The entry period for the 2007 Prize has now closed, but the information below provides general guidance relevant to future rounds.
What are we looking for?
The single award of £100,000 will be presented during May – Museums and Galleries Month – to the museum or gallery whose entry, in the opinion of the judges:
- best demonstrates originality, imagination and excellence through work mainly undertaken during the previous calendar year;
- has the capacity to promote wider public appreciation of the role of museums and galleries; and
- has clearly won the support and enthusiasm of its visitors and users.
While entries should highlight particular projects or initiatives undertaken or completed during the previous calendar year, the judges will be interested to understand how these relate to the museum or gallery’s work as a whole.
What kind of projects?
Within the criteria above, we will welcome entries for any kind of museum or gallery project, including:
- creative use of new technology
- cross-disciplinary initiatives, e.g. arts/sciences
- programmes of exhibitions that show unusual approaches to interpretation
- work with new audiences
- imaginative building design or reconfiguration of existing buildings
- collaborative projects between two or more organisations.
These are only a few examples. Whatever kind of project you are planning to submit, it is important to think about what the judges will come to see if it is selected. Their visits will take place between February and May. If your project or exhibition will have finished by then, you will need to be able to provide a sufficient range of evidence, including visual material, for the judges to assess, and you should be able to show that the project has had some longer-term impact or legacy.
Check whether you are eligible
The Prize is open to all museums and galleries in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. The Trustees normally expect applicants to be participants in the Museum Registration/Accreditation Scheme operated by The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
Exceptions will be considered where organisations are in the public sector, or have charitable status, and whose activities are based on the care and interpretation of collections of historical, artistic or scientific interest. The Trustees’ decision on eligibility is final.
Only one entry may be submitted per individual museum or gallery. Where an organisation operates several museums and galleries, an entry may be submitted for each, but in drawing up the long list judges will not select more than one entry from the same multi-site service.
Entries may be submitted on behalf of collaborative projects between one or more organisations, but the entrant will be taken to be the lead museum or gallery ‘in association with’ its partners.
The Prize Administrator can give further guidance on eligibility.
When to apply and what information to send
Entries for the 2007 Prize are invited from 1 September 2006 and the closing date is 3 November 2006. Printed application forms are posted to all museums and galleries that are participants in the Registration/Accreditation scheme run by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and will be available to other organizations on request. You can print off the application form from the website or complete it on-line.
In addition to completing the application form, you should also submit a statement of not more than 2,000 words providing more detailed information about the project and why you believe it meets the criteria for the Gulbenkian Prize. It is helpful to provide a small selection of relevant material such as photographs, publications etc. Please supply photographs on disc where possible.
Please bear in mind when selecting material to send, that all applications have to be copied for circulation to the judges, and that the more material you send, the greater the likelihood that some items will have to be omitted during this process.
We regret that we are unable to return copies of application materials.
All applications received will be assessed by the Museum Prize Trustees, the Gulbenkian Foundation Arts Director and the Prize Administrator, who will recommend the list of around 25 entries for consideration by a panel of 7 independent judges. The judges will then select a long list of 10. Everyone on the long list will be informed in the New Year, and a public announcement will be made around one week later. At the same time we will let all the other entrants know that they were not successful on this occasion.
Criteria for selection
The criteria used throughout the assessment process are:
- Originality: does the project stand out from previous developments or activities in the field?
- Quality of presentation and content: e.g. excellence in building/exhibition design; imaginative/unusual approaches to curation/interpretation;
- Public enthusiasm: e.g. is there strong evidence of public appreciation and support for the project? Has it reached new audiences? Has it provoked debate on/encouraged re-assessment of the role of museums and galleries?
- Resources: does the project show inventive and effective use of the available resources, i.e. budget, staff and space?
If you are long-listed
This is a great opportunity to increase awareness of your work both on a local and national level. We will provide PR briefing and support to help you to make the most of this.
We will ask you to provide at least 4 captioned photographs illustrating aspects of your project. High-quality photographic images are essential in promoting the long list to the media, so we urge you to consider using professional photographers where possible.
We suggest that long-listed museums and galleries identify a ‘champion’ – perhaps someone well-known to local or national media – who will publicly support and endorse their project.
Following announcement of the long list each of the candidates will be visited by at least 4 judges. The Prize Administrator will liaise with each organisation to arrange a convenient date. There will be one official visit to each museum or gallery on the long list, but additional visits may be made by judges privately and without notice.
When the long list visits are complete the judges will choose a short list of 4 museums or galleries to go forward as finalists. The short list will be announced in April. A final round of judges’ visits will take place so that by the end of the process, all judges will have visited all 4 finalists.
The winner will be announced at a reception in London during May - Museums and Galleries Month. They will receive £100,000 and will be the holder for one year of the enamelled silver Gulbenkian Bowl, made by Vladimir Böhm.
The decision of the judging panel is final.