries, museums, non-arts organisations and educational institutions to work together towards a resilient sector. As a sector support organisation, we seek to connect different agents working in the visual arts within our dispersed region and to reduce barriers between individual practitioners, organisations and funding. We see it as our role to analyse what our sector needs and evidence to our stakeholders that the already established and continuously developing field is worthy of sustained investment.
In 2019, we commissioned stakeholder research into the region from UK Arts & Heritage consultancy Palmer Squared, identified our members’ key challenges and needs at dedicated meetings across all of the region’s counties, opened up debate about future-proofing our sector at a large-scale conference at Arnolfini in Bristol, and began an extensive web development project with Bristol based design studio Intercity to create this online platform dedicated to visual arts in the South West. We also commissioned research from Dr. Ronda Gowland-Pryde to map out what the sector currently offers to young people, with the aspiration to build upon the existing programmes whilst catalysing new initiatives for young people across the region.
With our upcoming sector support programme, we are pursuing new models for resilience and changing attitudes of collaboration to benefit entire regional areas over select individuals. Our role is to also support the cultural sector to come together to deal with the continuing financial risks that affect artists, other independent practitioners, and small and medium-sized arts organisations.
Further information will be published soon about our plans and priorities in developing a regional programme.
The Future Proof Series
On 20th September 2019, we invited artists, curators, arts organisations and audiences to gather for a day of discussions and learning. This event (titled 'Future Proof') had the goal of identifying and addressing key challenges of our region while establishing collective survival strategies for the future in perpetually changing conditions.