Our Trustees

RWA Board of Trustees

The RWA is a Registered Charity (1070163) and Company Limited by Guarantee (03567088) and its Governing Body is its Board of Trustees.  The remit of the Charity is "to advance the education of the public in the fine arts and in particular to promote the appreciation and practice of the fine arts and to encourage and develop talent in fine art."

Our current Trustees are:

Yvonne Ashton (Honorary Treasurer)

Yvonne is a Chartered Accountant who has lived and worked in Bristol since university, initially spending 8 years with a “Big 4” accountancy firm, specialising in financial accounting and audit. She has subsequently held senior financial and managerial positions in industry, including 7 years as a pension fund trustee for a large retailer, in addition to having been a school governor.

Jerry Cowhig MBE (Chair)

Jerry is a retired publisher with substantial business and board experience and a wide involvement in Bristol’s cultural sector. He was chair of trustees at Spike Island from 2010 to 2015 and is currently a trustee of the Bristol Ensemble and of BCFM community radio. He has chaired the boards of non-profit bodies in journalism, education, publishing and medical charity as well as in the arts. His board experience includes many years working with learned society trustees, and chairing a board of CEOs of international corporations. 

Maria Crayton 

Maria has been Head of Marketing at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway since 2007 where she is a Director of the CCMA responsible the all marketing and CSR activity. She has worked in advertising and marketing for over 20 years, since graduating with a degree in History of Art. She is keen to support the RWA by combining her commercial experience and her interest in art.

Yvonne Crossley RWA

Yvonne left her post as Vice Principal at Wimbledon School of Art in 2004 to set up The Drawing Gallery in Duke Street St. James – the first gallery in the UK to focus entirely upon exhibiting and selling contemporary drawing. The Gallery is now based in Shropshire, from which she continues both to exhibit the work of others and to further her own practice.

Stewart Geddes PRWA (Academicians' President)

Stewart is a long-standing Academician. In addition to his work as a practising artist, he is currently a regular Visiting Lecturer Bournemouth Arts University and Plymouth University and is External Examiner to MFA Fine Art, Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts, London, and was Head of Painting and Senior Lecturer at Cardiff School of Art and Design from 2007 - 2010.

Stephen Jacobson VPRWA

Stephen was elected as an Academician in 2008 and has been Vice President since 2013. Living and painting in Portishead, his work is inspired by the vastness of the skies he sees from his windows. He initially trained in Manchester and Liverpool, studying graphic design and illustration, before undertaking a Post Graduate course in painting at the Royal Academy Schools. 

Elena Marco 

Elena is currently Head of the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. Before joining UWE, Elena built a strong profile in sustainable design at Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, working on many pioneering and award winning projects, some as part of Europe-wide research initiatives. Elena was selected by the Architects Journal as one of the 20 most influential Women in Sustainable Architecture in the UK, and has been part of the Judging Panel for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in the Silver Medal (Part 2 design projects) category as well as the RIBA South West Awards 2017.

Vanessa Moon

Vanessa has over 25 years senior management and board level recruitment experience and co-founded Moon Consulting in 2000. She works with a broad portfolio of clients both in the UK and internationally and has significant experience in the not for profit and charity sectors. In 2018, Vanessa was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration from UWE Bristol in recognition of her contribution and commitment to enterprise development, the third sector and the local community. She is currently Senior Warden of the Guild of Guardians and President of The Dolphin Society 2017/2018; a member of the CBI's South West Regional Council, Advisory Board of UWE's faculty of Business and Law and the Lord Mayor's Children Appeal committee, and is a former Trustee of Spike Island. 

Suzanne Rolt

A highly experienced arts professional with a deep love and knowledge of music and the arts sector and strong management skills gained at a senior level within the voluntary sector. Currently Director of St George's Bristol, one of the country's leading concert halls. In addition to the RWA, she is a Board member of Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and Advisory Group member of Bristol Festival of Ideas and Bristol 2014.

'Junior' (Abdulhamid) Sheikh

Junior is CEO of the prestigious MTM Awards, which celebrates the excellence and achievements of small, medium businesses and grass root communities, and has become the South West's premier Asian, Black & Ethnic Minorities event welcoming over 4000 people each year, with over 4500 nominees and having had over 135,000 people voting online since inception in 2012. Junior joined the Board in 2019. 


Board Vacancies

The RWA is currently recruiting for additional Trustees to join the Board - a chance to be a part of the future of this much-loved historic institution.

The Board consists of representatives of our Academicians (our artists' body) together with individuals bringing a range of skills and knowledge from different spheres.  We are particularly keen to widen the diversity of our Board to ensure that it represents the varied communities and individuals it serves, as well as harnessing the expertise and networks that will help us to survive and thrive as an independent Charity which receives less than 1.5% of its funding from the public purse.   

The Board meets six times a year, normally early evening (5.00-7.00pm) on Thursdays in alternate months.  Each Trustee is encouraged to attend all meetings if possible and to engage with the RWA on an ad hoc basis in between meetings by serving on additional sub-committees, attending occasional public or consultative events/meetings or giving one-to-one advice.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact the RWA Director, Alison Bevan to arrange for an informal conversation or to request further information.  To apply, please write to Jerry Cowhig, Chair of Trustees including your CV and a brief covering email or letter outlining your reasons for wanting to join the Board and what you feel you can contribute.  Thank you for your interest.


The RWA is a Registered Charity 1070163.