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Professional Membership by application only.

We invite artists, makers, and creatives who are committed to pushing the boundaries of contemporary visual art to apply. 

Our selection process ensures that our community is composed of individuals who not only meet but also exceed the standards of contemporary art practice outlined in our criteria. 

By maintaining this application-only approach, we aim to curate a vibrant, dynamic, and diverse community of UK's leading contemporary visual artists.

What We Mean by Contemporary Art

We recognise that contemporary art doesn’t have a fixed definition:

It is the creative expression of living artists who engage with and respond to our culturally diverse, technologically advancing, and multifaceted world.

Contemporary art transcends traditional boundaries, embracing a wide range of mediums and practices, not only fine art but across new media, participatory, live art, craft and design. It often aims to provoke thought, may inspire change, and can encourage dialogue among audiences.

At its core, contemporary art seeks to challenge and redefine our understanding of life and society. It is not confined to a single style, medium, or approach. It is open to various themes and narratives, allowing for a diversity of voices and perspectives.

Contemporary art can engage with broader cultural, social, and political dialogues, as well as focus on materiality and technique. 

What We're Looking For in Your Practice

In assessing your practice, we look for several key elements. While not every aspect needs to be present in every work, these criteria represent the qualities we typically seek:

  • Conceptual Depth: Your work should explore meaningful ideas or questions and aim to engage the viewer intellectually and emotionally.
  • Contextual Awareness: Your art should reflect an understanding of its broader cultural, social, and political context.
  • Technical Skill and Innovation: We expect a high standard in your chosen medium, along with evidence of experimentation.
  • Material Understanding and Histories: Your practice may demonstrate a deep familiarity with your materials, appreciating their historical and cultural contexts, especially in craft-based works.
  • Critical and Peer Engagement: We'll be looking for evidence of your professional development, including mentoring activities and any form of recognition you've received, such as awards, commissions, residencies, exhibitions or press. Engagement with your peers and the art community is also important.
  • Consistent Practice: Your portfolio should show a consistent yet evolving line of enquiry.
  • Strong Visual Documentation: High-quality images or videos that effectively convey the essence of your work.
  • Clear Written Narrative: A concise artist statement or biography is important to provide context to your visual narrative and to articulate the concepts and ideas behind your work.

Our Criteria for Judging Good Contemporary Art Practice

We'll be looking at your portfolio through the lens of the above criteria. We consider applications from artists, makers, and creatives who align with these principles.

Our aim is to be as inclusive as possible, reflecting the diverse and interconnected world we live in.

Ongoing Commitment and Periodic Review

We expect all Professional Members to continually adhere to the criteria outlined above. 

To ensure our community reflects the highest standards of contemporary art practice, we will periodically review the portfolios of all Professional Members on Axis.

Members are encouraged to ensure their portfolio reflects their ongoing practice in light of the criteria.

By upholding these standards, we aim to be the leading platform for UK contemporary visual artists.

Become a Professional Member

Showcase your work alognside your peers