The RWA is a Registered Charity (1070163) and Company Limited by Guarantee (03567088) and its Governing Body is its Board of Trustees. The remit of the Charity is "to advance the education of the public in the fine arts and in particular to promote the appreciation and practice of the fine arts and to encourage and develop talent in fine art."
Our current Trustees are:
Yvonne Ashton (Honorary Treasurer)
Yvonne is a Chartered Accountant who has lived and worked in Bristol since university, initially spending 8 years with a “Big 4” accountancy firm, specialising in financial accounting and audit. She has subsequently held senior financial and managerial positions in industry, including 7 years as a pension fund trustee for a large retailer, in addition to having been a school governor.
Dallas Collins (Academician)
Sculptor, Dallas Collins, joined the Board in 2020. In addition to his role as an Academician, Dallas represents the Board on the Friends of the RWA Committee.
Kathy Curling (Chair)
Kathy is a Town Planner by profession, having both lectured in the subject and run a highly successful consultancy for many years. She has extensive third sector governance experience, ranging from being Chair of the Governors of Pensford Primary School to a current member of the Finance and Infrastructure Commitee of the University of Bristol, and is also Chair of Avon Lawn Tennis Association. She has been a Patron of the RWA since 2015.
Real estate and facilities management surveyor, senior management of large organisations, previously Bursar and Estates Director to the University of Bristol and to the University of Bath. Patrick joined the Board in 2020 and also sits on the RWA's Capital Project Board.
Stephen Jacobson VPRWA
Stephen was elected as an Academician in 2008 and has been Vice President since 2013. Living and painting in Portishead, his work is inspired by the vastness of the skies he sees from his windows. He initially trained in Manchester and Liverpool, studying graphic design and illustration, before undertaking a Post Graduate course in painting at the Royal Academy Schools.
Elena is currently Head of the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. Before joining UWE, Elena built a strong profile in sustainable design at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, working on many pioneering and award winning projects, some as part of Europe-wide research initiatives. Elena was selected by the Architects Journal as one of the 20 most influential Women in Sustainable Architecture in the UK, and has been part of the Judging Panel for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the Silver Medal (Part 2 design projects) category as well as the RIBA South West Awards 2017.
Vanessa has over 25 years senior management and board level recruitment experience and co-founded Moon Consulting in 2000. She works with a broad portfolio of clients both in the UK and internationally and has significant experience in the not for profit and charity sectors. In 2018, Vanessa was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration from UWE Bristol in recognition of her contribution and commitment to enterprise development, the third sector and the local community. She is currently Senior Warden of the Guild of Guardians and President of The Dolphin Society 2017/2018; a member of the CBI's South West Regional Council, Advisory Board of UWE's faculty of Business and Law and the Lord Mayor's Children Appeal committee, and is a former Trustee of Spike Island. Vanessa chairs the RWA's Nominations Committee.
Fiona Robinson PRWA (Academicians' President)
Based in Dorset, Fiona has been an Academician since 2012 and was elected President in 2019. She is a Fellow of the Ballinglen Arts Foundation Co. Mayo, Ireland and awards include first prize in the University of Bath Painting Prize (2007), and third prize at the 4th International Biennale of Drawing in Sydney, Australia (2007). She co-curated a major exhibition, ‘Strange Worlds: The Vision of Angela Carter’, at the RWA in 2017, and curated 'Sawdust and Sequins', celebrating the 250th anniversary of Circus, in 2018.
Best-known as curator of the blockbuster 2015 exhibition ‘Ravilious’ at Dulwich Picture Gallery, James has worked with museums and galleries around Britain and in 2018 curated ‘In Relation: Nine Couples who Transformed Modern British Art’ at the RWA. Having studied History at Cambridge he spent a number of years selling paintings and sculpture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and retains a keen interest in the commercial art world. He lives in Bristol.
'Junior' (Abdulhamid) Sheikh
Junior is CEO and co-founder of the prestigious MTM Awards, which celebrates the excellence and achievements of small, medium businesses and grass root communities, and has become the South West's premier Asian, Black & Ethnic Communities event engaging over 4000, with over 4500 nominees and having had over 135,000 people voting online since inception in 2012. The MT Junior joined the Board in 2019.
Commercial litigation and construction lawyer. An existing member of the RWA’s Capital Project Board, on which he will continue to serve, as well as becoming a Trustee.
Nerys is Director of External Affairs at ss Great Britain. Prior to taking up this role in 2019, she worked for National Lottery Heritage Fund (Heritage Lottery Fund) in a variety of different roles across the UK for over 23 years, most recently as Head of Engagement for London & the South, and previously as Head of the South West for 17 years. She is also a Trustee of Cornwall Culture Board, Swindon Heritage Board and the Historic Environment Forum, and is Vice Chair of Countess Wear Community School.
Joanna is a management consultant, occupational psychologist and counsellor, and brings many other skills acquired during her varied career. Joanna joined the Board in 2020 and now chairs the Outreach Committee.
The RWA Board of Trustees consists of individuals with a range of skills and knowledge from different spheres, alongside representatives of our Academicians (our artists' body), and together they have legal responsibility for the governance of our Charity.
Following a recent Governance Review, the RWA is in the process of reviewing potential Trustees who have been kind enough to express interest in joining our Board against identified gaps and needs.
Our priority is to gather a cohort of people with varied thought, skills and backgrounds, who each share our values* while bringing fresh perspectives to help us to be environmentally, socially and financially sustainable at a pivotal moment in our history.
We remain committed to widening the diversity of our Board to ensure that our organisation truly represents the varied communities and individuals it serves, as well as harnessing the expertise and networks that will help us to survive and thrive as an independent Charity which receives less than 1.5% of its funding from the public purse.
Whilst spaces on the Board are limited, we are keen to widen representation through sub committees and advisory roles. We particularly welcome those who can help us to gain fresh insight into how we can make our outstanding building, and the creative activities we offer across Bristol, more accessible for people of all ages and backgrounds, including those with physical and mental wellbeing challenges.
If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the RWA Director, Alison Bevan to arrange for an informal conversation or to request further information, or write to Kathy Curling, Chair of Trustees, ideally including your CV and a brief covering email or letter outlining what you feel you can contribute. Thank you for your interest.
*Our values are:
Stimulating, not alienating
Reflecting Bristol's independent spirit
The RWA is a Registered Charity 1070163.