Francis Olvez-Wilshaw

Francis Olvez-Wilshaw

Design Studio Manager and Instructor

Francis is originally from Buxton in the Peak District, UK and has lived in London since 2010. He completed his BA in Sculpture in 2013 and was awarded an MFA Sculpture from the Royal College of Art in 2018.

He has been a practicing artist since moving to London with has a studio in Charlton.

He has shown and made work internationally in Texas, Lithuania and Greece.


Responsibilities within the university

  • To fully manage the School of Design’s Stockwell Street design studios and ensure these spaces are resourced, configured and operating safely for taught classes, student open-study activities, events and exhibitions, open days, interviews etc.
  • Respond proactively to short-term day-to-day needs and longer-term planning needs and in doing so develop a space that fulfils the evolving requirements of a demanding, dynamic and vibrant user base.
  • Work with Facilities Management, H&S and other departments to establish safe working practices and environments.
  • Plan and set up other events and exhibitions occurring in design studios with particular regard to the logistics of sustainable supply/storage/recycling of materials.
  • Ensure that studio spaces are in order and in teaching condition.
  • Liaise with the Academic Portfolio Leads about the studio space, timetable and curricula development, summer school provision and space etc.


Artist Residencies:
  • Noucmas Residency, Athens, Greece. April 2023
  • RCA/University of Texas Exchange. August- December 2017
  • Florence Trust Residency 2014-15, Highbury, London
  • Artist-in-residence at The Green Man Gallery Buxton. October 2013- May 2014


Selected solo exhibitions (as of May 2023):
  • ‘Surigao Son Shine’, Jamyang Buddhist Centre, Walworth, London. October 2021
  • ‘Stick a Fork In It’, Visual Arts Centre, Austin, TX, USA. December 2017
  • Silanaiai Project, Kaunas, Lithuania- July 2016
  • ‘Aether Shrugged’ Curious Projects, Eastbourne. April 2016
  • ‘If you want me to stay’ The Green Man Gallery Buxton. May 2014
Selected group exhibitions
  • ArtHub Open Studios, Woolwich, London. September 2022
  • RCA Degree Show. June 2018
  • W.I.P Show, Royal College of Art, London. January 2017
  • Summer Show 2015 Florence Trust, London. June 2015
  • Winter Open 2015 Florence Trust, London. January 2015

Research / Scholarly interests

Francis' work looks at the forces of power and aspiration through the prisms of weightlifting, politics and personal heritage. His practice primarily works in sculpture but can also be combined with paintings, furniture/interior design and performance to create works that explore male insecurities and Western presumptions/expectations of success.

His work weaves in references to his mixed race heritage (Filipino/English) and identity. A nation that owes its very existence to the formalisation of western colonisers. The Philippines’ aspirations and anxieties have been tethered to the promise of the West. He uses his mixed identity as a space to play out these ideas and the inner psychology of an outward looking people.

The work has become occupied with spaces designed for self-improvement and as platforms to express bodily aspirations; with systems and representations of aspiration by drawing upon familiar and idealised depictions of power, (seated figures, thrones, clenched fists). He proceeds to unpick and expand the ideas through the explicit use of readily available ‘cheap’ materials such as repurposed furniture, cardboard, bamboo and polystyrene. He further channels ideas that can manifest themselves into performative acts that exhibit violence, domesticity and heroism.