The annual exhibition is open to all artists resident or domiciled in the UK, and as such represents a significant forum for the promotion and dissemination of drawing practice in the UK. The Jerwood Drawing Prize has contributed to the status and promotion of drawing as an art form in the UK and represents a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of current priorities and focus in drawing as a discipline selected from an open submission. Established in 1994, and held annually since 1996, it is the longest standing annual open exhibition dedicated to drawing practice in the UK.
The annual exhibition is selected by a selection panel of three independent experts, usually an artist, a writer or critic and a museum or gallery director or curator, who also change each year to reflect different priorities and focus for the drawing within the exhibitions. Each year the selection panel is actively encouraged to collectively consider and define the nature and boundaries of drawing in order to create criteria for the selection of their show. There is a continual refinement between the panel members throughout the selection process as they consider each of the 2-2,700 drawings submitted on an annual basis, and select 40-50 drawings for the exhibition. From this shortlist, the panel nominates and selects the drawings for the awards. There are two student awards, a first and second prize. Selected student submissions are only identified to the panel after the first two awards have been decided, and students are eligible to win any of the awards.
The award winners are announced at the Jerwood Space, London at the launch of the exhibition in September. The exhibition is accompanied by regular education events at The Jerwood Space. The exhibition subsequently tours to 4 or 5 further venues in the UK.
The aims and objectives of the Jerwood Drawing Prize project are to:
- Promote the discipline of drawing.
- Provide a forum for the exhibition of current drawing practice.
- Gain knowledge and understanding about drawing through a ‘survey’ of artists currently making work within the discipline.
- Situate this discourse within the academic and research context of an art school.
- Support and recognize the work of all artists in the field of drawing as an emerging discipline, including that of established.
- Artists and that of emerging artists engaged in the discipline of drawing.