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Student Art Prize

Our annual University-wide Student Art Prize launched in October 2019 to expand opportunities around creativity and to develop a new permanent student art collection as a resource for the whole community.  

Although Durham does not formally teach fine art, almost every university college has its own active art society or art group, where students take part in workshops, meet artists and develop their artistic skills through collaborative creativity. Initiated in response to student feedback, the Student Art Prize was established to provide a professional platform for student artists to develop their practice and exhibit their work.  

The prize fund is generously supported by founding alumnus sponsor and collaborator Richard Roberts, and offers £1500 for first place, £1000 for second and £500 for third.   

Richard Roberts studied Law and Politics at Durham University in the early 1980s, before qualifying as a solicitor. He is now Director and co-owner of Gedye and Sons, which is based in Cumbria and at the Old Bailey in Durham. He has recently given nearly £40,000 to support art at the University.  

What is the role of the University’s Art Collection in this project?   

The University Art Collection team lead on the organisation of Student Art Prize. The prize takes a different theme each year and launches each November with submissions due in February the following calendar year. From these submissions, a selection panel chooses a shortlist of works for public display, either physically or digitally, as part of the University’s annual arts festival, Summer in the City. 

A final judging panel, made up of professional artists, curators, sponsors, alumni and representatives of both the University and the student body, select the prize winners. The prizes are announced in June each year at a special event.   

The first-place prize winner each year is taken into the University’s substantial Art Collectionwhere it joins works by many renowned 20th century and contemporary artists, to be used in exhibitions, research and teaching across the university and beyond. 

Alice Stubbings artwork

Image caption: Alice StubbingsHands of Acceptance, 2019Awarded first place in the inaugural Student Art Prize 2019/20