Alternative Visions was a project to tour a visual art exhibition, made by artists facing barriers to the art world, to 4 venues in the South West of England – Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, The Wilson in Cheltenham and Poole Museum.  Arts and Health South West and Outside In were also project partners.  Alternative Visions aimed to:

  • challenge and question perceptions of art in relation to people who are excluded from the mainstream art world, for reasons including health, disability, social circumstance or isolation.
  • highlight issues of diversity, interpretation and relationships between artists and curators.
  • initiate discussion around what people think should be considered as art.
  • influence the attitudes of audiences and get more work exhibited in mainstream spaces by those facing barriers.
  • create a fairer art world which rejects traditional values and institutional judgements about whose work can and should be displayed in galleries.

The project was primarily funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme.  20 artworks, from over 300 submitted, were selected for the exhibition.

I led the evaluation process including creating an evaluation plan, data gathering methods and writing a full internal evaluation report.  The evaluation assessed the impact on artists, audiences and partner organisations through artist and partner phone interviews and informal written audience feedback.

“This is a really important exhibition. It’s equally disturbing, revealing and celebratory. The commentary by Artists First is incredibly thought provoking and adds an insightful context, changes your perception.  All of the artists should be congratulated. I went to art college but was kicked out, in part due to struggling with mental health problems. This exhibition, the art and the commentary has made me feel better.  We all have a place we can be an artist.”

Comment from audience feedback postcard

It was so enabling to know that someone picked my work as worth being in the exhibition.  I also want to contribute [something] back. You get told a lot as a person on benefits that you are a non-contributing person, you are a drain on society. So, an opportunity to make a concrete contribution to anything – it makes you feel less worthless. I feel that now I can legitimately say that I’m an artist rather than ‘I’m signed off sick’ – as an identity.  That’s a huge contribution to my quality of life.”

One of the selected artists in an evaluation interview

Extracts of the evaluation report were used in a project report by Arts and Health South West.

Photo of exhibition by Eve Andreski. Artwork by Widow Twanky.

Examples of Projects

What Are We Learning graphic

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Photo of artwork in gallery

Alternative Visions

Alternative Visions was a project to tour a visual art exhibition, made by artists facing barriers to the art world, to 4 venues in the South West of England – Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Falmouth Art Gallery, The Wilson in Cheltenham and Poole Museum.  Arts and Health South West and Outside In were also […]


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