The submissionprocess for The Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year – the UK’s single biggest arts prize – opens on Wednesday 1 September 2004.
Now in its third year, the £100,000 prize is awarded annually to one museum or gallery in the UK, large or small, for the best new development of the previous calendar year. Excellence, imagination and innovation should be demonstrated by highlighting particular projects or initiatives – exhibition programmes, visual arts projects, community projects or a new building, for example – that have won the support of visitors and helped promote the museum or gallery to a wider audience.
The chair of this year’s judging panel is eminent scientist and academic, Sir Richard Sykes, Rector of Imperial College London. Sir Richard is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum, London and sits on the Board of Directors for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He serves on a number of government and scientific committees, is a fellow of the Royal Society and is a former President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. His fellow judges will be announced later this year.
The Gulbenkian Prize for Museum of the Year is open to all registered museums and galleries in the UK. Last year’s list of finalists – Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for Landform, the Museum of Antiquities, University of Newcastle for Reticulum, Pembrokeshire Museums Service for Varda, and Norton Priory Museum for Positive Partnerships, highlighted the diversity of applications that the Gulbenkian Prize Trustees want to encourage. This year they will be liaising with the English Regional Museum Hubs and the museum agencies in the English regions and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to build intelligence of excellent new developments, and stimulate a strong field.
Applicants must have opened, redeveloped or launched a new project or innovative programme of activity that has come to fruition in the calendar year to 31 December 2004.
Judging visits will take place between January and April 2005, therefore entries involving temporary exhibitions or programmes that have finished by that date, will need to be able to demonstrate that these have been part of some significant development for the institution concerned and produce clear evidence for the judges to assess.
The closing date for entries is 1 November 2004 . More information can be found at at www.thegulbenkianprize.org.uk and applications forms will be available from 1 September 2004. The shortlist of ten will be announced in January 2005, followed by the announcement of the four finalists in March 2005. The winner will be announced during Museums and Galleries Month in May.
Last year’s winner was the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, for Landform by Charles Jencks. In 2003, the first year of the Prize, the winner was the National Centre for Citizenship and the Law at Nottingham’s Galleries of Justice. In addition to a cheque for £100,000, the winning museum holds for one year the Gulbenkian Prize bowl in enamelled silver, commissioned from the artist Vladimir Böhm.