Press release: New Director for RWA


For immediate release

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol is pleased to announce that Alison Bevan has been appointed as Director.

Alison brings significant experience with over 15 years’ managing art establishments, latterly as Director of Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance.

During her time in Cornwall, Alison has significantly raised the profile of Penlee House both regionally and nationally, creating many significant and memorable exhibitions, including national and international touring shows of Cornish art by the Newlyn School artists and their contemporaries.  She is now completing a major exhibition of Graham Sutherland’s work as a war artist in West Cornwall.  Alison is well known in the region as the immediate past Chair of the South Western Federation of Museums and as a regular lecturer at the Du Maurier Festival, among other places.  She was awarded the British Empire Medal in in the 2013 Queen’s New Year Honours List for services to cultural heritage in Cornwall.

She takes up position on 1 August and will oversee the remainder of the Academy’s exciting 2013 programme as she works with the team to develop the 2014/15 programme.

At the same time as welcoming Alison, the RWA bids farewell to Chair Kit Thompson who is returning to the Far East with his wife, Patricia, to oversee the founding of a residential college system within the University of Macau.  He will be succeeded by Trustee  Professor Paul Gough,  Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England.

Gough, an Academician of the RWA,  said: ” We were delighted with the calibre of applicants for the role of Director which demonstrates the high regard in which the Academy is held.  We are very pleased to be welcoming Alison to the role and know she will be building on some of the tremendous steps the Academy has taken over the past three  years.

He added:  “Kit is very disappointed to be moving on but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that presented itself unexpectedly and we wish him all the best, as well as thank him for the significant impression he has made on the organisation during his time as Chair.”

Dr Janette Kerr, President of the RWA said: “I am very excited that Alison Bevan is to be our new Director at the Royal West of England Academy.

Knowing the fantastic work she has carried out at the Penlee House Gallery over the last few years, we are extremely lucky to have her joining us. The RWA will benefit tremendously from Alison’s direction, and I am looking forward to working closely with her”.


Notes to editors:

For more information contact Lottie Storey on 0117 906 7604 or

About the RWA
The RWA has eight galleries within the 19th century building. The five upstairs galleries – Sharples, Winterstoke, Stancomb-Wills, Methuen, and Milner – host the main exhibition/s, alongside the Bristol Drawing School studio. Downstairs is the Fedden Gallery and a newly completed gallery space. All gallery spaces are available for private hire for special events, such as weddings and parties, conferences and meetings. If members of the media would like a tour, please contact Lottie as above.
The downstairs area has a shop and a cafe by Papadeli:

The Royal West of England Academy (RWA) is one of only five Royal academies of art in the UK. It is a registered charity which has been self-supporting for over 150 years and possesses an outstanding Grade II* listed building, galleries and permanent fine art collection. The RWA has HM Queen Elizabeth II as its patron and HRH The Prince of Wales is an honorary academician.
The RWA is an established venue for the fine arts and embraces an artistic awareness of the widest nature. The exhibition programme provides a showcase for one-person and mixed exhibitions in a variety of media, which attract large numbers of visitors nationwide.

The Academy is situated in the academic heart of Bristol at the Clifton Triangle, where Queens Road meets Whiteladies Road, opposite the Victoria Rooms.


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