Exhibition Proposals

Exhibition proposals

The RWA welcomes exhibition proposals from artists, independent curators and practitioners for thematic, collaborative or group exhibitions, especially where these put contemporary work in a historic context.

Proposals should explicitly provide a clear rationale for approaching the RWA as a venue and take into account the organisation's exhibitions policy, which is available to download as a PDF below. Successful proposals will closely match the RWA's core values and exhibition aims, and (where appropriate) consider the Academy’s position as an independent charity, reliant on commercial income from exhibition ticket sales.

Please note that we very rarely stage solo artist exhibitions, and proposals for such shows are unlikely to be approved.

All proposals must be submitted using the RWA’s exhibition proposal form which can be downloaded as a PDF below. These should be returned to info@rwa.org.uk. Proposals are discussed at our quarterly Exhibition Advisory Group meetings and should be submitted 1 week in advance.

Exhibition Aims

As England’s only regional Royal Academy of Art and Bristol's first art gallery, the RWA places artists and arts education at its core. The RWA's varied programme of exhibitions reflects the art and cultural heritage of the West of England, placing the region’s art within a national and international context. Contemporary art is regularly exhibited alongside historical work, often inspiring new conversations and ways of looking. The RWA strives to present exhibitions that both challenge and enlighten, and to give opportunities to emerging artists as well as showcasing renowned names. In bringing world-class exhibitions to the region, the RWA aims to broaden the public’s knowledge of fine art, introducing diverse audiences to artists and artwork old and new.

The primary focus of the RWA's exhibition programme is on the plastic arts (e.g. painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture and photography). The RWA also offers particular expertise and experience in exhibiting post 1880 British art, which reflects the strengths of the extensive Permanent Collection. In doing so, the RWA aims to complement the curatorial policies of other visual arts venues in the area.

As a self-supporting charity, the success of the exhibitions programme is vital to the future of the RWA - both financially and in terms of broadening and sustaining an audience.

Useful tips

When submitting a proposal, it is worth considering the following points;

  • Exhibitions at the RWA predominantly focus on the plastic arts, including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, works on paper and sculpture.
  • The exhibition programme must generate dialogue between historic and contemporary artwork (with a particular focus on 1880 to the present, reflecting the Permanent Collection).
  • Exhibitions should aim to broaden the public’s understanding of art.
  • Exhibitions are curated by a combination of internal curation, co-curation and external curation or hired exhibitions.
  • The RWA welcomes exhibition proposals which can be developed for touring purposes.
  • The RWA welcomes exhibition proposals that explore and celebrate cultural diversity.
  • The RWA exhibition programme encourages the inclusion and representation by Academicians, past and/or present.

For further information, please see our Exhibitions Policy below.


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