The path to membership
The Society has evolved over the last few years and its membership structure has been modernised to fit with the wishes and aspirations of practising artists, existing members, alumni and others interested in this art form. The Society is the foremost organisation supporting and promoting botanical art within the UK and further afield. As such it is also the professional body for those practising the artform.
The Society welcomes artists using all media except digitally created art and photography. For examples of the range of media and genres please see our members’ work on our website.
We now have three categories of membership
• Fellow Member (formerly called Full membership)
• Foundation Member
• Student Member (students currently studying the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course)
Fellows are those artists whose work is consistently of a high standard of artistry and observation and who can rejoice in becoming part of a Society that has a broad and yet vibrant selection of artistic styles, while still supporting and highlighting the excellence of exquisite botanical illustration.
This type of membership is restricted to professional, practising artists who require the qualification ‘SBA Fellow’ to demonstrate excellence in this field. Our aim is to encourage and support those at the pinnacle of their artistic prowess. Our Fellows will be representative of the very best botanical artists from around the UK and the world. There will be a rolling programme of applications going forward. Your application can be submitted at any time and will be considered for Fellowship at one of two dates per year (usually after 31 January and 31 July each year). This qualification is widely recognised and a requirement for applicants for certain roles in the profession and is only awarded if rigorous criteria are met (set out below under the heading ‘Rules’).
An election committee made up of experienced Fellow Members of the Society and guest judges from the botanical and or art world (when available) will judge your application.
Our Fellow membership application process is separate from our exhibitions. We hope that each applicant’s work will be of such a high standard that we can offer membership on one application but if your work is considered not quite ready, you can apply again for the next application date with new or improved pieces.
What happens next?
After being elected to Fellow membership you will be entitled to use the letters ‘SBA Fellow’ after your name, signifying a guarantee of excellence in the world of botanical art. The Society will then expect only your finest work to be submitted for our shows, the selection is achieved on points and is not based on personal opinion; your work alone will be your passport to selection.
You will also be bound by our code of conduct which ensures that the worldwide esteem in which the SBA is held is retained.
The application process can be accessed by using this link
Rules of Process/Criteria:
• Digital uploads/emailed scanned images of five of your best-completed pieces. These pieces of work should reflect you at your best as an artist and must have enough content to enable the panel to truly evaluate your skill. You are also able to upload details from within these pieces.
• Digitally created work, photography, and giclee prints are not accepted.
• These should be works that are new to the Society, i.e. we prefer to see works that we have not already seen submitted for an exhibition.
• We advise you to view the work of existing Fellows on our website and to only submit work that you feel would fit alongside the work and/ or exceed the high standard of our existing membership.
• Artists working in 3D should submit high quality studio pieces and all botanical elements must be completely accurate to be acceptable.
• Other elements may be included (for example pollinators) but the majority of the content and the focus of the piece should be botanical.
• This process also supports overseas / geographically remote applicants so that they are able to apply and not be discriminated against and make the costs of applying more manageable.
• The election committee may include a professional in the field from outside the Society.
• Written artist statement to be submitted, we request this in order to learn more about you the artist, your work, what is important to you, and what you as an artist can bring to the Society.
• We take into consideration all of the applicant’s work in the round and their approach to botanical art e.g. examples of your presence on social media.
• It is preferable but not always essential to have had work, ideally several works, submitted and accepted for one or more past SBA exhibitions.
The Society is also keen to receive applications for Fellow membership from those artists who have completed the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course, especially those who achieved a Distinction or who have gone on to develop their individual style.
1. The most significant benefit is to use the title ‘SBA Fellow’. This internationally recognised qualification demonstrates professional expertise and is a guarantee of professional competence and artistic creativity. Fellowship may be a requirement for applicants for certain positions in the field of botanical art and is a widely acknowledged accreditation for commissioners of art, other Fellows, and the public in general. It is also a significant recognition of your status as a professional artist whose work is of the highest quality.
2. Our Welcome magazine and pack, all about the Society, featuring illustrations from our Fellow members
3. Twice yearly digital magazines
4. Winter magazine (usually printed); a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
5. Submit works or articles for our magazines and downloads
6. Have your own artist page in the SBA Fellow members’ area of the website and display the details of all your courses and workshops on the members’ courses page
7. Enter up to six works into SBA exhibitions at the applicable submission fee (subject to selection)
8. Reduced commission on exhibition sales (currently a commission of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm)
9. Membership card
10. A free copy of our show catalogue when attending the exhibition, on production of membership card
11. Have your accepted work feature in our main show catalogue.
12. Advance notice of SBA events
13. Enjoy being associated and feature with other SBA Fellow artists via the publications produced
14. Commercial commissions and opportunities that arise are offered exclusively to our Fellow SBA members
15. Opportunities to exhibit in satellite SBA shows and events
16. Make connections and gain exposure for your artwork
17. The opportunity to attend SBA social events
18. The opportunity to attend free or subsidised trips to museums or other events with your fellow artists
19. The opportunity to attend exclusive SBA study events from time to time
20. Experience being part of an international art organisation, including the opportunity to meet fellow artists and other interested individuals, inspire and gain support from one another and share information and news about the world of botanical art
21. Opportunity to participate in the Annual General Meeting.
Currently: All artists, whether national or international £145 pa, due 1 January each year.
An invitation to renew subscriptions is issued each year in January and subscriptions must be paid by 31 March each year. Failure to do so (without explanation) will mean you cease to be a member. You will then need to reapply.
Foundation membership is available to graduates of our Distance Learning Diploma Course and will be available for a period of one year following graduation. This membership is primarily an intermediary step for members that are inspired to proceed to Fellowship. Specifically, we hope that our former students will use this membership to move towards the Fellowship qualification should they so wish. We see it as a year for them to consolidate their artistic practice and to prepare their pieces to submit for the application process.
Students qualifying via the Distance Learning Diploma Course (DLDC) are entitled to use the qualification DipSBA or DipSBA(Dist) after their name for those who were awarded the Society’s Diploma. Foundation members are bound by the Society’s Code of Conduct.
Rules of Process/Criteria:
• Students having successfully completed the Distance Learning Diploma Course will be accepted as a Foundation member for the first year after graduation. It is hoped that they can use this year to consolidate their learning from the Diploma and to use the opportunity to consider how they might develop themselves further as an artist.
1. Our Welcome handbook and pack, all about the Society and featuring illustrations from our past and present Fellow members.
2. Winter magazine (usually printed); a celebration of our year in art and the achievements of our members
3. Twice yearly digital magazine featuring artwork, articles, tutorials, and other items
4. Periodic email news
5. Enter up to five works into the London exhibition at the applicable submission fee per work (all work is subject to selection)
6. Reduced commission on exhibition sales (currently commission is 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for 75cm or more)
7. Maintaining your association with the Society as you hopefully prepare to apply for Fellow membership
8. Can provide a stepping stone towards Fellowship
Included in the relevant course fees (only applies to students currently studying with the Society’s Distance Learning Diploma Course)
1. Exhibition: up to five works at the applicable submission fee per work (all work is subject to selection)
2. Reduced commission on exhibition sales (currently of 35% for work up to 75cm on the longest side and 40% for more than 75cm)
3. Welcome handbook and magazines
4. The opportunity to attend exclusive paid study events
Updated July 2021