Bristol Photo Festival | RWA Photography Open Exhibition

Bristol Photo Festival | RWA Photography Open Exhibition

27 Mar – 6 Jun 2021


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27 Mar – 6 Jun 2021

As part of Bristol Photo Festival, a major citywide Festival of Photography taking place across Bristol in 2021, the RWA presents an open submission photography exhibition that will fill our main galleries. 

Artists wishing to take part in the RWA Photography Open Exhibition can apply from Monday 4 January 2021 to Monday 22 February 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when submissions open.

This exhibition runs parallel with a second exhibition, Jem Southam: A Bend In The River. Your ticket includes entry to both exhibitions.

The RWA Photography Open Exhibition focuses on artists and photographers who create series of photographs.

From camera obscuras dating back to ancient China, to the breakthrough in capturing images with early pinhole photography, few artistic mediums have undergone such dramatic transformation. Now in the digital age, photography has become one of the most popular and accessible forms of artistic and personal expression.

Submissions for this exhibition are invited from all artists who create photographic series or explore the nature of photography in a series of work. Those who use photography to inform their sculpture, installation, architecture or other artistic practice are also encouraged to enter the exhibition. Artists of all ages and experience are welcome to submit. There is no theme however, submitted works must be part of a series of a minimum of three pieces. Submissions must have been created no more than three years ago and must be for sale. All entries are subject to selection and a fee for entry applies. To be first to know when submissions open please subscribe to our newsletter.

This year’s selection panel includes internationally acclaimed artists Jem Southam, Amak Mahmoodian and Sian Bonnell together with RWA Academicians Katie Davies RWA, Susan Derges RWA and Tracy Marshall, Bristol Photo Festival Director. The invited artists are Robert Darch and Helen Sear. 

The Photo Lab - A Space to Pause, Read, Reflect and be Inspired

Your ticket to the RWA Photography Open Exhibition includes entry to The Photo Lab - a space designed to encourage interaction and participation, welcoming all ages and abilities to come inside: investigate, discuss, test, create and play. In the Lab visitors are invited to explore interpretations of photography for themselves and participate in workshops, discussions and games either online or on-site depending on restrictions in place at the time. 

Tickets to this exhibition are not yet on sale. To be first to know when tickets are released please subscribe to our newsletter.

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About Bristol Photo Festival 

Bristol Photo Festival is a new and innovative city-wide festival that celebrates the power and diversity of photography. It will produce national, international solo and group exhibitions. Talks, events, workshops and training will run through a partnership model of collaboration through all the key photography, visual arts and cultural venues in the city and the region. The first exhibition program will take place in Spring 2021.

The RWA as a Charity

The RWA Photography Open Open reflects the RWA’s ongoing commitment to championing world-class art in the region and creating opportunities for new and emerging talent. Income from submissions is a vital source of support for the RWA, an independent charity (1070163), in order to maintain its historically significant building, present its ambitious programme of exhibitions and deliver creative opportunities for young people and adults across Bristol.


Image credit: Helen Sear, from the series Spirits of a Painted Forest, 2020Courtesy of the artist and James Hyman Gallery, London.


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