The Porthleven Prize

The Porthleven Prize – sponsored by The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust

Brief description

The Porthleven Prize offers 15 Bath Spa University students the rare opportunity to work collaboratively and produce work for a major exhibition. Students from any discipline are welcome to apply.

Students will be selected to partake in a five-day residency to participate in workshops with leading academics. Successful students will then be selected for a further fully-funded, fourteen-day residency at the Porthleven Lifeboat Art Studio.

Students from any discipline are welcome to apply. 

Number of awards available: 15


Open call. Students from across the University are invited to apply.

More information

Selected students will benefit from a fully funded residency that will actively encourage cross-disciplinary working to enable a fusion of creative thinking in the heart of the Porthleven community.

The Prize will empower the participants with the confidence to work across professions and in collaboration.

The Prize will be integrated into the academic programme enabling student involvement, where relevant, to be accredited toward their degree. The initiative will help foster the unique relationship between Bath Spa University and the South West Coast of England facilitating a close working relationship between Bath Spa University and the Trevor Osborne Property Group.

About Porthleven

Porthleven is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the South West coastal path. Loe Bar, to the East, is the largest natural freshwater lake which greets the ocean across a sand dune, its setting in a National Trust park attracts many migrating species of birds and fauna. Nearby Falmouth harbour governs international marine navigation and has been the starting point for many marine expeditions over the centuries. The coastline is famous for its treacherous seas and shipwrecks.

Theme: Provenance

Prize winners will be asked to respond to the theme "Provenance" - the place or source of origin. (1860–65; French, derivative of provenant, present participle of provenir; Latin prōvenīre to come forth; pro-, convene, -ant)

Art historians, archaeologists and conservators are constantly concerned with the questions of where, when and by whom an object or artwork was produced. Stylistic considerations combined with aesthetic evaluations and comprehensive archive studies can usually provide answers.

But while provenance offers us a language in which to converse with artwork, the sense of belonging or responding to one's location has been a major preoccupation of the artist throughout history. The artist is often perceived as the vehicle by which a place and moment is truly captured.

During the residency, prize winners can either work together as a group to produce a single piece of work or create individual works that are tied together by a common theme. The project may take the participants beyond their normal fields of expression, including links through the visual and performing arts, music, poetry and the spoken word.

How to apply

Please apply by submitting the following information by email to Poppy Clover (

  • Letter of application - explaining why you should be chosen and how the experience will benefit your personal practice
  • Digital portfolio of recent work (eight images, eight texts, four films or sound recordings)
  • Your Curriculum Vitae
  • Cover sheet with your name, student ID, course and year of study

Application deadline

Unfortunately due to COVID-19 we are not accepting applications for 2021.

How applications are judged

Students will be selected to participate in a five-day residency, consisting of workshops from leading academics.

The shortlisted students will be invited to present their proposals to a panel of judges.

Successful applicants will then participate in a fourteen-day, fully funded residency based in the Porthleven Lifeboat Art Studio.

Students will be encouraged to produce a body of collaborative work in any discipline, which may include performance, text, film and visual art. The judges are looking for dynamic and confident students who are able to adapt their practices to accommodate other perspectives.

Image credits: The main image on this page is 'Swell' by artist and Bath Spa graduate Holly Nicholls.

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