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The Porthleven Prize – Bath Spa University

The Porthleven Prize – sponsored by The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust

Brief description

The Porthleven Prize at Bath Spa University is now in its 10th year, and historically has offered up to 15 students across all year groups and disciplines the opportunity to work together to create an exhibition. The interdisciplinary nature of the prize has enabled unique collaborations and insight into the work and practices of our creative community, and this year we’re expanding.

The Porthleven Prize now offers 20 students from Bath Spa University and Falmouth University the rare opportunity to work collaboratively and learn from each other, and to produce work for a touring exhibition of creative work. Students from all courses are welcome to apply.

Twenty students will be selected to partake in a five-day residency, where they’ll participate in workshops with leading academics from both Universities. Ten successful students (5 from each university) will then be selected for a further fully-funded, twelve-day residency at the Porthleven Lifeboat Art Studio.

Number of awards available: 10 Bath Spa University students and 10 Falmouth University students


Open call. Students from any year group and any course from across both the Universities are invited to apply.

More information

Selected students will benefit from a fully-funded residency that will actively encourage 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, Falmouth University and the South West Coast of England, facilitating a close working relationship between both universities 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 in Cornwall. 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.

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 spoken word.

Important dates

  • First residency - Monday 13 March - Friday 17 March 2023
  • Panel presentations - w/c 27 March 2023
  • Second residency - Friday 5 May - Friday 19 May 2023

How to apply

Bath Spa University students - please apply by submitting the following information by email to Poppy Clover (

  • Letter of application (500 words max) - 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

  • 9.00 am (GMT), Monday 13 February 2023

How applications are judged

Each university will select 10 students from the applications received to participate in a five-day residency, consisting of workshops from leading academics. Selected students will be from a range of year groups and disciplines. The aim of the first residency is for students to get to know both the place and each other and to develop ideas about how they would use the full residency to advance their practice and develop work for the exhibition in collaboration with other prize winners.

Two weeks after the first residency all students will present their proposals to a panel of judges. The judges will include Mr Trevor Osborne, a representative from each of the Universities, and two external judges. Students will give a 7 minute presentation and have 3 minutes to respond to any questions posed. The presentations will take place at a location between the two universities. The panel will then decide which 10 students (5 from each university) will go on to “win” the Porthleven Prize of the fully-funded residency and subsequent touring exhibition.

Successful applicants will then participate in a twelve-day, fully-funded residency based in Porthleven. 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.

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