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Museums award judging panel announced, but Yorkshire not over-enthusiastic

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park Photo © Marc Atkins


By Lina Arshad

The Art Fund has announced the judges’ panel for the 2017 Museum of the Year award… but there seems to be a lack of appetite for applications from Yorkshire.

The panel was revealed on Monday 12 December at 12:45pm and includes leading sculptor Richard Deacon and radio DJ and television presenter Jo Whiley.

The Museum Prize Trust has been around since 2001, with the Art Fund sponsoring it since 2008.

Local Yorkshire museums have applied and been shortlisted or given finalist status seven times in the past 12 years, with Yorkshire Sculpture Park winning the award in 2014.

However, some of these previous finalists have expressed a lack of enthusiasm towards applying for the award again this year.

York Art Gallery was among one of the most recent nominations which reached finalist stage in 2016, and has since been announced as a nominee for European Museum of the Year 2017.

On not applying for the UK award this year, communications officer Lee Clark said: “The gallery had a big development in 2015, we spent eight million pounds on it and we thought that would be enough to make us win.

“I guess we are just waiting for the right opportunity to come – we have a good record of being finalised.”

And 2014 finalist Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield is also undecided about whether to apply for the 2017 award. PR and media manager Naomi Roberts said internal discussions are still continuing.

However, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park took a different approach when asked whether they would have applied again if the competition allowed museums to apply within 10 years of a win.

Senior marketing and PR officer Kerry Chase did suggest that had it been allowed, the Yorkshire Sculpture Park would possibly be interested in getting involved again.

A press release from Yorkshire Sculpture Park after their win said: “They [the judges] remarked upon the mix of sensory experiences, created by the harmonious integration of learning, landscape and sculpture brought to life with works by artists.”

When pressed for comment, Art Fund press officer Dennis Chang encouraged all museums to apply stating that every UK application is welcome and will be considered for the award.

The deadline for applications is 12pm on February 7 2017.

Application packs and all terms and conditions can be found here.

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