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Autumn Exhibitions

Your guide to autumn exhibitions in South Bank

Few areas of London have quite so much to offer the avid culture vulture as London’s South Bank. Here, in just a few Thames-side acres, you’ll find a cornucopia of art spaces and galleries presenting a range of work from cutting edge multi-media displays to poignant photographic retrospectives. Our new guide reveals September’s best, including lots of free exhibitions too. 

[email protected] - FREE

Inspired by London’s ever-changing landscape, A River Runs Through It is a show case of original work by Urban Soup, an artists’ collective from London’s thriving community of self-funded studios. Through a variety of different media and materials, they offer up some fascinating new perspectives on our magical metropolis.

London-based artists Giuseppe D’Innella, Jayson Lilley and Anna Masters have come together to present Variations, an eclectic exhibition which includes painting, screen printing and mixed-media sculpture, brought together in a celebration of bold colour, sumptuous texture and intricate forms.

Bargehouse - FREE

Age Does Not Matter is a 4-day festival which aims to rethink the concept of ageing and disrupt the conventional narrative through a series of inspirational talks, installations, stories and films. Join a diverse group of academics, business leaders and creative thinkers in finding new ways to shift mindsets and shape future society.

Returning to OXO Tower Wharf for London Design Festival 2016, Designers Block presents Creative Matters, a programme of talks, workshops and events which invite thinkers, practitioners, institutions and businesses to come together to debate and influence the future of our creative economy.

House of Vans - FREE

In the decade since its inception, Communion has grown from a monthly live music night at Notting Hill Arts Club into a community of musicians, record label, promoter and publisher. This gallery retrospective celebrates its 10th birthday through an exclusive selection of artworks, photos and images from the archives.

Create Syria is an inspiring exhibition which follows the stories of displaced Syrian artists, including theatre directors, actors, photographers and film-makers. Through a range of artforms, they explore the many ways the arts can encourage dialogue, promote resilience and build communities to envisage a future without violence.

Southbank Centre

In 2012 Unlimited was one of the highlights of the Cultural Olympiad. This adventurous, honest and humorous celebration of the creative vision and originality of disabled artists makes a long-overdue return to the Southbank Centre with a festival of theatre, dance, music, literature and visual arts.


Movie buffs and cineastes can catch a glimpse of some rare film and TV memorabilia in this free exhibition of lots which precedes the Propstore auction in late September. Artefacts on display include a 1977 Hero Stormtrooper Blaster from Star Wars and the licence plate from Steve McQueen’s Bullitt.

National Theatre

Peter O’Toole, Albert Finney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Simon Russell-Beale and Rory Kinnear are the Five Hamlets featured in this new exhibition which celebrates the work of Shakespeare. Props, designs and costumes from the NT archive are on display, allowing you to explore behind the scenes of these legendary productions of Hamlet.

BFI Southbank - FREE

In addition to its moving image collection, the BFI National Archive also holds a world-class Special Collection of scripts, posters, photographs and other documents. Check out their new acquisitions which include the papers of journalist and documentary-maker, Alan Whicker, and the work of S J Woods, designer of the Ealing Studios posters.

Florence Nightingale Museum

For over a century children and grownups have been captivated by J M Barrrie’s Peter Pan. Take Me to Neverland explores the magical tale of The Boy Who Never Grew Up through a collection of letters, illustrations, recordings and memorabilia from the priceless archive held by Great Ormond Street Hospital.

IWM London

Real to Reel examines the art of the movie-maker and the power of film to tell stories of love, loss, courage, triumph and tragedy. This interactive exhibition includes wartime artefacts, personal stories and set designs from classics such as The Dam Busters, Where Eagles Dare, Apocalypse Now, Casablanca, Saving Private Ryan, Atonement and War Horse.

The 1980’s anti-nuclear protests were captured on film by photographer Edward Barber to raise awareness of the peace movement. His work, which he describes as ‘preventative photography’, can be seen in Peace Signs, a powerful exhibition and vital documentary of social history.

Edmund Clarke’s thought-provoking immersive experience uses sound, moving image and installation to recreate the unsettling experience of surveillance and detention. An exploration of these new weapons in the global War on Terror forces us to consider the delicate balance between state protection and control.

Discover a variety of imaginative responses to conflict in Visions of War Above and Below: surreal depictions of aircraft as living creatures, abstract views of bombing raids and detailed drawings of submarine life feature in this free exhibition of artwork from the First World War to the present day.