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South West Showcase Open Call

Simon Bayliss exhibiting in the Gallery at Plymouth College of Art as part of the South West Showcase in 2018.

Plymouth College of Art is seeking applications for exhibition proposals from contemporary visual artists based in the South West Region.

Two artists will be selected for short solo exhibitions in The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art between February-May 2020. Artists will be awarded £2000 to produce their exhibition, with additional support from the college – including funding for production, marketing/press, equipment, an exhibition launch and key interpretation materials.

The South West Showcase is a recurring open call platform, showcasing artists from across the South West region. The showcase aims to celebrate and support contemporary artists working and living in the South West and to present a long-term commitment from Plymouth College of Art to profiling and supporting the practices of artists in this region.

The South West, as defined by Arts Council England, includes: Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire and Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire.

This has been an amazing opportunity that has allowed me to bring together my most ambitious body of work to date and my first opportunity to see my work in a white cube gallery context. This platform has provided funds, access to specialist workshops as well as mentoring, technical support and professional guidance. This fund has allowed me to make more complex three screened work, as well as channelling skills I've learnt in the dark room into large textile works. I've have relished working with the amazingly creative, enthusiastic and helpful technicians at Plymouth College of Art. It's been all the best parts of being a student again, to focus on making work and access to the facilities to do so. Being part of this programme has also given my work exposure to the wider Plymouth College of Art audience network; new curators, writers and press contacts, which hopefully will fruition into new opportunities and insights into the work. The Gallery team have helped pushed and shaped this project with professional diligence and care. With their support I was successful in securing my first GFA grant, for a series of projects that develop from this project. 
Laura Philips (SWSC 2018)

My exhibition for SWSC is the most ambitious I've made so far, bringing together all aspects of my practice in one room for the first time. Through working with a brilliant, supportive gallery team and making use of the amazing resources on offer, including college facilities (where much of the work has been made), I feel my work has reached a level I've always aspired towards. 
Simon Bayliss (SWSC 2018) 

South West Showcase was a wonderful opportunity, supporting the creation of a new body of work, allowing space for experimenting and then bringing it all together in a show. The experience changed my practice as I was able to present a more complex interrelation of painting, sound, writing and installation, which has developed further since. Throughout I was supported, encouraged, but also allowed space to do my own thing. All in all an excellent thing which I am very grateful to have been involved with.
Kit Poulson (SWSC 2015)

Selection panel for the 2020 SWSC:

Hannah Rose - Curator, Plymouth College of Art
Christy Johnson - Vice Principal, Plymouth College of Art
Robert Leckie - Director, Spike Island, Bristol
Lauren Houlton - Gallery Manager, Jerwood Visual Arts

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art:

The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art (established in 2006) features a high quality contemporary programme of exhibitions and events which seeks to enrich teaching and learning at the college, whilst also welcoming a wider public audience to enjoy and debate contemporary arts. The Gallery often works in partnership, contributing actively to strengthening and enhancing the offer of arts and culture in Plymouth.

To stay up to date with with what's happening in The Gallery follow us on Facebook or Instagram.
Open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, Saturday 10am - 1pm (subject to staffing).

The SWSC was a huge step forward in my practice. It gave me the time, space, budget and support to realise a solo project on an ambitious scale and four years on, I still feel it is a key moment in my career so far. SWSC creates a highly visible platform for artists living in a regional context to present their work and provides vital mentoring and advice throughout the process. As the only award of this kind in the South West, it is extremely important and crucial to supporting artists in this region.
Bryony Gillard (SWSC 2013)

SWSC was a great experience. It gave me the chance to develop a new body of work with critical and financial support and helped me push my practice into new areas. It was so rewarding to showcase my work at The Gallery to new and broader audiences.
Stuart Robinson (SWSC 2017)

Deadline for application:

3 February 2019 at midnight.
Applications made after this deadline will not be accepted.

Important note: We are only able to accept proposals submitted via our form below. Please note we will be unable to offer individual feedback if you are unsuccessful, so please bear this in mind when deciding to submit your application.

Other key dates:

4 - 14 February 2019: shortlisting
15 February 2019: panel meets
18 - 20 February 2019: artists notified

Previous South West Showcase exhibitions have been awarded to:

Simon Bayliss
Laura Phillips
Stuart Robinson
Oliver Sutherland
Marie Toseland
Kit Poulson
Abigail Reynolds
Bryony Gillard
Hannah James

The SWSC was a very rewarding experience. The institutional support and expertise on offer allowed me to create a really ambitious show and build important contacts that have been of enduring importance to my work. Through the associated events programme, I also had the opportunity to discuss my work at a high level (including an in-conversation with Martin Clark). The exhibitions team were very open to ideas and worked extremely hard to help me to realise what I wanted to show. It’s wonderful to work with people who have a passion to make things happen and really care about the result. I was able to take risks and am still working with ideas that I first tried out during SWSC.
Abigail Reynolds (SWSC 2013)

South West Showcase was a valuable opportunity for me to produce a new body of work and present it to a public audience. The funding, time, support and space attached to the exhibition is a special resource, one which enabled me to develop my practice into a new, challenging direction.
Hannah James (SWSC 2013)


Applicant eligibility & expectations

Artists must be operating professionally (artists studying MA or PhD are eligible). Artists must be able to demonstrate their ability to deliver a high quality solo show at The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art. Artists are expected to give a public talk about their work, attend their private view and take an active role in the production of the exhibition. Additionally artists are expected to work with the Gallery team to support student engagement (including a a careers focussed talk) and with the marketing/gallery teams to support promotion and the production of a Gallery Short video.

Other guidance:

  • We are interested in working with artists who want to engage a range of internal and external audiences in different ways. This could be through the production of work, through events or other means.
  • Where appropriate, we are keen to support artists to develop work using the college facilities (workshops/equipment).
  • Although not part of an official programme this iteration of the SWSC will sit within the timeframe of city wide commemorations of the Mayflower voyage, the wider context of this historical event should be understood and considered.

Key Gallery info:

  • The Gallery is not invigilated so artwork must be suitable for this context.
  • You can not drill into the gallery floor. 
  • The Gallery has a large window which tilts outwards.
  • The space is adaptable and the Gallery team have experience of delivering bespoke builds/physical changes to the gallery space, however, this must be factored into the production costs for the exhibition.
  • Artwork must be suitable for our mixed audiences, including young people.
  • See document links at the bottom of this page for a Gallery floor plan and example images.

Form submission - troubleshooting:

If you have issues with submitting your application online, we advise the following steps:

  • It is best to prepare your proposal in a document, check character counts and then copy & paste the text into the form, as it’s possible for the form to time out and for you to otherwise lose your work.
  • Make sure that you have a good/fast internet connection and try different internet browsers if you have issues submitting.

Click here for the South West Showcase Open Call Submission form.