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

News story graphic.

The Art of Libraries

Libraries in Gloucestershire will be developing the creative skills of children and young people through an ambitious new programme called the Art of Libraries.

Image shows man dressed in orange, beige and brown track suit with sharp pointed ears .  He is kneeling on the stage, wearing a backpack.

Fantastic Mr Fox in Southampton

A new stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox will premiere at the Nuffield Southampton this Christmas before setting off on a major UK Tour.

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. No Credit Displaying 5. The images above are not representative of the story below. Images included: 1. National Centre for Circus Arts, Photo © Bertill Nilsson. 2. Create Graphic, Photo © Arts Council England. 3. Birmingham Weekender, Photo © Andrew Fox. 4. RAMM, Photo © Matt A 6. Greg Barnett as Mr Fox in Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox at Nuffield Theatre, Southampton. A Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Curve co-production in association with Lyric Hammersmith 7. Forced Entertainment, The Last Adventures. Photo © Hugo Glendinning 8. No Credit Displaying 9. The Full Bronte by Scary Little Girls. Image © Dickon Knowles. 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.