The Golden Fleece Award is the largest prize open to both artists and makers in Ireland. Its mission, enacted in accordance with the wishes of its founder, Lillias Mitchell, informs how it is adjudicated and distributed.
The mission of the Golden Fleece Award is to provide resources for practising contemporary visual artists and makers to innovate and develop their artistic vision, in accordance with Lillias’ intentions as set out in her Letter of Wishes to her Trustees:
It has always been my wish that those with talent be encouraged to develop their talents, particularly in Ireland … I am very conscious of the fact that many artists cannot develop their talents because their art does not bring in a steady income for them and yet they need to support themselves financially … My wish is to give artists a ‘boost’ in times of particular need … I have set up this trust [for] artists in need who are interested in pursuing their careers as artists.
A call for applications is usually announced each August and remains open until November. For the 2022 Golden Fleece Award the window for applications will be slightly later, running from the end of November 2021 to the end of February 2022, with the Award made in May/June 2022.
Applications received are assessed by a specialist Advisory Panel and the Golden Fleece Board of Trustees which, according to Lillias’ wishes, includes members of the Mitchell family, professional fund managers and arts experts. From these a shortlist is selected and will be announced in March/April 2022, with the Award ceremony following in May/June 2022.
The Golden Fleece Award normally consists of one or more major Awards, to which may be added smaller Merit or Special Awards. The prize fund fluctuates from year to year but generally amounts to at least €20,000 overall. How the fund is divided among recipients and distributed in any given year is at the Trustees’ discretion. In recent years, Awards of €12,000, €10,000, €5,000, €4,000 and €3,000 have been made.
In celebration of the Golden Fleece’s twentieth anniversary and in recognition of the exceptionally difficult circumstances facing creative practitioners during COVID-19, the Trustees of the Golden Fleece Award decided to increase the prize fund for the 2021 Award to €60,000. This was distributed through six awards of €10,000.
Like all juried awards and open competition prizes, the Golden Fleece Award maintains various established rules of entry. If you are interested in applying for the Golden Fleece Award, finding out about the eligibility criteria for applicants or how the applications are assessed, please read our guidelines below.
- The Golden Fleece Award is open to craft and visual artists living and working on the island of Ireland as well as Irish-born artists working overseas.
- The Award is open to practising craft and visual artists at any career stage who can demonstrate existing artistic merit and expertise in their chosen field, plus the vision/plans to advance their work to a new level.
- Applications will not normally be considered from students undertaking full-time study, and the Award cannot be used to support fees for postgraduate/higher education or study.
- The Award is intended for artists working in all forms of visual, craft and applied art. Makers using new technologies to support creative processes and hands-on making are welcome to apply.
- Winners of the main Golden Fleece Award are not eligible to reapply, but winners of Commendation, Merit or Special Awards, and all other previous entrants, are welcome to do so.
- Applicants must demonstrate existing artistic merit and expertise in their chosen field, evidenced through submission of a set of images of work produced during the past 2 years (6 images are required), and illustrating their current artistic activity. Video/audio works may also be uploaded in support of a submission. (Any outsourced elements of this work should be identified in the accompanying descriptions).
- Applicants must demonstrate their vision/plans to advance their work to a new level and/or in a new direction of creativity and craftsmanship through a short written statement (max 300 words).
- Applicants must demonstrate a specific financial need and show how the Award would assist them to advance their work over a limited period of time (1-2 years). A budget breakdown must be supplied.
Rules of Entry
- Applications must be made online through the Golden Fleece Award application system.
- Images submitted as part of the application process should be in JPEG format and each individual image should not exceed 5 MB in size. Video clips not exceeding 20 MB in size may be submitted in MP4, MPG, AVI, FLV or WMV formats. Sound files not exceeding 20 MB in MP3, WAV, WMA and FLAC formats are also acceptable.
- By applying for the Golden Fleece Award you consent, if you are shortlisted, to the Trustees of the Award using your name and the images and text you have submitted in the promotion (and not for any other purpose) of the Award on the Golden Fleece website, social media, in print and online articles, or in other promotional material
- Current members of the Award’s Advisory Panel should NOT be used as referees by applicants.
- There is no application fee for the Award.
- The Trustees’ decision will be final.
- Tá fáilte riomh iarrataisí as Gaeilge.
The Golden Fleece Award normally consists of one or more major Awards, to which may be added smaller Merit / Commendation / Special Awards and the size of the award fund is usually in the region of €20,000. How the fund is divided among recipients and distributed in any given year is at the Trustees’ discretion. In recent years, Awards of €12,000, €10,000, €5,000, €4,000 and €3,000 have been made.
The call for applications for the Golden Fleece Award 2021 is now closed. Entries for the 2022 Award will open on the last Friday in November 2021.
Deadline: 25 February, 2022