Supporting emerging and mid-career artists

The annual Whitworth Wallis Fellowship is organised and funded by the Sir Whitworth Wallis Trust, in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust and Birmingham City University’s College of Art and Design.

The six month Fellowship provides a unique opportunity for an early to mid-career artist to develop their practice under self-directed research, using the city’s collections held at the world-renowned Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, and also at Birmingham’s Museum Collections Centre, to inform their work.

Special access to an internationally significant collection

Birmingham Museums cares for one of the most important civic museum collections in the UK. With over one million artworks, objects and specimens, it spans art, history, science & industry, and natural science from pre-history to the present day, and from all corners of the globe.

You can get an insight into the collections on our collection pages and our images website.

During the Fellowship the artist can access the collections of Birmingham Museum Trust. The objective of the Fellowship is for an artist to undertake research and development to further advance their artistic skills and knowledge and to make a presentation to Trustees.

An artist is sitting at a table with a folder of William Blake artworks in front of him.

Artist Bursary and Wider Opportunities

The successful artist Fellow is paid a £1,500 bursary as well as given special access to both Birmingham Museum’s collections on display and in storage. They also get to meet the museum’s curatorial staff, have the opportunity to take part in wider public events (such as giving public talks) and get to promote their work through blogging on Birmingham Museums’ website with links to their own website, where relevant. The artist also has access to Birmingham City University’s School of Art technical workshops and facilities.

Who can apply for the Whitworth Wallis Fellowship?

The Fellowship is aimed at graduating, early and mid-career artists (up to 10 years since graduating) who have studied at Birmingham City University’s School of Art and Design.

How do I apply?

Download a copy of this year’s Whitworth Wallis Fellowship application form. It contains details of the application deadline and the Fellowship dates for this year.

DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Sunday 23 June midnight.

If you have any enquiries about the Whitworth Wallis Fellowship then please email us at WhitworthFellowship@birminghammuseums.org.uk

Download the application form

What previous Whitworth Wallis Fellows said about their experience:

I think this fellowship has been really successful in the creation of new work, research and supporting the future of my practice and career (PhD). I am eternally grateful."

Mads Washbrook, Fellow 2023

“This project has taught me a lot, not only the value in curiosity and which new paths open within that but allowed me to improve on my own working methods. It has allowed me to reflect on timing more closely,”

Ryan Asbury, Fellow 2022

“Being awarded the Whitworth Wallis Fellowship was an unprecedented opportunity for an emerging artist such as myself…"

Adam Neal, Fellow 2019

Former Artists of the Whitworth Wallis Fellowship and Whitworth Wallis Residencies

Who was Sir Whitworth Wallis?

Sir Whitworth Wallis (23 June 1855 – 16 January 1927) was the first Curator and Director Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery when it opened in 1885. Born in Birmingham, Whitworth’s father George Wallis was the Curator of the South Kensington Museum (later known as the Victoria and Albert Museum). Whitworth was trained by his father and at the age of 25 he became a technical assistant. He also had an artistic training, and painting became a lifelong hobby, particularly marine subjects.

In 1881 Wallis was appointed to manage the Indian collections of HM Queen Victoria and then in 1885 he was appointed Director of Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery at its inception. He energetically developed the collection as well as loans of artworks to other provincial museums, thus increasing public awareness of the cultural importance of Birmingham’s collection.

Wallis was widely known as a lecturer on art and antiquities. He lived in Stratford–upon-Avon where he was a Trustee of the Shakespeare Trust and Birthplace. He played an active part in honorary work in Birmingham and was a Member of the Council of The Birmingham & Midland Institute (1891–1927) and Honorary Secretary of the Institute (1902–1926). He was also a member of the National Art Collections Fund, which helps fund new acquisitions in civic museum collections. Wallis was knighted in 1912.

A profile portrait of a man in a suit, he holds a pen and paper. A sculpture of a lady and two children is in a display case behind him.
Portrait of Sir Whitworth Wallis (1855-1927). By Joseph Edward Southall.