The Royal Photographic Society opens new building in Bristol

15 January 2019

Society news

The Royal Photographic Society opens its new centre for photography on 7th February 2019. The new space will showcase photography and provide a new cultural attraction in Bristol, one of the UK’s most active hubs for the creative industries. The building is situated in the Paintworks creative quarter, close to the city centre. 

The newly built building has been refurbished to the RPS’s specification and comprises of a high-quality exhibition space, 101-seat auditorium, education and resource centre and office space for the RPS staff.

Mike Taylor, Chief Operating Officer said: “Our building brings a public exhibition space back to The Royal Photographic Society for the first time since 2001, so that it can show the best of photography to inspire and excite the public. The building restates the RPS’s commitment to photography and reinforces its own place within the medium it has been integral to for the past 165 years.

The building is part of the charity’s wider strategy supporting photography, engaging photographers, and educating the public – looking to the future at a time when photography and the moving image have never been more relevant to the human experience”.

This significant achievement for the RPS will further its mission statement to educate members of the public and inspire a passion for the art and science of photography.

The theme for the 2019 exhibition programme is ‘discovery’ and will showcase visually stunning artworks from international photographers. The opening exhibition, the International Photography Exhibition 161, showcases the best of photography from established and young photographers. These 100 images by 54 international photographers cover a wide range of photographic practices from portraiture and landscape, to the use of photography to comment on contemporary issues and highlight personal stories. Exhibitors include Catherine Hyland (UK), Matthew Genitempo (USA), Alys Tomlinson (UK), Harry Borden HonFRPS (UK) and Heather Agyepong (UK).

Each exhibition will be accompanied by a dynamic learning programme of lectures, talks, film screenings and workshops. The building will also support the RPS’s wider education programme which includes practical workshops, courses and new educational offerings. The RPS programme of distinctions assessments, which recognise individuals’ skills across the medium, will continue in the enhanced space.

Download the press release here.

Learn more about the Royal Photographic Society at

View the 54 photographers exhibiting in the IPE 161 online