WR History

WR History

We are grateful to everyone who has supported us for over fourteen years as we have evolved from a small student fundraising project into a global campaign for healthier masculinity.

We hope you will continue to enjoy our new content as well as all the great films, books, art prints and more that we have been adding to our collection since 2009.

Here is a quick recap on our history to date…


An amateur photographer drove his ancient BMW and brand new Canon SLR from London to Coventry, where Warwick University is based. The BMW made it all the way but the camera broke down immediately. Luckily, we managed to borrow one from a shop in nearby Leamington Spa, and the Warwick Rowers calendar was born!


We began to find our feet – and an audience! After we went public as a gay/straight alliance, we started getting attention around the world. We also started documenting our calendar shoots on film, creating the beginning of an enormous archive of film footage that we will showcase in our forthcoming museum.


Building on our early success, we managed to find some rare sunshine in the English summer. But the rain prompted us to start thinking about the possibility of shooting overseas…


We added our very first pull out centrefold – a tradition we have continued ever since. (The poster is now twice the size, and double sided!


The year we set up Sport Allies, the registered charity that we have been supporting ever since. Every penny from entries to our Seeing Men exhibition already goes directly to Sport Allies, and from 2024 the charity will receive all entry fees and donations from our exciting new WR Museum.


Things got so hot, we had to call the fire brigade!! We also toured the US with stops in LA, New York City and Miami. And we finally found a more reliable source of summer sun with our first calendar shoot in Spain.


A local landowner lent us his spectacular English country house. We had fun playing croquet, having Pimms by the pool and living the dream of the English country gentleman! We also had our first overseas summer shoot camp, as featured in our films ever since.


Probably the wettest summer in our calendar history, but we managed to shoot at a historic stately home in England before hitting the beach again in Spain.


Our biggest ever overseas shoot at an extraordinary property near Tarifa in the south of Spain. We undertook an art project that used a lot of paint. It is showcased in our fifth book, Manifesto and in the centrepiece print of our Seeing Men exhibition. (It looks great on every wall and also happens to be our most Insta-safe picture ever, if you are worried about offending the neighbours!)


We celebrated our tenth anniversary with shoots in four countries, including a celebrity shoot in Sydney with world record holding Olympic rower, Robbie Manson.


We were happy to welcome old friends and new to our first shoot in Spain as the Worldwide Roar. The sun shone and we worked hard all day, then talked into the night about the future of the Roar, sharing the same feeling of excitement about a new beginning. We literally held the front page for our biggest shoot ever, too!!


It was a strange year for everyone, including those of us at WR. Our staff and volunteers are based in remote locations all over the world, so there were a lot of zoom meetings at odd hours, and frantic efforts to create dynamic new content at a time when sport had ground to a halt and we could not travel. But we were proud that we nevertheless produced an entirely new calendar, lots of new digital content, and got ready to plan for our post-pandemic future.


From rugby players in Manchester to pole dancers in London. From downhill freeriders in Mexico to athletes getting naked in public in Soho, London. The WR22 season saw us break out of our bubbles to recover from the pandemic with a world class calendar that brought dozens of new participants into the project. We also held a strategy summit in London where leading experts from a range of fields including academia, policy development, media and elite sport came together to consider the future of the project. Just over one year later, the thinking from that day is all around on this website as we become Barefoot Man.


Our 2023 calendar is our final calendar as WR. We are grateful to know that it is on the wall of so many supporters around the world. We hope you are enjoying it. We are confident that you will enjoy our 2024 calendar just as much! It has a fresh, new feel and the feedback so far has been amazing! Our 2024 calendar is our fifteenth – and our first as Barefoot Man. You can find it via the link below where you will also be able to pick up souvenir copies of all historic WR calendars that are still in stock!

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