Association for Art History Curatorial Prizes

The Association for Art History seeks to acknowledge the achievements and contributions of curators in public museums and galleries in the UK through awarding annual prizes in the following key areas: exhibitions, interpreting collections and publications. The prizes recognise the essential work of curators in creating knowledge and sharing research with varied audiences, as well as in providing expertise about collections and the history of art more generally.

Prizes will be awarded annually to curators or teams of curators whose work in museums and galleries has best demonstrated excellence, originality, contemporary relevance and public value. The prize-winners will be selected by a panel of leading figures in the field.

The Prizes

Exhibitions

This prize celebrates excellence in the curation of temporary exhibitions and their success in communicating art historical research to audiences. Key factors include the originality of the exhibition’s concept and the significance of the accompanying research, as well as the effectiveness and inspiring character of the show’s presentation and engagement with the public.

The awards are open to any temporary loan exhibition regardless of scale or budget. The exhibitions prize can be awarded to a single curator or a curatorial team who participated in the conception and realisation of an exhibition. To be eligible, an exhibition must have opened during the calendar year 2021 at a UK non-profit venue, or online, and have been organised or co-organised by UK-based curators.

Interpreting Collections

This prize aims to highlight the vital work done by curators and other museum professionals in researching and interpreting artworks in collections under their care. The prize will be awarded to an individual or team who, in the opinion of the panel, has contributed the most in the last calendar year to public understanding of the works in question through their research, fresh concepts or imaginative displays.

Eligible projects may take many forms. They may comprise, for example, multi-faceted displays focused on a single or small group of artworks or rehangs of substantial parts of or whole collections, or online projects. Panellists will look for art historical significance, rigour, originality, flair and public value, and they will also consider how the research underpinning a project has informed any didactic and published materials, as well as any associated public engagement programmes.

Publications

This prize recognises publications of art historical significance produced by the museum and gallery sector. Submissions may be aimed at a general or specialist readership but should be grounded in original research. Published in 2021, eligible works may include exhibition catalogues, museum guides, monographs and articles, as well as other less traditional formats, and may be printed or digital. The panellists are looking to acknowledge and reward significant contributions to knowledge as well as public value.

Guidance Notes

To apply or nominate for one of the three Curatorial Prizes please email a completed Application form or a Nominators form, alongside an Equal Opportunities Monitoring form in PDF format to: info@forarthistory.org.uk using the subject line, Association for Art History Curatorial Prizes.

Curatorial Prize Application Form

Curatorial Prize Nominators Form

Equality & Diversity Monitoring Form

Please note that only applications that are submitted using the Application Form or the Nominators Form will be accepted. Staff members and trustees of the Association for Art History and their relatives and partners are not eligible to apply.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2022. Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision by the end of September 2022, and the winners will be announced in November.

Please note that individuals may nominate themselves or others for these prizes. In assessing applications the panel will consider which projects best fulfilled the following criteria (at least one must be satisfied):

  • Excellence: did the project demonstrate excellence in art historical research in terms of rigour, originality or impact on the field?
  • Relevance: did it help signal the contemporary relevance of art and its histories?
  • Public value: did it communicate effectively with its intended audiences?
  • Diversity and inclusion: did it help broaden and make more inclusive the subject and practice of art history?