South West

Hand drawn iIllustration by Supermundane with lots of intricate lines and patterns

Welcome to the South West, a region of contrasts.

The South west has a long history of producing world-class artists and cultural organisations, known for the strength of its theatre-making, for its artists and craftmakers, for leading digital and creative media practice and for the dazzling explosion of carnival and outdoor art each year.  

There is a vibrant year-long programme of art and culture that ranges from large-scale outdoor festivals to small neighbourhood projects, from theatres, producers and galleries with international reputations to those working with their local communities or behind the scenes to develop the talent of the future.

International youth–led project

Arts and culture developing global citizenship

Find out more
Black and white image of lots of hands waving together close up
The Complete Freedom of Truth, 2016 programme. Image © Robert Golden.

Our investment

The South West is home to 80 National Portfolio Organisations, including one Bridge organisation, with an investment of £59.6 million. The South West has three Major Partner Museums with an investment of £9.3 million. Total 2015–18 investment in these programmes in the South West is £69.1 million. We also invest in artists and art organisations in the South West through Grants for the Arts, our open access funding programme for arts activities.

Meet our South West Area Council

Find out more on future plans for development in the South West in our corporate plan

Get in touch


Our investment at work: South West case studies

Latest news from the South West

A man draws on a wall.

Museum Accreditation review

During 2017, the Arts Council and our UK Accreditation Partners will be undertaking a light-touch review of certain aspects of the Museum Accreditation scheme.

People dressed in Victorian clothes stroll along a cobbled street.

Resilient leaders

Described by participants as “life changing” this year-long leadership programme is helping develop future leaders for the cultural sector. Interested? Apply now.

Image of two gentlemen wearing hats out of focus in the background and a wooden sculpture in the foreground

Virtual museum

Virtual museum brings local heritage and history of Hampshire to life

Image of lady dressed as elf playing piano with lots of little children around

Theatre for children

Young children and those with additional needs get their first taste of theatre this December

Image captions
Top left to bottom right: 1. Tea Dances with a Twist! by Plymouth Dance. Image © Kevin Clifford 2. Viking Schools Workshops at National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Photo © Toby Weller / National Maritime Museum Cornwall 3. Inside Prema Arts Centre Photo © Rupert Russell of RSDR Photography 4. Live Late at Millennium Gallery. Photo © Museums Sheffield. 5. Hanging Zebra, sculpted clay by Marieke Ringel. Image © Marieke Ringel 6. Image © Black Country Living Museum 7. Photo from Road to Agincourt Medieval Weekend and Manor Farm and Country Park. Image © Harry Usborne. 8. Santa Town by Proteus Theatre, 2015. Image © Chuck Douglas. 9. Lindsey Hall, CEO of RiO and Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP- Minister of State responsible for digital and culture policy at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport - meeting schoolchildren at the Market Hall, Devonport. Photo: Tom Brewer 10. Carl Au in Bright Phoenix by Jeff Young at Liverpool Everyman. Photo © Jonathan Keenan for Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse. 11. Sampad South Asian Arts perform at the Birmingham Weekender 2015. Photo © Andrew Fox / Birmingham Weekender. 12. The Sultan's Elephant, Royal de Luxe, 2006. Produced by Artichoke in London. Photo © Sophie Laslett 13. Hofesh Schecter rehearsal at UDance. Photo © Brian Slater. 14. Dot, Squiggle and Rest at Polka Theatre with Royal Opera House. Photo © Robert Workman / Polka Theatre.