Prizes in art history
BA Curatorial Studies
Our new BA Curatorial Studies degree provides you with the expert knowledge and practical skills for pursuing
careers in curating, gallery management and museums and combines class-based learning with hands-on experience.
We offer a variety of undergraduate prizes and bursaries for academic
performance, to support you while you study and to encourage research
and travel abroad related to art history. Our application deadlines for
each prize are normally in April/May each year.
The Art History Prize is awarded by the Board of Examiners to the
final year student with the best overall academic performance and takes
the form of a certificate and a cheque for £100.
The Bishop-McKinlay prize was established in memory of James Bishop
and Seamus McKinlay, and is awarded to a second-year student taking art
history either as a single-honours course or as a significant part of a
joint-degree course, and is intended to support travel and research
abroad related to art history.
The prize can cover air fares, internal travel, living costs and
health insurance for around four to six weeks, and is tenable in the
summer vacation between the second and third years of study. An
application of 1,000 words maximum should include an itinerary with
visits to specific art works, galleries, architecture, sites or archives
that either form the subject of your proposed third-year dissertation,
or are otherwise related to art history study.
The recipient is decided by a departmental committee and successful
applicants are expected to give a presentation on their travels to the
Bishop and McKinlay families, usually early in the summer term.
Applications should be submitted to our Deputy School Manager at
should include the name of a staff member willing to act as referee. A
committee made up of our Head of School and two members of art history
staff consider applications and may divide the prize money to make more
than one award.
Application deadline: Tuesday 2 May 2017
gave me the opportunity to travel to Paris to visit the
Gustave Moreau art gallery/museum and the Musée d’Orsay. I
had decided to look at the work of French Symbolist painters
from the nineteenth century and to be able to experience the
paintings first hand gave me a greater understanding of the
artwork and the period; to see the rooms where Moreau dined,
slept and worked made me feel closer to the artist. I look at the
world differently now, having studied at Essex, and I deeply
appreciate the generosity of the Bishop and McKinlay
families whose prize helped me gain my degree.”
“I applied for the prize to help me fund an internship at
the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice. The internship was an amazing
experience, as I both studied modern art and learnt the practical day-to-day
operations of a museum. I now work at Christie’s as a Director of Private
Sales in Jewellery head-quartered in London. I work and engage with Top
Level clients across Asia and Europe to secure and sell important jewels for
Private Sale. The prize gave me a chance to experience the art world outside
of school and I believe it propelled me forward toward a future where I am
--Mei Y Giam
“I used the prize money to travel around all the major churches and
cathedrals in England researching contemporary Christian art in sacred
locations. The research enabled me to write my dissertation on tradition and
innovation in contemporary Christian art, which was later published, and
without the prize money funding my tour, it is unlikely that I would have
been able to achieve this. I felt that on top of my Essex education, winning
the Bishop McKinlay Prize helped me stand out among many other Art History
graduates and I include it on my C.V. to this day. I believe that winning
this prize impacted my academic and professional career greatly.”
Tim Laughton travel fund
The Tim Laughton travel fund was established in memory of Dr Tim
Laughton, a lecturer in our School of Philosophy and Art History
specialising in mesoamerican art and architecture, who died in February
2009. Generous donations, especially from Dr Laughton’s family and the
artist Michael Aakhus, enable us to offer a bursary of approximately
£500 annually to the undergraduate or postgraduate art history student
who submits the best proposal for travel to Latin America for research
related to their BA, MA or PhD dissertation.
The prize is decided by a departmental committee and is normally
tenable during the summer vacation, and the winner is required to submit
a brief report on their travel and research to our Head of School.
An application of 1,000 words maximum should outline the proposed
research including a summary of travel plans and anticipated costs, as
well as the name of a referee with whom you have discussed your
proposal. Applications should be submitted to our Deputy School
Application deadline: Monday 22 May 2017
Roy Beston memorial prize
The Roy Beston memorial prize was established in 1995 by Maria
Beston, a former student in our School of Philosophy and Art History, in
memory of her husband. The prize is awarded to a second-year mature
student taking art history either as a single-honours subject or as a
significant part of a joint-degree course. The prize, of approximately
£400, aims to enrich the studies of a talented mature student by
contributing to the cost of books, travel or other degree related
The winner is chosen by the Board of Examiners at the end of the
Follow us on our Essex Art History Instagram page to see what our students get up to during their studies – including art handling and visits to galleries,
exhibitions and museums.
UG Open Days
Book a place at our undergraduate Open Day. Our department and admissions staff
can answer any questions you have, and you can speak to current students about life at Essex while taking a campus tour.