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Arnolfini - est 1961

The six arts organisations selected for consideration for the inaugural £100,000 Freelands Award were announced today…

Arnolfini are delighted to be selected for the Award, which aims to raise the profile of mid-career women artists and support the work of visual arts organisations outside London. It was launched in March this year by the Freelands Foundation, founded by Elisabeth Murdoch in 2015.  

The six organisations selected are:

Arnolfini (Bristol)
Baltic (Gateshead)
The Fruitmarket Gallery (Edinburgh)
Ikon (Birmingham)
Turner Contemporary (Margate)
The Whitworth (Manchester)

The annual Freelands Award will enable a regional arts organisation to present an exhibition, including significant new work, by a mid-career female artist. The aim is to support an artist who has not yet achieved the acclaim and public recognition that her work deserves. 

Freelands Foundation recognises that there are many outstanding regional organisations in the UK. Following a rigorous selection process by a team of advisors, the Foundation looks forward to reviewing proposals from the six chosen institutions in this inaugural year. 

Arnolfini CEO Kate Brindley said: “We are delighted to be considered among the best leading arts organisations outside London. And we are particularly thrilled to put ourselves forward to support the cause of under-representation of woman artists within the career structures of the UK. We will support this initiative in any way we can and of course we’d like to bring this award and exhibition to Bristol: an excellent city in which to champion this cause and showcase an extraordinary artist.”


More information

The Award is being launched in response to a report, commissioned by the Foundation in 2015, which found that although female art and design graduates outnumber men, women are not adequately represented at, and beyond, a mid-career point. For example, the report found that of the artists selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale only 33% were women.

Elisabeth Murdoch said: “The Freelands Award has been conceived as a means of supporting regional arts organisations, as well as arts audiences and mid-career female artists. This reflects the wider approach of the Foundation to fund partnerships between artists, galleries, curators and education programmes. This will encourage these institutions and individuals to work together on an ongoing basis, creating ecosystems that live on in communities way beyond any initial activity.“

The total value of the Award is £100,000, of which £25,000 is to be paid directly to the artist chosen by the organisation. The Award is about pushing boundaries, and achieving projects, which an organisation would not be able to bring to fruition without this funding opportunity. The organisation’s engagement with the selected artist will support her to create ambitious new work and to receive increasing professional recognition.

The winner of the Award will be announced in autumn 2016.