for Arts
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Visual Arts/Museums | Across the south west and Oxford

Arts & Health South WestAlternative Visions

Arts & Health South West (AHSW) is a learning, advocacy, networking and development organisation working to enable more people to experience the arts and culture for the benefit of their health and wellbeing.

Alternative Visions was their major touring exhibition developed with Outside In and Bristol Culture, which took place between 2016 and 2018.

Arts & Health South West

Arts & Health South West

Arts & Health South West

Arts & Health South West © Arthur MacTaggart

Target Beneficiaries

The exhibition was formed of work by artists facing barriers to the art world. They were targeted through a series of induction days for artists, health and social care organisations, and through artist support days.

The tour 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 exhibition was developed by Arts & Health South West, Outside In (providing a platform for artists who see themselves as facing barriers to the art world) and Bristol Culture, in partnership with Falmouth Art Gallery, The Wilson in Cheltenham, Poole Museum and Bristol-based Artists First.

The artists were selected through an open call (submitting their work and an artist statement) by a panel made up of individuals from the various partner organisations.

The touring exhibition ran from 2017 to 2018 and was accompanied by interpretation and education activities including short films about the artists and audio interpretation.


747 people responded to a Visitor Survey, which asked three closed questions:









The following legacy work was approved by Arts Council England to support:

  • Share Art: a project for Outside In artists to share and present their work, increasing their confidence in their art and their public speaking skills.
  • Outside in Ambassadors: to spread the word about the work of Outside In.
  • Step Up: Outside In’s training and professional development programme.
  • AHSW Artists Advisory Group: to influence decision making at board level and to bring a more diverse range of perspectives, experiences and needs to the organisation.

Alternative Visions evaluation report


A huge contribution to my quality of life.


It was so enabling to know that someone picked my work as worth being in the exhibition... 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.



Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring programme with additional support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Roddick Foundation and George Dannatt Trust.