Art prizes can have all different kinds of processes, structures and criteria. Artists may be selected from open submission or via nominations, chosen on the basis of a particular exhibition or for working in a particular medium. Sometimes there’s a long list and a shortlist, sometimes just a shortlist. Then there is the question of ‘who chooses a winner?’
We decided it was about time we gave you a view behind the scenes at the Northern Art Prize to outline what we do and why we think this furthers the aims of this particular prize. First of all: Who are the nominators?
Each year nominations come from 12 arts professionals (curators, directors, collectors) including freelancers and people from both large and small organisations. These nominators are invited by us and change yearly. Each nominator puts forward 2 artists to form the long list for the Northern Art Prize. Choosing nominators isn’t a mathematical science, it involves a lot of umming and ahhing and an attempt to get a spread of people representing both urban and rural areas across the north of England. In a change this year, we decided to invite 9 nominators from the North East, North West and Yorkshire regions (3 from each region) plus 3 from national organisations.
The role of nominator is important because these are the people who work directly with artists, they have a finger on the pulse of who is making interesting work. An alternative prize might seek out artists who are unknown and unrepresented but The Northern Art Prize seeks to foreground and strengthen the arts infrastructure that exists in the north, evidencing networks and opportunities in the region. The addition of 3 nominators from outside the north – yet chosen for their knowledge and experience of working with northern artists – is in recognition of the fact that the north is not isolated from the rest of the country but has a permeable and interlinked arts infrastructure.
Coming soon…Behind the prize – Nominations