The Natural Eye Bursary

Applications for 2023 are Now Open

SWLA Bursary Application Guidelines: The Natural Eye Bursary

The Society is pleased to offer awards of up to £750 to exceptional applications which, in the view of the selectors, will help the artist to develop their knowledge and skills. Please read the full Guidelines for Bursary Applicants below before completing the application form. We would recommend you read through some of the past successful bursary projects before committing to an application. Please note: each year the Society offers bursary places on the John Busby Seabird Drawing Course which has its own dedicated application form.


  • Only artist’s aged 18 or over are eligible to apply for a bursary award.
  • Applications are open to artists working in any medium.
  • Only project proposals based on or representing wildlife subjects are admissible.
  • Before continuing your application, please see past bursary winners for examples of projects the scheme has supported in the past. Many past bursary winners have gone on to be elected members of the SWLA.


Selectors are looking for proposals that connect with the Society’s ethos to promote fine art that evokes the spirit of nature. Proposals should demonstrate a genuine sense of enquiry into a wildlife subject which shows a personal, artistic response to the subject matter of the natural world. The proposed project should demonstrate originality in its ideas and approaches. Candidates should strive for a level of ambition and depth to their proposal, it should go further than a request to cover travel expenses to exotic locations.

  • Proposed projects must be based on wildlife as a subject, this excludes domesticated animals and subjects that are exclusively botanical.
  • Please provide information about the intended outcomes of the project in terms of artwork produced and what format this might take.
  • Tell us how your project would benefit you as an artist, such as continuing professional development. If you feel your project would benefit conservation or communities in any way please let us know about that too.
  • Please provide a breakdown of your total expenses, such as travel costs, materials, accommodation, studio fees etc. It is recommended that applicants give as accurate a cost for their project as possible.
  • As part of your application, we ask that you upload up to seven good quality JPEG images which you consider to represent your practice. Please ensure images are of a high resolution, but no more than 1MB file size.
  • Try to include examples of work with wildlife and/​or natural world subjects.
  • Label file names in the following format: Surname_​Title of work_​medium (e.g matisse_l’escargot_collage).
  • We require a referee as part of the application. This can be an educator or a colleague.

Successful applicants will be required to present a selection of work resulting from their bursary project for exhibition as part of The Natural Eye exhibition, held annually at the Mall Galleries, Central London. This will normally be the exhibition held the following year from the applicant being awarded their bursary. Bursary recipients are responsible for delivering and collecting bursary work put forward for this exhibition.