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Countdown to the 2019 Melbourne Festival Emerging Talent Award – Details will be posted on this page mid-February!


Melbourne Festival Emerging Talent Award

The Award was launched in 2014 to celebrate the tenth Melbourne Festival thanks to an Arts Council Grant for the Arts and a local benefactor. It aims to encourage young artists (aged 18 to 25) from the East Midlands to become engaged with the Festival so that we can help promote their work. it has now become an annual prestigious competition. The entries were shortlisted to 12 – 15 entrants who exhibit at Melbourne Festival. For the past five years the standard of entries has been excellent. 


Our Winners 2014 -2018

The overall winner of the 2014 Emerging Talent Award was William Hughes, the Runner-Up was Emily Smalley and Sidra Fatima’s piece was commended by the judges.

Our 2015 Emerging Talent Award was presented to photographer Bethany Upton, the Runner Up was Heather Bolton and Bethany Freer was commended.

In 2016 the judges selected photographer Robbie Short as the Winner of the 2016 Award, the Runner Up was Matthew Archer and Ashleigh Kent received a Commendation.

The 2017 Emerging Talent Award was given to Holly Kerslake, with Runner Up Beth Brassington and commendations for Rachel Gilson and Rachel Alexandre.

2018 saw one of our Commended Artists from 2017, Rachel Alexandre, being shortlisted again and this time winning the Emerging Talent Award, Jessica Munday was Runner Up, while Aredee Pericleous and Emily Arnold were both Commended.

The Winners and their work are shown above.

Background Information

The focus of the competition is fine art work, but has been opened to give artists from other media the opportunity to show creativity in media such as textiles and photography. Work must be 2-dimensional, this has been governed primarily by the potential exhibition space which has determined the need to have artwork which is capable of being hung on a wall. This has excluded sculpture, installation or purely digital media. Over the past two years our shortlist has included graphite drawings, paintings, embroidery, photography and mixed media.  Any questions from applicants about appropriate mediums should be directed to the organiser via contact form on this site.

Prizes – The Winner will receive £500. There will also be a Runner Up Award of £250. The Winner will also have a place on the 2019 Melbourne Festival Art & Architecture Trail and mentoring from Luke Tarpey at The Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington.  All shortlisted work will be exhibited at Melbourne Festival this year. In 2018 the exhibition attracted over 1000 visitors and provides an opportunity to sell the work if the Artist wants to sell their piece.

Who can enter – Artists who live, work or study in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Staffordshire and meet the age criteria of being over 18 and 25 or under on 31 August 2019.