Election process


The RBSA (the Society) is an artist-led charity of some 200 artists, sculptors, textile artists, ceramicists and jewellers. It is also a charity with the aim of furthering artistic practice and the public understanding of art.

To become a member of the Society it is necessary to be elected by the existing Members and Associates at an Annual election in April. Briefly, the RBSA is one of the few Societies which owns its own Gallery. We programme the RBSA Gallery in Brook Street to show a variety of exhibitions giving its membership excellent opportunities to show their work. All members pay an annual subscription currently around £200 but there is a 50% deduction for those aged 35 years or under.  The following sets out the details of the Election process. If you are interested in being elected please read this carefully.

All candidates to join the Society must first be elected an Associate and there are two ways of being nominated to become an Associate.

Associate Membership

Firstly a candidate can be nominated by two full Members (known as Associate Nomination) and secondly, there is Self-Nomination. Self-Nomination is for an artist who does not know any Members but has shown at the gallery in the past and wishes to become an Associate. There are two separate procedures for the different nomination paths. However, all potential candidates should read and download the Associates Application pack to understand the nature of the RBSA as an artists cooperative and the benefits and responsibilities of Associateship.You should note that the Society expects those contemplating nomination to have a substantial body of work already in their portfolio. It is from this portfolio that your proposer and seconder will select the work to be shown in the Candidates Exhibition (see below).


Associate Nomination

For those Candidates who have two full Members (not Associates) to propose and second their Nomination download the form and complete it with your details and obtain the original signatures of your proposer and seconder. Complete also the section showing evidence of your previous connection with the Gallery indicating the exhibitions and events in which you have participated. This is important as the RBSA Council have indicated they are unlikely to approve a Nomination for Associateship unless they have some previous relationship with the Gallery. They may decide to hold the Nomination over for a year to enable the Candidate to establish a record of exhibiting. Return the form to the Hon Secretary by the date shown at the end of November with the Nomination fee.

Associate Self-Nomination

Associates are elected in categories of painter, sculptor, potter, printmaker, textile artist, and jeweller. To qualify for Self-Nomination you must have had one work accepted in a minimum of three RBSA Open and/or Prize exhibitions over the last five years. Exhibition acceptances for the Friends exhibition or by organisations other than the RBSA do not count for this purpose. This is to demonstrate that candidates are familiar with, and have shown some commitment to the RBSA by submitting consistently high quality work.

If you are able to meet this requirement download the Self-Nomination Form, complete the details including the dates of the exhibition acceptances and send it by the date shown in mid-October with your CV on one page of A4 only. Do not send any digital images until you are invited to do so.

The President and a small group of experienced members will evaluate your application with the images in November and a decision on whether to accept your nomination will be made in December by the RBSA Council who will at the same time review the Associate nominations. There is no limit of the number of nominations approved by the Council. To accord with the rules of the RBSA a proposer and seconder will be found for successful self-nominators. For those who are unsuccessful at self-nomination the Council has decided that candidates should not expect to receive any feedback. A further application for self-nomination cannot be submitted within three years.

Member Nomination

Members are elected in categories of painter, sculptor, potter, printmaker, textile artist, and jeweller. An artist must first be elected as an Associate before being considered for election as a full Member and a nomination form may be downloaded and returned by the date at the end of November signed by two Members.

Candidates Exhibition

Once nominations have been approved by Council, an annual Candidates’ exhibition is then organised, normally in late March or April, where all candidates show 6 pieces of work on which the membership votes. To be elected a candidate must attract 50% plus 1 of the votes cast. The result of the vote is formally ratified by the Annual General Meeting of the Society which is held towards the end of April.


Election to the Society allows artists to show their work as of right in the StArt, Open and Members and Associates exhibitions. There are also several other exhibition and curatorial opportunities throughout the year, such as Prize exhibitions, themed shows, offsite projects, and ground floor shows.

How to apply

Applications for 2020 are open. If you'd like to apply for 2020, please download the information using the links in the upper-right of this page.