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The Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize seeks to discover talented young writers on contemporary art, with the winner receiving £1,000 and the opportunity to publish a review of a contemporary art exhibition in The Burlington Magazine.

Since its founding in 1903, The Burlington Magazine has always considered the art of the present to be as worthy of study as the art of the past. The Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize advances our commitment to the study of contemporary art by encouraging aspiring young writers to critically engage with its forms and concepts. The Prize promotes clear, concise and well-structured writing that is able to navigate sophisticated ideas without recourse to over-complex language.

2017 Prize

Julia Peyton-Jones   Martin Caiger-Smith

The judges of the 2017 Burlington Contemporary Art Writing Prize are Julia Peyton-Jones and Martin Caiger-Smith, assisted by Jonathan Vernon and Martha Barratt of The Burlington Magazine.

Julia Peyton-Jones is the former Director of the Serpentine Galleries, London (1991–2016). During her twenty-five year tenure she managed their transformation into an internationally recognised venue for contemporary art. In 2000 she pioneered the Galleries’ annual Pavilion commission, which became an international barometer for experiment in architecture. Peyton-Jones also oversaw the Galleries’ major renovation in 1998 and expansion with the opening of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in 2013. Having been trained as a painter at the Royal College of Art (1975–78), Peyton-Jones worked as an artist for ten years before joining London’s Hayward Gallery as a curator (1988–91). She was awarded an OBE in 2003 and a DBE in 2016.

Martin Caiger-Smith has been Head of the MA Programme Curating the Art Museum at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, since 2007. Prior to this he served as Curator (1991–96), Head of Exhibitions (1996–2005) and Acting Director (2005/06) at the Hayward Gallery, London. The many exhibitions he curated and organised there include The Epic and the Everyday: Contemporary Photographic Art (1994) and major retrospectives devoted to Anish Kapoor (1998), Roy Lichtenstein (2004) and Dan Flavin (2006). He continues to curate exhibitions, advise on curatorial programmes and write on contemporary art, photography and exhibitions for a range of publications. He is currently working on a monograph on Antony Gormley, to be published by Rizzoli, New York.

Each contender will be offered a digital subscription to the Magazine at a specially reduced price, providing unlimited access to the Magazine’s archive as well as all the latest articles and reviews.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 27th February 2017

The winner of the Prize will be announced in May 2017

For more information please contact Lisa Stein at editorial@burlington.org.uk

Submission Requirements

Contenders – who must be no older than 35 years of age and have published no more than 6 exhibition reviews – should submit one unpublished review of a contemporary art exhibition, no more than 1000 words in length with up to three low-resolution images. ‘Contemporary’ is defined as art produced since 2000. The submitted review must be written in English (although the art considered may be international) and emailed as a Word document, clearly stating the name, age, country of residence and occupation of the writer, to editorial@burlington.org.uk.

Additional Material

In order to help contenders we have provided three reviews of contemporary art exhibitions to serve as examples. PDFs can be downloaded from the links below.
1. Marlene Dumas, by James Cahill (May 2015)
2. Venice Biennale, by Martha Barratt (September 2015)
3. Electronic Superhighway, by Julian Stallabrass (April 2016)

Past Winners and Judges


The inaugural Prize was judged by current Director of the National Portrait Gallery, Nicholas Cullinan, and Anna Lovatt, currently the Marguerite Hoffman Scholar in Residence at the SMU Meadows School of Art, Dallas, and a former lecturer at the University of Nottingham and the University of Manchester. The winner was Isabella Maidment, who chose to write about an exhibition of work by Lygia Pape at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Isabella has since reviewed several exhibitions for the Magazine, received her doctorate from University College London and became Assistant Curator of Performance at Tate in 2016. Read Isabella’s review of the 2012 Liverpool Biennial.


Judged by the artist Dexter Dalwood and Daniel F. Herrmann, Eisler Curator & Head of Curatorial Studies at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, the 2013 Prize was awarded to Jenna Krumminga for her review of photographs by Larry Clark at C/O Berlin. Jenna reviewed an exhibition on photography and the American Civil War at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, for the Magazine’s August 2013 issue. 


After a year’s hiatus, the 2015 Prize was judged by the Director of the Contemporary Art Society, Caroline Douglas, and arts writer Michael Bracewell. The winner was Helena Anderson, who wrote about an Olga Chernysheva show at Pace Gallery, London. Helena is the Gallery Manager at Deborah Gage (Works of Art) Ltd. and published a review of the Imperial War Museum’s Lee Miller retrospective in the April 2016 issue of the Magazine.


The 2016 Prize garnered the largest number of entries received to date, with over 130 submitted from dozens of countries across several continents. The overall standard of the entries was described as ‘very impressive’ by the judges, Alex Farquharson, the Director of Tate Britain, and Lynne Cooke, Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. The winner was Luke Naessens, an Exhibitions Assistant at Barbican Art Gallery. Luke chose to write about Sculpture 4tet, an exhibition of sculptures by Luciano Fabro, Jean-Luc Moulène, Bruce Nauman and Danh Võ held at Marian Goodman Gallery, London.