The WR Museum: Celebrating Our History of Open Dialogue through Accessible Art 

The WR Museum: Celebrating Our History of Open Dialogue through Accessible Art 


The Warwick Rowers began as a humble student calendar initiative, but over the years it has evolved into a much bigger campaign. Alongside our ever popular calendar (sixteenth edition for 2025 on its way!), we tell our story through film, a monthly magazine, live events and social media.   

We began by challenging homophobia in sport. It became a way to look at men’s bodies as a means to promote healthier masculinities and more mindful approaches to understanding the perspectives of everyone around us. 

This transformation was not just about changing perceptions but also about fostering a meaningful dialogue between individuals from diverse sexual orientations and backgrounds. 

Birth of the Warwick Rowers Museum 

Following a decade of impactful activities and discussions, we have begun a new chapter with the development of the Warwick Rowers Museum.  This has already started with the Seeing Men exhibition, our first venture into showcasing our work in an online gallery which has already raised nearly £8000 for registered charity Sport Allies.

We plan a huge expansion of our gallery over the coming months and years as we build a truly multimedia, interactive online space that will celebrate and build on our history of looking at men’s bodies in innovative and engaging ways. 

This virtual exhibition space will not only serve to document the journey of the Rowers but also to act as a beacon for the “Barefoot Movement,” advocating for inclusivity and openness among men from all walks of life. The museum will feature a rich mix of media, including text, videos, and podcasts, all aimed at chronicling the experiences and insights gained from the Rowers’ activities. 

The Museum’s Mission: Dialogue and Understanding 

Our museum will seek to share and empower greater empathy, building directly on our original intention to foster understanding and solidarity between gay and straight men through real world experience.

The museum’s exhibitions will detail our evolution from a simple calendar to a social movement promoting mental health and social change through the use of art and open dialogue. It will narrate the story of how we used our platform to unite people across different sexualities, and then across different genders and lived experiences to reach better understandings of how we could support each other in our lives. 

Challenges and Triumphs 

The museum also delves into how our project developed through the incredible opportunities that enabled us to inspire supporters around the world and the many obstacles we have had to overcome to continue and develop that advocacy.  This journey will be vividly captured through interactive and multimedia exhibits in the museum. 

The museum not only revisits the past achievements of the Warwick Rowers but also sets the stage for future explorations of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and power dynamics. It positions itself as a contemporary space akin to the Saatchi Gallery, but with a focus on queer, feminist, and BIPOC perspectives that challenge traditional narratives and promote a more inclusive view of society. 

Funding and Creative Direction 

The Warwick Rowers Museum and Archive is going to be more than just an exhibition space.  It will be a must-see destination for a whole range of audiences. Some of it will be freely available to the general public, though we will of course encourage donations to charity as we have with our prototype Seeing Men exhibition.  Other parts will, by their nature and in keeping the original intentions of our early contributors, will be available to ticket holders and members only.   

All revenue from entry fees and merchandise sales to directly fund our continuing development not just as a museum but as a wider project that conducts research and training.  All stakeholders, including original members of the Warwick Rowers, will have significant input into the ongoing management and future development of the museum and its contents. 

A Cornerstone of the Broader Barefoot Vision 

The WR Museum will share our history, but it do more than just celebrating past successes.  We want to encourage eveyrone to think differently about masculinity, identity and coexistence.  We want to reflect the recent history of which our project has been a part – a world that values diverse perspectives and recognises the importance of holistic wellbeing.  

Through this innovative platform, we hope that our will continue to make a profound impact on societal norms and be part of a global dialogue about the essential issues we must address today to create the best possible outcomes for future generations.