Durham University launches first Student Art Prize


What is the Durham University Student Art Prize?

Launched on 25 October 2019, the Student Art Prize is a competition open to current, registered Durham University students. The theme for this year is ‘diversity’. Three prize winners will be selected to receive cash awards; £1500 is being offered for first place, while second and third places will receive £1000 and £500 respectively. There will be an Art Prize Exhibition for shortlisted works, as well as an opportunity to have work acquired by the University art collection.

What are the objectives of the Prize?

Durham University does not teach practical arts subjects, and as a result, the arts can often appear to be neglected. This initiative demonstrates that the University has recognised the interest within the student body for greater arts provisions; the heavy funding is a bold move to support art as part of the wider student experience.

Most colleges within the University have their own arts committees or societies, which organise creative events, talks and socials. The Student Art Prize aims to form an overarching link between these student-led efforts to make the arts more visible and accessible.

What is the significance of the theme ‘diversity’?

Little-known to many students, Durham University’s Art Collection is home to over 6000 20th and 21st century artworks. Included in the Collection are works by prominent artists such as Salvador Dali, and Guerrilla Girls. Whilst both the size and quality of the archive is impressive, the majority of artists represented are White, Western males. One intention of the theme is to draw attention to the lack of (and need for) diversity in the art world as a whole.

The second motive behind the choice of theme is to do with Art Curator Alix Collingwood-Swinburn’s vision to incorporate art into everyday learning. She aims to improve student engagement with art by diversifying the ways in which the Collection is used by students.

Guerrilla Girls, Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? 2012, Copyright © Guerrilla Girls, Courtesy guerrillagirls.com

How do I submit work?

Applications are now open. Applications close 5pm on 14th February 2020. All submissions must be accompanied by a 100 word interpretation which links the artwork to the theme of ‘diversity’.  

Further details, including the Student Art Prize Submission Form, can be found at https://www.dur.ac.uk/art.collection/artprize/submission/.

Where can I find further details?

For further queries about the Art Prize, contact artcollection@durham.ac.uk.

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