To encourage emerging scholars that are based in the UK, ARTES, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain, awards an annual essay medal to the author of the best art-historical essay or study on a Spanish theme, which must be submitted in competition and judged by a reading Sub-Committee. The medal is named after Juan Facundo Riaño (1829-1901), the distinguished art historian who was partly responsible for a growing interest in Spanish culture in late nineteenth-century Britain. The winner is also awarded a cash prize of £400, and the runner-up is awarded a certificate and prize of £100 – both prizes are generously sponsored by the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain. Prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES, and the winning essays are considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. See the information about eligibility and rules of competition. The deadline is 31st January 2023.
Entering the Essay Competition
The judges will be looking for evidence of originality of thought and high academic quality. Submissions must focus on the production or reception of the art, architecture or visual culture of Spain. Alternative contributions in the form of photo or video essays will also be considered, provided that they demonstrate originality, high academic quality and high production standards.
As a permanent reminder of the winner’s achievement, an essay medal is awarded, together with a cash prize of £400. The winning essay will be considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. The runner-up receives a prize of £100, and an essay so commended may also be considered for publication in Hispanic Research Journal. Both prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES.
Essays are submitted by 31 January each year, and are read by the Essay Medal Committee, appointed by ARTES. The decision of the Committee shall be final. Presentation of the medal is usually made at a special ceremony in London in Summer of the same year, and the result is announced on the ARTES website.
2022: Patricia Manzano Rodríguez, a PhD candidate at the University of Durham, for ‘The Upper half of Las Meninas’.
2021: Diana Bularca, formerly a MA student at the Courtauld, for ‘Wilfredo Lam’s Strategic Language’
2020: Dr Simon Park, an early career scholar at the University of Oxford, for ‘Chasing Wild Men (in Silver)’.
2019: No award
2018: Javier Vicente Arenas, a Masters student at the Warburg Institute, for ‘Constructing a “Transmediterranean” Identity: Rodrigo de Borgia’s Italian Angels in Valencia Cathedral (1472-81)’.
2017: David Cambronero, a MA student at The Courtauld, for ‘Lighting the Great Mosque of Cordoba in the Caliphal Period’.
2016: Leah McBride, a PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘‘The grave is only half full; who will help us fill it?’: The Politics of Trauma in Alfredo Jaar’s Rwanda Project‘.
2015: Rebekah Lee, a PhD student at the University of York, for ‘Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal and the Courtly Portrayal of Middle Age’.
2014: Lesley Thornton-Cronin, a first year PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘Image-Making by Means of Metaphoric Transposition in the Work of Joan Miró’.
2013: Maite Usoz, a third year PhD student at King’s College, London, for ‘Sex and the City: Urban Eroticism in Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester’s Manuel Series’.
Regulations for the Essay Medal
1. Entrants should ideally be resident or studying in the UK, but exceptions may be made if entrants can demonstrate sustained engagement with students, scholars, objects or materials in the UK.
2. There is no age limit for entrants, but the Essay Medal Committee reserves the right to give preference to entrants who have not previously published in the field of Hispanic visual arts. We welcome submissions from researchers in a variety of circumstances, but envisage that most essays will be submitted from early career scholars, post-graduate students or undergraduates with exceptionally good end-of-degree dissertations. Details of degrees or qualifications, as well as previous publications, must be submitted together with the submission (ie in the cover email, but not in the main text.
3. Visual arts are defined in their broadest sense to include all material and visual culture, including film and photography, but our collaboration with the Spanish Embassy means that essays must focus on the visual culture of Spain (or works originally produced in Spain or by Spanish artists).
4. The essay must not have been previously published and must not have been awarded any national or international prize. A note of any departmental prizes awarded to it should accompany the email by which the submission is sent.
5. Essays may be up to 10,000 words in length, including bibliography (though this is not not necessary if full footnotes are given), all notes and appendices. Shorter submissions will not be penalised on grounds of length, but overlength essays will be refused. A word count and a summary of up to 250 words (additional to the work total) must be included. Submissions in the form of photo essays or videos (up to 25 minutes in length) will also be considered.
6. The submission should demonstrate original thinking. It may be based on a dissertation, and may involve original research, although submissions based on a survey of secondary material will also be considered if they are of suitable quality. However, the submission should be self-contained and especially prepared for this competition.
7. Entries must be written in English and double-spaced. Diagrams or illustrations should be included and captioned. Sources of information and images must be acknowledged, together with information about image rights.
8. The winning essay may be considered for publication in the visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal, subject to the usual process of refereeing, and to acceptance by the Editors, whose decision on this is final. In the event of the essay being accepted for publication, some reworking may be required. Essays may not be offered for publication elsewhere while they are sub judice.
9. In the case of any dispute about the award, the decision of the ARTES Essay Medal Committee shall be final.
10. ARTES reserves the right to make no award if none of the entries is considered worthy.
11. The closing date for entries is 31st January each year. Essays received after this date will not be considered.
12. A PDF of the essay, including images, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org To ensure anonymity please do not put your name on the essay.
13. Any queries should be directed to email@example.com