The Prize

The Greater Manchester Contemporary Arts Prize

The prize originated as a concept by Chamber staff who have academic and practical experience within the arts sector. Our ambition is to create a prize which has regional relevance, as well as national and international significance.

In providing this prize, we hope to help support and retain artists within Greater Manchester. As the UK’s largest Chamber of Commerce, the prize will connect artists with businesses, encouraging creative partnerships.

By presenting this prize at our Annual Dinner, which has been running for over 50 years and attended by over 800 representatives from the business community, we want to provide maximum exposure for the artists.

We want to build a legacy, a prize which contemporary artists can be proud to say they have won.


1 Overall Winner to be awarded:

£1500 Cash Prize

Supported by Fred Aldous with £150 of vouchers and paper products from G.F.Smith.

A Greater Manchester Contemporary Artist Prize 2018 Award

Winner’s artwork displayed in our Exhibition at the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery

3 Runners Up to be awarded:

£750 cash prize each

Supported by Fred Aldous with £50 of vouchers and paper products from G.F.Smith.

A Greater Manchester Contemporary Artist Prize 2018 Award

Winner’s artwork displayed in our Exhibition at the Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery

About the Supporters

Fred Aldous’ story began in Manchester in 1886 with a man called Fred. Fred had been working in a cotton mill, like many people in the city at the time, when he noticed that the cotton was being trundled around in baskets. This gave him the idea for a business, to start importing the cane for the baskets from abroad. Fred Aldous Ltd was born out of that idea.

Based in the Northern Quarter, Manchester, Fred Aldous support people who have the urge to pick up a pencil, brush or needle and want to create. That’s why they are constantly developing fresh ideas and coming up with new schemes and that’s why Fred Aldous can provide the right tool or material for whatever project you might be working on.


In 1885 George founded G . F Smith & Son as a paper merchant. It was his vision and ambition that steered the company through challenging times; his belief in the business saw him expand its horizons. These ambitions include the continued development and global expansion of business adding new chapters to what already stands as a great British success story.

With a distinct identity and a concerted marketing and sales push, the company is seeing growth in exports to new markets including Australia, China, Germany and America. G . F Smith offers paper products, special makes and highly bespoke services tailored specifically to the needs of the creative industries. The specialist team works to a level of craft and customisation and degrees of flexibility that are almost impossible to replicate.


About the Pop Up Exhibition

Shortlisted artists, the runners up and the overall winner will be invited to display their artwork in ‘The Greater Manchester Contemporary Arts Prize Exhibition 2018.’ The exhibition will run from Saturday 12th May to Friday 8th June 2018, supported by a high profile opening, with attendees from the Greater Manchester business and arts community.

The exhibition will be supported by a handout, detailing the artist’s work, along with an opportunity for artists to sell/promote their work.

Judging Panel

The Greater Manchester Contemporary Arts Prize 2018 will be awarded to semi-professional or professional contemporary artists.

Entries will be judged on a range of criteria and not necessarily on the tastes of individual judges. Our main aim is to find contemporary artists who show significant ability, captivating subject matter and emotive messaging

Our Judging Panel reflects an array of knowledge and specialisms, so as a collective will effectively identify the best entries. Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s aim in running the prize is to to find and build the careers of contemporary artists, encouraging commerce and business connectivity through the sale of artist’s work.

Alistair Hudson

Director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries

Alistair Hudson became Director of the Whitworth and Manchester Art Galleries in February 2018, previous to that he was the Director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima); his vision for mima was based on the concept of the Useful Museum, as an institution dedicated to the promotion of art as a tool for education and social change.

For the preceding ten years Alistair was Deputy Director of Grizedale Arts in Coniston in the Lake District, which gained critical acclaim for its radical approaches to working with artists and communities, based on the idea that art should be useful and not just an object of contemplation.

 Key projects in this time include Romantic Detachment, PS1/MoMA, New York; Happystacking, China, Instituto Mechanicos, Sao Paulo Bienal, the development of the Coniston Mechanics Institute, Cumbria and Confessions of the Imperfect: 1848 – 1989 – Now at the Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven.

Alistair was educated at Goldsmiths’ College 1988 – 1991 and has previously worked at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery London (1994-2000) and The Government Art Collection (2000-04) where, as Projects Curator, he devised a public art strategy for the new Home Office building with Liam Gillick and a series of commissions in diplomatic buildings around the world.

In 2015 he was a juror for the Turner Prize and instrumental in promoting Assemble for their work on the Granby Four Streets project in Toxteth, Liverpool.

Alistair is Co-director of the Asociación de Arte Útil with Tania Bruguera – an expansive international project and online archive that forms part of the Uses of Art programmes with the L’internationale confederation.

Helen Wewiora

Director of Castlefield Gallery

Helen Wewiora is Director of Castlefield Gallery. Founded in 1984, registered charity Castlefield Gallery | Agency is one of the longest established, and most active and successful organisations developing emerging contemporary artists and practice in the UK. The Gallery has a regional and national network of programme partnerships designed to aid career progression and talent development for the artists it engages from across Greater Manchester and the region, including its CG Associates – a professional development membership scheme.

Castlefield Gallery’s ambitious public exhibitions programme is housed in its permanent city centre gallery space. The curated programme responds to national and international trends and often societal concerns, promoting artists at pivotal moments in their careers.

Helen recently moved to Castlefield Gallery from Arts Council England where she was a Relationship Manager for Visual Arts. Whilst with the Arts Council she has led on strategic programmes with partners including the Forestry Commission, the National Trust, and with Local Authorities and Higher Education, holding portfolios of organisations including Grizedale Arts, Liverpool Biennial, the Whitworth, a-n, New Contemporaries, Bluecoat and many more. In recent time her role had focused on support for individual artists in the North West and nationally, including on matters of ‘fair pay’, practice and career development, the studio and production ecology.

Previously Helen has worked for Tate Education (London); Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (FACT) (Liverpool); and Cornerhouse (now HOME) (Manchester). In 2013 Helen and Elizabeth Wewiora established a curatorial and producing agency, wewioraprojects.

Helen Davies

Visual Artist and Designer. Resident and practicing in Greater Manchester.

Helen Davies is a visual artist living in Greater Manchester and working on commissions both locally and internationally. Working in graphite and pencil, she creates realistic and highly detailed drawings predominantly of the human body. These works depict the intimate beauty and quietness of her subjects and by including a touch of gold leaf they bring a conversation about censorship. There’s no desire to replicate photography, but to use her techniques and interest in pencil to instil a sense of empathy and connection with each work.

After receiving her Bachelor of Arts from Liverpool John Moores University, she was awarded the Greater Manchester Arts Prize in 2017 for her graphite and gold leaf portrait entitled ‘Delicate Details’. A sister piece to the work entitled ‘Lucent’ was exhibited later in the year at the Warrington Arts Festival. Now early in her career, her first full collection of intricate body drawings will be released mid 2018.

Louise Durose

General & Legal Counsel at MAN Diesel & Turbo UK Ltd, Collector of Northern Art

Louise Durose is General Counsel International Diesel for MAN Diesel & Turbo which has its global headquarters in Augsburg, Germany. Louise is based at the UK headquarters in Stockport. The MAN Diesel & Turbo Group designs and manufactures large diesel engines and turbo machinery.

Louise is responsible for legal services to the aftersales business worldwide which has annual revenue of €1 billion+ and operates in over 50 countries. Louise is a passionate advocator of the arts and maintains a personal collection of Northern Art.

The Timetable

Competition stages are below:

  • Entries Submitted: Artists will submit entries via the online entry form. Deadline for entries is: 12 noon Monday 23rdApril 2018
  • Shortlisted Artworks: will be announced Wednesday 25th April 2018 along with a ‘save the date’ for the Annual Dinner on the 17th May 2018, following which the shortlisted artists will be invited to send the original artworks to Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce for inclusion in the 2018 Exhibition
  • Winners: will be announced on Friday 11th May 2018, during a VIP event and exhibition launch at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, following which the winners will be invited to attend Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner on Thursday 17th May 2018, to collect their prize

Key dates are below:

  • Week commencing 19th March 2018: Competition open for entries via the online entry form
  • Monday 23rd April 2018 12noon: Closing Date for Entries
  • Wednesday 25th April 2018: Shortlist will be announced
  • Monday 30th April 2018 to Friday 4th May 2018: Shortlisted pieces to be delivered to Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Elliot House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3WD
  • Friday 11th May 2018: VIP exhibition launch, winners to be announced and winners invited to the annual dinner
  • Thursday 17th May 2018: Prizes awarded at the annual dinner
  • Friday 8th June 2018: Exhibition closes
  • Monday 11th June 2018 to Friday 15th June 2018: Shortlisted artists will be invited to collect their original artworks from Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Criteria for Artworks & Artists

  • Artists must be semi-professional or professional in their craft.  Narrative of semi-professional/professional status will be expected to be included in the entrant’s application (whether in the form of a CV or in the Artist description or both).
  • Entries from third parties or individuals representing an Artist will not be accepted. Only direct entries from Artists themselves will be counted as valid submissions.
  • Artwork size must be less than 150cm x 150cm x 10cm (including frame) for artworks to be hung on the wall, and less than 100cm x 100cm x 100cm for sculptures. If you are unsure, please contact us: [email protected]
  • Once you have completed the online entry form, you will be sent to the payment page to pay the entry fee.
  • Entry Fee is £10 for first artwork, then £5 per additional artwork.
  • Further details are in the Terms and Conditions on the entry page.