The West Downs Gallery

Photo looking into the West Downs Gallery

The West Downs Gallery

Creativity is highly valued at the University. We are immensely proud of the extensive and diverse art collection on display in our buildings and throughout our grounds.

Much of our art collection dates back to the days of King Alfred's College when we delivered teacher training courses with specialisms in art. We continue to commission and collect works of art, and we work to support emerging local and regional artists. A rolling programme of exhibitions by contemporary artists is organised within our gallery.

The West Downs Gallery is sited within our most recent campus development on Romsey Road. The Gallery hosts a programme of exhibitions across the year, and aims to show creative work of the highest quality to inspire debate and participation between creative professionals, academics, students and the public. To be added to our mailing list about upcoming exhibitions please contact

Current exhibition

23 February  - 30 March 2023

Gillian Hawkins
Facing the Day

photo of colourful abstract oil painting titled 'The Hunt'

This thoughtful exhibition examines and unpicks the layers of meaning within the title, examining the emotions and feelings around the domestic space and its further reaches - from the world of mornings and daily anxieties and the mundane, to wider concerns about our post-pandemic future, and the future we all face in a climate emergency.

In facing the day, we also question our decisions. Decision-making can be fairly easy sometimes but living with the consequences can be much more difficult. 'Facing up to' is 'coming to terms with', and the work alludes to consequences as well as choices. Facing the day either with bracing resolution or indecision and an unsettled choice, there is still an element of the unknown which is reflected in the abstract nature of the work shown here. Life is uncertain, although the viewer may be taken, or may take themselves, in a particular direction.

Gillian Hawkins is primarily a painter working on canvas and on paper. Her work is abstract but with a strong narrative element, allowing the viewer to connect for themselves the threads of the story. Having originally studied at Winchester School of Art, she now lives and works in Portsmouth in a studio with Art Space Portsmouth.


Upcoming exhibitions

Jessica Holmes 'Eternal Verdure' | 5 April - 9 May 2023

Alumni Open group show | 22 May - 27 June 2023

Georgie Meadows 'Stitched drawings', Wellcome Collection touring show

John Browning 'Kites'


Visiting the West Downs Gallery

The Gallery is open from 8am until 6pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am until 4pm on Saturdays. The West Downs quarter is a short walk from the city centre. As there is no car parking on campus for visitors, we encourage you to make use of the Winchester Park & Ride, or to use public transport. Buses stop directly outside the West Downs Centre on the Romsey Road. To keep up-to-date with the latest Gallery news please follow us on Instagram.

Exhibiting at the West Downs Gallery

All exhibition proposals are considered by the Vice Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Art, which usually convenes twice a year. There is no charge to exhibit in the Gallery, but the University charges a 30% commission on sales.

If you are interested in submitting an exhibition proposal please contact in the first instance, and details of the selection procedure will be supplied.