MotherBoard, a Bristol-based organisation, has been working towards retaining women in the tech industry since its launch in 2021. The direct link between motherhood and high attrition rates is evident in the fact that 50% of women leave the tech industry before the age of 35. MotherBoard’s mission is to change that. 

In their latest annual impact report, MotherBoard revealed that the 29 signatories of their Charter have made significant progress in supporting women and mothers in their organisations. On average, these signatories have improved the gender balance within their tech teams by 10% from 2022.   

The MotherBoard Movement has been gaining momentum over the last year and has more than doubled its community reach through events, content, and conferences. Sophie Creese, the Founder of MotherBoard, won the Lead 5050 award for ‘Contribution to Gender Diversity’ for the work she does with MotherBoard.  

“This year has been pivotal for MotherBoard. We’ve spoken at some of the UK’s leading tech events, worked on government-led projects to highlight the importance of motherhood and its link to the skill gap in tech, doubled our community, and revolutionized our operations to encourage tech companies of all sizes to join our mission,” said Sophie Creese, Founder of MotherBoard. 

“Although mother inclusion is now firmly on the agenda for most companies, the work is far from done. We must continue to progress and work collectively to create real, tangible change for women and mothers working in tech.  

Real change takes time and none of this would have been possible without the continued support of our signatories, sponsors, partners, community, and the MotherBoard team. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to all of them,” added Sophie Creese. 

MotherBoard is committed to creating a more inclusive tech industry, and their efforts are paying off. With their continued dedication and support, we can hope to see a more diverse and inclusive tech industry in the future. 

About The MotherBoard Impact Report 

The MotherBoard Impact Report is an annual collation of the work completed by the MotherBoard Movement & MotherBoard Charter signatories in driving tangible change for mums and women working in the tech industry.  

You can access the full report via their website: 

About Sophie Creese (she/her) 

Founder of MotherBoard 

Sophie Creese is the Founder of mission-led organisations MotherBoard & HeyFlow, which are driving positive change for gender equity at work. 

MotherBoard is a not-for-profit Business Charter & Community that is tackling the 50% of women who leave the tech industry by age 35, predominantly due to motherhood.  

Beyond MotherBoard, Sophie co-founded HeyFlow earlier this year, a mission-led insights & consultancy start-up that helps employers understand their female workforce better to improve retention. ( 

About MotherBoard 

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community, and Event Series driving tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We are on a mission to transform the industry to be more inclusive of women & mothers by tackling stigmas and supporting employers who want to create real change.

Powered by ADLIB (, sponsored by Not On The High Street ( 

// 50% of women leave the tech industry before age 35. Let’s change that. 

The Founder of Bristol-based MotherBoard, Sophie Creese won the Lead 5050 award for ‘Contribution to Gender Diversity’ on 4th November at the 7th annual Lead5050 Awards held in Berlin, Germany.

The Lead5050 Awards celebrate the people working for an equitable world, they recognise innovative individual and organisational initiatives that address the advancement of women. All professionals who won have changed workplaces and lives.

“MotherBoard has been highlighting the connection between motherhood and lack of gender equity within the tech industry for the past few years. Being recognised for the work we are doing at MotherBoard with a Lead 5050 ‘Contribution to Gender Equality’ Award has been an honour and further validation of the importance of continuing to shift the dial for future gender parity by supporting employers and our community to be more inclusive of mums.”

Sophie Creese, Founder of MotherBoard

About MotherBoard

// 50% of women leave the tech industry before age 35. Let’s change that.

MotherBoard is a Business Charter, Community, and Event Series driving tangible change for mums working in the tech industry. We are on a mission to transform the industry to be more inclusive of women & mothers by tackling stigmas and supporting employers who want to create real change.  Powered by ADLIB, sponsored by Not On The High Street .

// 50% of women leave the tech industry before age 35. Let’s change that.

Until recently, the menopause was something that was not understood and not talked about in equal measure. But after several celebs spoke about their experiences, it became something of a hot topic, with many ‘experts’ appearing to offer help, like tips for a ‘menopause diet’.

We needed to cut through this noise when we created the Hartwell brand. This was different: its founder Natasha Hartwell was a nutritional therapist who based her work on science and evidence-based results, and made real-world, practical suggestions. This was a real expert who could actually help with the symptoms of menopause, and help people feel like themselves.

Hartwell’s approach was a fantastic differentiator and a great place to start, so we began the process of building the brand around this strong core idea.

Hartwell Nutrition vs menopause diet

As with any branding, whether we’re creating a brand or refreshing one, we need to understand what makes it unique, what makes it tick and what makes other people care.

We started a deep dive into Hartwell’s way of working, including how it does it, what it values and its ambitions. The answers to these big questions would help define the new brand’s values and personality, which would lead us towards how the brand should look and feel.

Understanding the menopause landscape

Hand in hand with that, we also carried out an audit of the busy world Hartwell would be entering, specifically focusing on the menopause diet market. What were existing competitors doing? And was any of it working? We discovered an ocean of word salad, bland imagery and ‘mumsiness’, with very few examples of brands who really knew how to communicate what they were doing.

We held a focus group for people going through menopause, to find out about their general experience and if they had tried menopause diets. It was clear that they felt unseen and unsupported, and were suffering emotionally as well as physically.

Bringing the brand together

Our research showed us that to reach as many people as possible, Hartwell had to be very clear with its messaging, putting its unique science-based approach front and centre. But to connect emotionally, this clarity had to feel personal. As a result, we made the decision that the voice of Hartwell would be Natasha, so it would be all written in first person, and talking directly to the target audience – just as it would be in a one-to-one consultation.

Visual identity – logo

This connected perfectly with the decision to use Natasha’s surname as the name of the brand (her name, her voice) and also helped to complete the circle with the logo, which feels like a signature.

This hand-drawn logotype not only gives the brand a personal, human appeal, it also shows that Natasha is not afraid to sign her name to her work. The brand’s confident because its work is based on evidence – Natasha knows that she can genuinely help her clients.

We created a stacked version of the logo too, primarily to work with social media and smaller spaces, but also with one eye on the future, where ‘Eat well’, ‘Live well’ and other variations could be used.

Brand elements

The logo had been developed as part of a stylescape. These are visual explorations of a brand driven by a core thought, and include everything from brand palettes and imagery through to typefaces. They’re a great way to ensure everything is designed as a family, not in isolation, and to see the entire brand working together.

This particular stylescape was based on the idea of empowering clients, factual information, non-judgemental advice and friendly support. Those building blocks led us to a colour palette that was vibrant and earthy, warm and dignified. We purposefully kept away from a palette that was overtly feminine.

Brand imagery centred on collages which connected the way of life our audience wanted to get back to, with nature. The collage construction gave us the scope to tell infinite stories, while the connection to nature was a common theme throughout the work, coming both from Natasha’s understanding of nutrition, and people’s connection to cycles.

Finally, and developed from the hand-drawn logo, we introduced the squiggle. This graphical motif doesn’t have a defined form, and instead is unique each time it’s used, just like Hartwell’s clients and the advice Natasha gives them. The squiggle device can be used  to frame text, create direction or simply bring some visual interest to a design, and helps to bring the whole visual identity together.

Not just another menopause diet website

As part of the brand launch, we designed and wrote the Hartwell website. We initially mapped out a number of user journeys so we could design the perfect UX for the busy audience. Our goal was to show enough to prove Hartwell’s credentials, and then invite the audience to take the next step by getting in touch. Copy was therefore kept to a minimum, with the approach being to balance the warm, personal tone with the science that backed it up. This was helped by the brand fonts, the soft and warm New Spirit, paired with the strong and steady Elza Text.

The look of the site mirrored this balance, with a clean look punctuated with lifestyle/nature combination images that brought energy to every page. With minimal copy, the space in the design really helped to deliver a fresh experience, in contrast with nearly every one of Hartwell’s competitors.

The finished brand feels like a modern lifestyle/health brand (not a faddy menopause diet plan), which has the confidence to show what it can do, without having to tell its audience everything it can do.

Find out more about Hartwell Nutrition here

Claire Ladkin, founder of All About The Cooks – a Bristol-born online marketplace for home-cooks to sell their food – has been nominated as a “Community Food Champion” finalist at the BBC Food & Farming Awards. The category, sponsored by BBC Morning Live, celebrates those working in food who are making a difference to their community. 

 Driven by the belief that food acts as a catalyst to bring people together, Claire wanted to create a platform where talented home-cooks could make money selling their food to local people. And so, late in 2021, All About The Cooks was born. 

Food is usually ordered through the platform about 24 hours in advance and cooks and buyers arrange collection or delivery between them. This ‘doorstep interaction’ is a place where food, cultures and stories are shared, and enriches the whole experience. Through All About The Cooks, buyers can discover home-cooks living near them who they would never have known about. 

Following the nomination for the award, Claire said: “I’m over the moon to have been shortlisted. I have a vision of a future where the sharing of home-cooked food within and between communities is commonplace. Where it is perfectly normal to order from a neighbour, pop around to collect your food and stop for a chat on the doorstep. I think that would be a nice world to live in. It’s great to see that others seem to agree too!”   

The marketplace is proud that diversity and inclusion is at the heart of what they do, with 75% of home-cooks being women and 80% from ethnically diverse backgrounds. As of August 2023, operating in Bristol and Bath with over 70 cooks, All About The Cooks has supported local home-cooks by putting £80k into their pockets. 

Only three finalists have been shortlisted as “Community Food Champions” for the BBC Food & Farming Awards and the winner will be announced on 25 October, in a ceremony broadcast on TV and radio. Keep your fingers crossed that Claire Ladkin brings the trophy home and makes Bristol proud. In the meantime, you can find out who cooks near you or apply to sell your home-cooked food at  

As a BCI member, enjoy 25% your first online order on All About The Cooks with the code BCI25. 

We are today announcing that after 13 years at Bristol Creative Industries, Chris Thurling is handing over the reins as chair. 

Since joining the organisation in 2010, when we were called Bristol Media, Chris has been hugely instrumental in our growth and success. That includes our rebrand, building the membership, growing our visibility and launching the groundbreaking Bristol Creative Industries Internships Programme.

Taking over from Chris as co-chairs are AMBITIOUS co-founder Lis Anderson and former Aardman executive producer Heather Wright.

As Chris hands over the role, he speaks to Dan Martin about his time at the organisation, its greatest successes and the future of the creative industries in Bristol and beyond.

How did you end up joining Bristol Media?

“In 2010 I was the founder and managing director of a digital web design agency called 3Sixty. I was approached by Paul Appleby who was running Bristol Media with Mike Bennett. Mike was stepping down to do other things and they were looking for someone to join the board who could represent the growing digital sector in Bristol. I thought it was interesting and I signed up.”

How has the organisation changed during the 13 years?

“Bristol Media was still new when I joined. It got going with some public funding, but that stopped in 2009 and the organisation moved to a membership model to fund it. 

“One of the main things I’ve seen during my time is the membership model embedding itself and the organisation becoming fully self funded and not reliant on any public money or major sponsorship. 

“It has survived through the membership fees which is a pretty good achievement for an organisation like BCI. That has given it credibility and autonomy. BCI exists because of its members and the only agenda is the members who support it, and not that of another organisation that is funding it. 

“It has matured as an organisation to figure out what it does and what it doesn’t do. Back in the day it was pulled in lots of different directions. There were lots of people wanting Bristol Media to fit their agenda, but over time it has grown in confidence to focus on the things that it does well, not be unrealistic about what it can achieve and not be too thinly spread.”

Why did Bristol Media rebrand as Bristol Creative Industries?

“We had feedback that the term ‘media’ wasn’t really the collective noun that properly described the sector that we represent. Back in the early noughties, ‘media’ might have been the right word, but over time the term ‘creative industries’ gained traction and became the common parlance.

“It seemed sensible to align ourselves with the terminology that everyone was using, so it’s clear who we are and what we represent. That was one of the first things I decided we needed to do when I took over as chair. Looking back, it has been successful.”

What are some of the biggest achievements by BCI during your time at the organisation?

“It is an achievement that the organisation has been financially stable and self-sustaining, even during the pandemic. That has enabled us to continue to serve members and grow the BCI team.

“Another big achievement is the new BCI board, which we appointed following the rebrand in 2021. Our focus was to have a new team of directors to help us Bristol’s creative industry in nurturing and attracting talent, connecting and growing their businesses.

“We recognised the need for our board to better reflect the diversity of talent in the city. We need individuals who can bring different perspectives and experiences and help us widen our reach across the region. An example of that is Bristol designer Marissa Lewis-Peart who we appointed to the board. In 2019, Marissa won the Ben Martin Apprentice Award in collaboration with Bristol Creative Industries

“We introduced a new always on event schedule led by Sian Pitman, the new full time events manager we employed last year. Rather than the main focus being on the two day Vision conference that we used to run, the events are now spread out across every month in the year. This means there is something for everyone in terms of topics and price range, with some free options for people to access, particularly if they’re members. 

“That has been a big success and it has made BCI a lot more visible, because there’s always something happening.

“We also introduced new formats which are tied into our mission of connecting people. These include the member lunches and Walk and Talk events. They are good ways for members to connect with each other, easy to access and something no-one else is really doing for our community. 

“The social media activity, newsletter and content has been transformed in the last few years. We produce a lot of really helpful and useful content for our members. 

“Finally, the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme is the activity I’m most proud of. 

“It started with the SXSW Apprentice and Ben Martin Apprentice Award, before evolving into the scheme that is running today. 

“It will continue to grow and if BCI has been in any way instrumental in transforming the lives of young people who wouldn’t have had the opportunity without us, then that has got to be the biggest success.

“On diversity, so many organisations talk a good game, send all the right tweets and have all the right badges on their website, but to actually shift the dial, you need to invest proper resources and get expertise behind it. 

“We’ve had rhetorical commitment for years, but BCI is now putting its money where its mouth by setting up the programme led by the full-time programme manager, Clare Leczycki.

“BCI is showing leadership in the community, which only an organisation like BCI can do because we are not commercial or competing with anyone else. We’re there to serve the interests of the membership.”

What do you think BCI should focus on moving forward?

“Lis and Heather’s new roles as co-chairs marks an exciting new chapter for BCI. Having both served on the board and run successful creative businesses, they are experienced hands and well equipped to build on the successes that BCI has achieved to date. They have been key to the internships programme, getting insights on members’ key challenges and connecting them to available funding. 

“BCI can continue to take a leadership role in the development and attracting of young talent into the industry in the longer term, making sure there’s a pipeline of fantastic people wanting to come into the industry in Bristol and opening it up to people from all backgrounds and the places that historically haven’t had a look in.

“BCI can also help our industry build firmer commercial organisations. A lot of creative companies are quite hand to mouth and not necessarily great at realising the value of the amazing work that they do because often they are businesses set up by creative rather than commercial people. As times get tougher, creative businesses need more sustainable business models, and not just charging by the hour but finding a way to charge more by the value that they deliver. 

“Connected to that is access to finance and financial advice which small businesses often don’t have internally. A collective organisation like BCI can pool organisations together to help.  

“The UK does still have a reputation internationally for the creative industries, and as the UK market gets more challenging and competitive, our industry needs to look beyond these shores for opportunities for growth. 

“Finally, we need to guard against complacency and any inertia that we have in thinking that Bristol’s an incredibly successful city and we can roll along and it’s all going to take care of itself. 

“We need to understand that there are a lot of other cities hungry to eat your lunch. We’re in a good place, but we can’t assume we will be in 20 or 30 years time. We need to make sure that what happened to the first generation of industries in the UK doesn’t happen to the current generation through complacency and taking things for granted. That’s where an organisation like BCI can take a leadership role in pushing innovation.” 

How do you think the government should support the creative industries?

“Consistency of messages is important. The government blows hot and cold on the creative industries. Sometimes they get mixed up in the ‘culture wars’ and think that’s it not a real and important sector.

“In schools, it’s all about science, technology, education, engineering and maths, but the arts subjects are struggling and not getting the support that they need both financially and  rhetorically from the government. There’s a sense that they’re not seen as real and proper subjects. 

“The government needs to buy into the fact that the creative industries is one of the UK’s strongest advantages in the world and we need to be championing and banging the drum from the top down. 

“I think that the government needs to find a way to undo the damaging effects of Brexit on our sector. It has had a huge supply of talent cut off by the ending of freedom of movement, which many BCI members used to find incredibly valuable. 

“Schools need to be better connected with the creative industries and it needs to happen at an earlier stage with younger children. As a school governor myself, I think that the employability side of schools is still out of date. The kind of jobs that they know about and the kind of connections that schools have with industry is pretty old fashioned. There’s an ignorance of the myriad of jobs in the creative industries that people can do.”

What is your message to creative businesses that haven’t yet joined BCI?

“If you’re a supporter of the Bristol region and the creative ecosystem, joining Bristol Creative Industries is doing your bit.

“Check out what is available from BCI. The membership offers huge value for money. There’s lots you can get out of it including jobs advertising, coming to events, publishing your content on the website, and participating in the social media activity and using it to raise your profile. 

“You will definitely meet great people. There are lots of fantastic people who are part of the network. You never know how they might be able to help you and your business.

“If people stop supporting BCI, it will go. If it didn’t exist, people would want to invent it. It’s a valuable thing that has taken the best part of two decades to build. It’s a fantastic asset for the city and the region. BCI is part of the jigsaw puzzle that makes up what’s good about the region.

Alli Nicholas, who has been at BCI for 10 years, is the go-to person for all things membership so do speak to her if you have any questions.” 

Big thanks Chris for everything you have done for Bristol Creative Industries.

Clare Leczycki shares an update on the Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme.

We are just over halfway through the pilot year of the Bristol Create Industries Internship Programme, a scheme set up and funded by Bristol Creative Industries and and a group of members. It gives young people from under-represented backgrounds a chance to explore the different roles in the creative industries.

The programme, delivered in partnership with Babbasa as part of the #OurCity2030 initiative, provides interns with placements at two different agencies over a six-month period.  

It aims to:

Our interns switched placements this month and are now working in their second agency.  

During this process, several opportunities came up and we off-boarded three of the interns early. 

Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme

Seren Spooner was offered a job at Armadillo as a junior designer and decided to take the opportunity to move into full- time work.  

“As a graphic designer, I was initially unsure about going into client service, but quickly found that I really enjoyed it. Agency structure has been a highlight for me and being openminded about all the different roles and opportunities available within an agency has been really interesting. It has allowed me to see where my experience and skills can fit with an organisation like Armadillo.

“I really wouldn’t be anywhere without this programme; it has made the transition out of university so incredibly easy. To have a variety of roles put in front of you is amazing, and even though I won’t be changing my agency and role in the second part of the programme, as I was offered a full-time position, to have the opportunity to switch and learn new skills at a new company makes such an impact.

“The support that you get from your peers throughout the programme is also so impactful, we have all been there for each other throughout this process which has been amazing.”

Mohd Wani decided to go back into education to do a masters in UX at one of the most prestigious universities in the UK: 

“This programme has given me a new career path in an industry I never thought would be for me. By moving into UX design from graphic design, I can now see myself excelling more in this role than I ever could’ve imagined in graphic design.

“In four months on this programme working in UX, I can see more improvement in myself than in three years of training in graphic design.

“The work I have completed at Atomic Smash has helped me to secure a place at the Royal College of Art, which I will be starting later this year. But I have also been offered a full time by Atomic Smash when I finish my course, so I know my future is secure.

“The programme has taught me great networking skills, and different ways of talking to people. The skills sessions we do each week has also given me so many additional skills outside of my day-to-day job which are so valuable, and that is all thanks to this programme.

“The work I have done because of the programme and the skills that I now have, has helped me get rid of my past feelings of ‘I don’t belong here’, and now I know that I do.

“I would tell anyone thinking of joining the programme to just do it. It will give you so many different opportunities to find out what you are good at, what you are in to, and what your career path can be.”

Laurel Beckford is now working with Babbasa’s communications team:

 ”The BCI internship programme is one of the best out there for any individual looking to get their foot into the creative sector. The amount of support I have received is incredible and gives you so many opportunities to build up your skills.

“I was made aware of the programme through Babbasa and worked with them to help me with the process of getting in touch with BCI.

“Before I came on this programme, I didn’t know one thing about building a website, and now I can and have learnt so many skills.

“I have travelled to London with my agency, met clients face to face, and been involved in a photoshoot, which has been a real highlight.

“The BCI Internship programme can help anyone make their way into the creative sector and will give you the chance to do that.”

Whilst we are sad to be saying goodbye to some of the interns, we are incredibly excited to see opportunities created by the network and it’s brilliant to see the young people thrive and move onto the next stage of their career. We look forward to hearing more about how they are getting on in the coming months.

Other interns have also been offered jobs but have chosen to complete the internship programme, while some are exploring further training to hone their skills.

You can see the agencies currently involved in the progamme here.  

Interested in getting involved?

The pilot programme will finish at the end of November. We will then review and reflect on the learnings from the interns and participating agencies to see how the scheme can be further developed and expanded. We are particularly excited to be working more closely with the team at Babbasa to develop our onboarding and training processes for the next round.

Conversations for the 2024 Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme has begun. If you run a creative business in Bristol and are interested in hearing more about how to get involved, contact BCI membership manager Alli Nicholas on [email protected]


130.3 is an outstanding achievement and something we should all be very proud of.

In 2019, ADLIB was one of a small handful of recruitment businesses globally that certified as a B Corp, our starting point was a score of 82.8. Our belief is that the B Corp assessment provides a structure, with clear measurement, to set clear improvement targets. Our initial certification was simply the start of the journey.

We set out our intentions through the publication of our annual impact reports and set the bar high. This approach and transparency ensured we achieved the focus and accountability needed to make improvements and reach our goals.

This impact report reflects on our recertification, what we have achieved, and provides a glimpse into where we head next.


GOVERNANCE – In 2020 ADLIB converted to a 100% employee ownership model. True stakeholder capitalism.  Our recertification score acknowledges this transparency, from an internal perspective with regards to the day-to-day financial management, quarterly updates and access to the entire P&L. External publication of impact reports on social and environmental performance and commitment to our code of conducts.

WORKERS – We’re a people business in every sense of the phrase. Since our initial certification we have invested heavily into our team through numerous initiatives to build a stakeholder model that is fit for the long term.

COMMUNITY –  At the centre of any community is a shared belief in attitudes and interests in common. For ADLIB, community covers a lot of ground. We support regional ecosystems, provide insight and advocate for international communities that are fighting for equality. The team have built their own communities from the ground up, we’ve supported community based projects that improve people’s lives, and play an active role within the B Corp community.

ENVIRONMENT – As a B2B service provider we store an increasing amount of customer and candidate data. Given our learnings from within the Green Tech South West community, we are increasingly aware that the life cycle of storing, processing, and transmitting digital information is an area that we need to pay significant attention to.

CUSTOMERS – In 2021-22 we aimed to improve our customer score by 10 points via the MotherBoard Charter. After long discussion with B Lab it was concluded that Mums in Tech are not recognised as underserved. Furthermore, the initiative is a not for profit, charging charter signatories an administration fee only and therefore no points were awarded. Our response was threefold.


The Bristol Creative Industries Internship Programme, in partnership with Babbasa as part of the OurCity2030 initiative, is a stellar example of how BCI members can come together to fund and deliver a complex programme of internships and training to support some of the region’s most underrepresented young people. 

After a successful pilot over the past few months with 14 brilliant agencies, we are now looking for more creative businesses to join our mission.

They will support the second cohort of interns during the next phase of this innovative project in 2024.

How it works

Agencies pay a one-off fee which covers:

✅ Onboarding to the programme including guidance and templates around internship structure/workplan.

✅ ED&I, mental health and neurodiversity training with a focus on working with young people from underrepresented groups.

✅ HR support and mentoring from Bristol Creative Industries’ dedicated internship programme manager Clare Leczycki.

✅ Recruitment and employment of two interns over six months.

If you are interested in taking part, email Bristol Creative Industries membership manager Alli Nicholas on [email protected] 


Three of the agencies supporting the first cohort of interns discuss why they are involved in the programme:

Paula Newport, director of people and culture, Aardman Animations:

Nina Edmonds, finance director, Halo:

Shani Hawthorne Williams, senior digital marketing strategist, Newicon:

If you are interested in taking part, email Bristol Creative Industries membership manager Alli Nicholas on [email protected]

Savvy art buyers get the chance to snap up bargain artworks and join in the fun as the RWA’s Secret Postcard Auction returns. 

Following the huge success of the 2022 Secret Postcard Auction, the event will run online from 28 October to 9 November, with a physical display of the artworks on show at the RWA from 4-9 November.  

An unmissable event in the RWA annual calendar, and a major fundraiser for us as an independent charity, the Secret Postcard Auction offers you the opportunity to make the winning bid on original artworks by famous, or soon-to-be-famous, artists! 

As the name suggests, all the artworks are postcard size – albeit a large postcard, at approximately 14 x 19cm cm (5½” x 7½”). The postcards can be viewed, and bids can be placed on our 32 Auction site. It’s great fun and bidding can get fierce but there’s plenty of opportunity to grab a wonderful original work of art for as little as £40!  

This year, as well as being online, you’ll have the opportunity to get a closer look at the postcards while they’re on display in the Youngwood Room at the RWA from 4 – 9 November.  

Last year’s postcards included works by Sir Frank Bowling RA, Eileen Cooper RA, Maggie Hambling, David Remfry RA to name just a few. This year’s entries have started to roll in and we can already confirm contributions from Jeremy Deller, Anne Desmet RA, Simon Drew, Gilbert and George RA, Kurt Jackson RWA, Andrew Lanyon, Sir Richard Long RA RWA, Mali Morris RA, Cathie Pilkington RA and Bob & Roberta Smith RA, with many more to be revealed. 

All of the contributing artists are named, but the identity of who did which artwork is anonymous until the auction has closed. 

Bidding opens for the public on 28 October and will close at 10pm on 9 November 2023.  

Since its re-opening last year, the RWA has welcomed more visitors to its building than at any time in its history and brought life-enhancing creativity to people who’ve never had that opportunity before, but we can only continue to do this with your help.  

As an independent charity with less than 1% of costs covered from the public purse each year, we rely on our fundraising efforts to keep the doors open and run our outreach programme, engaging people in some of Bristol’s most under-represented communities. The money raised by the Secret Postcard Auction is a vital contributor to our finances. Last year we were blown away by the support, as donations reached over £70,000, while bidders still walked away with incredible bargains. 

Keep an eye on the RWA website for details, and GOOD LUCK with your bidding! 

The Southwest’s biggest Annual Open Exhibition returns for 170th year 

The RWA (Royal West of England Academy) is delighted to announce the return of its renowned Annual Open Exhibition for the 170th year, running for an extended period, from 9 September 2023 to 14 January 2024.  

This dynamic and varied exhibition features painting, drawing, printmaking, photography, sculpture, and mixed media submissions and is a showcase of some of the most exciting artists from across the country and beyond.  

Amongst this year’s selection panel were invited artist Charmaine Watkins; President of the RWA Fiona Robinson; artist and Rabley Gallery director Meryl Ainslie, and Academicians Dallas Collins VPRWA, Lucy Austin RWA, Angel Lizon RWA and Karl Singporewala RWA. They assessed every artwork on its own merits, anonymously, before being able to bring down the 4000+ entries to just over 400. No mean task when the standard of work submitted was so high! 

Alison Bevan, RWA Director, says: “This year above all others, we have been quite overwhelmed by the variety and standard of artworks submitted by every kind of artist, from long-established veterans to fresh new talent just finding its artistic voice.  No matter what kind of art you enjoy, we can promise every visitor will find lots to love!”  

The Annual Open reflects the RWA’s ongoing commitment to championing world-class art in the region and creating opportunities for new and emerging talent. It includes in excess of £10,000 in prize money, including the £5000 Academy Prize and a £4000 Other Art Prize. 

All the original artwork on display is for sale not only in the galleries, but also online, with prices starting at less than you’d pay for a furniture-shop print.  Buying art helps support both the artists and the RWA, which is a completely independent charity (1070163) delivering life-enhancing creative opportunities for young people and adults across Bristol.  

Tickets to the Annual Open Exhibtion are £8.90 (concessions available), or for just £15 you can buy an RWA Art Pass, which allows unlimited access to all our ticketed exhibitions as many times as you like for a whole year.