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Emerging Artists Award 2020

The Call for Artists for the 2020 Melbourne Festival Emerging Artist Award is now OPEN!

Melbourne Festival Emerging Artists Award

The Award was launched in 2014 to celebrate the tenth Melbourne Festival thanks to an Arts Council Grant for the Arts and a local benefactor. It aims to encourage young artists (aged 17 to 25) from the East Midlands to become engaged with the Festival so that we can help them promote their work at our Festival and to reward the winners with a generous prize, recognition and on-going support for their art practice. it has now become an annual prestigious competition. The entries will be shortlisted to 12 – 15 entrants who exhibit at Melbourne Festival. For the past five years the standard of entries has been excellent.
The Award is targeted at artists aged 17 to 25 (or artists within 5 years of graduation) who are studying, working or living in the region and pursuing a career in or studying Art.


Prizes The First Prize is £500. There is a Runner-Up Award of £250 and a “People’s Choice” Award of £50 art vouchers. The Winner will also have a place on the 2020 Art & Architecture Trail and mentoring from Luke Tarpey at The Tarpey Gallery or an established Artist working in the winners chosen medium.

Who can enter? Artists who live, work or study in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and meet the age criteria of being over 17 and under 25 on 31 August 2020 or are within 5 years of their graduation date.

The Brief This year the theme is “CHAOS”
We have a different theme each year, but it is only intended as a starting point and applicants are encouraged to interpret the brief as they wish. We are looking for personal and creative outcomes.

Judging Independent judges assess the artwork on originality, imaginative interpretation of the brief, technical ability and the quality of the work. Your work should be innovative and engaging.
Examples of previous years entries can be viewed on our website.

Originality The work must be created for this competition and must not have been entered previously in any other competitions or public exhibitions. Students can use work from their current art practice – eg Degree Show, provided they can show the work is original and describe how it matches the theme.

How to Apply – The selection process –
CLOSING DATE: Submit by email 3-4 images of current work (jpeg’s max 1mb each) with your ideas for the competition (max 100 words + sketches) and a CV with FULL contact details by 30th April 2020.
SHORTLIST: The Judges will shortlist approximately 20 proposals and notify Artists by 14th May 2020.
COMPLETION: Shortlisted artists must complete work by 31st August 2020 ready for delivery.
EXHIBITION: The exhibition will be on 19th & 20th September and The Judges will review the finished pieces by Friday 18th September. The Prize will be presented on Saturday 19th September 2020.
All entrants exhibiting are expected to attend.
Conditions – what we are looking for?
All work must meet these conditions: It must be 2 dimensional and ready for wall hanging, framed and strung if required, a maximum of 2 metres in any dimension. Medium – paint, pastel, pencil, textile, printmaking, photography or mixed media. Work must be original, safe for hanging, meet health and safety requirements and not be offensive.
LIMITATION OF LIABILITY Whilst Melbourne Festival shall use reasonable care and skill when handling artists work occassionally damage can occur. Melbourne Festival has normal public liability insurance, which covers claims caused by our negligence, but does not cover accidental damage to your work or caused by your work. Consequently, please insure your work if you feel it is necessary, as we cannot accept any responsibility.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND COPYRIGHT In submitting work for the Award each artist is assumed to hold all intellectual property rights for the work and that they have obtained prior approval for the use of any third party copyrighted material contained in the submitted work.
Although copyright of the work will remain with the artist, artists will allow their work to be photographed and reproduced for the purposes of promoting the exhibition including; website, press and publicity.
DATA PROTECTION In accordance with the Data Protection Act Melbourne Festival will hold the personal data supplied by artists securely. The data will not be transferred to any third party without the artists permission.
AGREEMENT TO THE CONDITIONS OF ENTRY By entering the Melbourne Festival Emerging Artists Award artists are agreeing to all of the above conditions of entry.


Our Previous Winners 2014 -2018

The overall winner of the 2014 Emerging Talent Award was William Hughes, the Runner-Up was Emily Smalley and Sidra Fatima’s piece was commended by the judges.
Our 2015 Emerging Talent Award was presented to photographer Bethany Upton, the Runner Up was Heather Bolton and Bethany Freer was commended.
In 2016 the judges selected photographer Robbie Short as the Winner of the 2016 Award, the Runner Up was Matthew Archer and Ashleigh Kent received a Commendation.
The 2017 Emerging Talent Award was given to Holly Kerslake, with Runner Up Beth Brassington and commendations for Rachel Gilson and Rachel Alexandre.
2018 saw one of our Commended Artists from 2017, Rachel Alexandre, being shortlisted again and this time winning the Emerging Talent Award, Jessica Munday was Runner Up, while Aredee Pericleous and Emily Arnold were both Commended.
The Winners and their work are shown above.