Competition launched for new artists: £10,000 prize and exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

Countdown is on for entries to the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist award, in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery. 

Competition launched for new artists: £10,000 prize and exhibition at Saatchi Gallery

This summer has seen the return of the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award, in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery and UK New Artists – with the number of entries already surpassing the previous year despite having three weeks left until the competition closes.

After a short hiatus in 2020 brought on by the pandemic, three leading organisations have come back together – global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Group, leading arts charity UK New Artists, and renowned contemporary art platform Saatchi Gallery have re-joined forces to help provide a career springboard for emerging artists.

The Brief 

Where do we go from here? Is there to be a 'new normal'? will challenge new and emerging artists to explore the impact and aftermath of what has been a globally turbulent and trialling time for all – from our relationship to the things we once held close, right through to the pressure and barriers that the pandemic directly presented on our lives.

Judges will include Robert Walters – art enthusiast, collector and CEO of Robert Walters Group; Michael Forbes - artist and chair of Primary; Conor Rogers - artist and winner of the 2019 awards; Cindy Sissokho - Curator at New Art Exchange and Associate Curator of Casablanca Biennale; Michelle Bowen - Director of UK New Artists; and Paul Foster –Interim Gallery Director of Saatchi Gallery.

The 2019 Award attracted the most exciting new artists working in the UK today. Winner Conor Rogers was subsequently selected for the Freelands Foundation Artist Programme; runner up Camilla Hanney was awarded a Gilbert Bayes Award 2021 by the British Society of Sculptors, and shortlisted artist Manon Ouimet went on to win The British Photography Portrait Award 2021.

Entries for the 2021 award will close on 31 August. Judges are expecting to see works from artists who are taking on the challenge in “unexpected and unapologetic ways” – using varying modes of communication and visualisation to explore what the future may hold for artistic practice and ambition.

The final shortlist of 10 artists, selected by the judging panel, will have the opportunity to have their work exhibited at Saatchi Gallery – with all travel and logistics costs covered by Robert Walters Group – at the awards evening on Monday 4 November.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £10,000 and the artist’s work will be shown at the Robert Walters Group head office in Covent Garden for 12 months. The runner-up will also receive £5,000 from Robert Walters Group to help fund their future career in the visual arts.

Robert Walters, CEO of Robert Walters Group says, 

“The past year has been difficult for a number of industries and even more so for our arts and culture sector – an industry that simply would not have the chance of survival were it not for both public and private funding.
“Providing a stepping stone for ambitious individuals is what the foundation of Robert Walters Group is built on. And now, more than ever, when so many people have had a rare opportunity to step into and act on their genuine passions - such as the arts - I feel proud that we are able to champion such inspiring work in the hope of launching careers from the next generation of exceptional artists.”

Michelle Bowen, Director of UK New Artists says, 

"The 2019 Awards discovered some of the most compelling new artists working today and I’m excited to see how a new generation has faced the extraordinary pressures and challenges of the last year and how this will inform their artistic practice as they look to the future."

Paul Foster, Interim Gallery Director of Saatchi Gallery say, 

“We are delighted to be hosting the UK New Artist Award, and we are grateful for the crucial support Robert Walters Group provides with this initiative to emerging artists.”

Who can enter?

To be eligible for the award, you must be age 18 or over, and within the first 10 years of your professional practice, and have the right to live, work or study in the UK. Upon application, we will ask you to define the start of your professional practice using one of the following:

  • the date that you registered as a self-employed artist
  • the first public exhibition or performance you presented
  • your first paid commission
  • The year you completed your education or training 
  • You are yet to do any of these things, and self-define the start of your professional practice

Artists should be working within the following fields:

  • Applied arts: ceramics, glass, textiles, jewellery,
  • Digital Arts: Moving image, performance video, technological arts
  • Fine Arts: painting, printmaking, photography, installation, sculpture.

For more information about the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award in collaboration with Saatchi Gallery click here.

Good luck all!

Header Image Credit: Saatchi Gallery


Saskia Calliste

Saskia Calliste Voice Team

Saskia is the Deputy Editor of Voice and has worked on campaigns such as International Women’s Day, Black History Month, and Anti-Bullying Week. Outside of Voice, Saskia is a published author (Hairvolution) and has guest featured in various other publications (The Women Writers’ Handbook/ Cosmopolitan/ The Highlight). She has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism and an MA in Publishing. She is a mentor for Women of the World Global, has guest lectured at the University of Roehampton and has led seminars/panel talks on Race, Equality and Diversity. She was a 2022 Guest Judge for Dave (TV Channel) in search of the 'Joke of the Fringe'. She is 27-years-old, based in London, and loves to cook and explore new places in her spare time.

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