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Press release

Judges announced for Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries


The judges for The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries 2008 are announced today.  Broadcaster Sue MacGregor CBE will chair a panel of some of the leading figures in arts, culture, academia and the media.  Together they will select the best museums and galleries to compete for the UK’s largest single arts prize.

The judges joining the Chair, Sue MacGregor, will be:

  • Keith Khan, Head of Culture for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
  • Diane Lees, Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood
  • Christopher Lloyd CVO, former Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures
  • Dr Mark Miodownik, Head of Materials Research Group, King’s College London
  • Maggie Semple OBE, Chief Executive of The Experience Corps Ltd
  • Emma Soames, Editor of Saga Magazine

The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries (formerly The Gulbenkian Prize) is intended to recognise and stimulate originality and excellence in museums and galleries and increase public appreciation and enjoyment of all they have to offer. The coveted annual award of £100,000 is open to all accredited museums and galleries in the UK. This is the first year that The Art Fund – the UK’s leading independent art charity - has sponsored this major arts prize.

The closing date for entries for the 2007 prize is Friday 2 November 2007. The long list of ten will be announced on 1 February 2008, followed by the announcement of the short list of four in April 2007. The winner will be announced during Museums and Galleries Month on 22 May 2008 at an awards ceremony at the Royal Institution of British Architects, London. In addition to a cheque for £100,000, the winning museum or gallery holds for one year the Prize bowl in enamelled silver, commissioned from the artist Vladimir Böhm.

  • Sue MacGregor CBE, Chair
    Sue MacGregor is an eminent broadcaster.  For 15 years she presented Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 before moving to The Today Programme.  She was their longest serving presenter until she left in 2002.  She continues to work for Radio 4, presenting among other programmes A Good Read and The Reunion, which won a Sony Gold award in 2007.  She was awarded the CBE for services to broadcasting in 2002.
  • Keith Khan
    Keith Khan is Head of Culture for the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. He is also an artist, co-founder of motiroti and winner of a New York OBIE.  He was part of the creative team that produced the Millennium Dome’s opening ceremony before going on to be Director of Design Ceremonies at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.  He was Artistic Director for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commonwealth celebrations and Chief Executive of Rich Mix, a publicly funded, international cultural and heritage centre which opened in London’s East End in 2006.
  • Diane Lees
    Diane Lees is the Director of the V&A Museum of Childhood. Beginning as an historic buildings researcher and moving into exhibitions, education and interpretation, she has worked on some of the most exciting projects in the country, including the rescue and relocation of a hat block manufacturer’s workshop in central Manchester and the recovery and display of the Mary Rose ship in Portsmouth Harbour.  She is a trustee of the Story Museum in Oxford, a trustee of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust and Vice Chair of the Association of Independent Museums.
  • Christopher Lloyd CVO
    Art historian Christopher Lloyd was the Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures from 1988 to 2005. His many publications include monographs on painters, collection and exhibition catalogues and reviews. He has also organised and curated several national and international exhibitions and lectured frequently in Britain and the USA.  He is President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, a Trustee of the Art Fund, a Governor of Gainsborough's House, and a Trustee of the Living Paintings Trust.
  • Dr Mark Miodownik
    Dr Mark Miodownik is head of the Materials Research Group at King's College London. In 2003 he was awarded a NESTA fellowship to create a Materials Library as interaction space for designers, architects and artists to collaborate with materials scientists. In 2004 he co-presented Chain Reaction for BBC TWO, and he regularly organises seminars and events at the Tate Modern on the influence of new materials on the arts. He is a member of the Cheltenham Science Festival Advisory Group.
  • Maggie Semple OBE
    Maggie Semple is Chief Executive Officer and a Director of The Experience Corps.  She was previously Director of the Learning Experience at the New Millennium Experience Company, Director of Education and Training at Arts Council England, a teacher, school inspector and a deputy head teacher.  She serves on a number of boards including the British Library, National Museum of Science & Industry (NMSI), Sadlers Wells Theatre Trust and Arts Educational Schools Trust. She is Chair of the National Research & Development Centre at the Institute of Education (London)and Chair of National Youth Music Theatre.  In 2001 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from De Montfort University and an OBE for her services to education.
  • Emma Soames
    Emma Soames is Editor of Saga Magazine, which she joined in March, 2002, and Editorial Director of Saga Publishing.  She was formerly Editor of the Saturday Telegraph Magazine for seven years and before that Editor of ES Magazine, the Evening Standard, Tatler and the Literary Review.  She has won a number of awards including BSME Editor of the Year (Colour Magazines) in 1995 and 1997, and BSME Editor of the Year (General Interest and Current Affairs magazines) in 2003 and 2004.

More information on The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries can be found at

Notes to editors:

  • The Art Fund Prize for museums and galleries is administered by the Museum Prize, a charitable company created in 2002 by The Art Fund, the Campaign for Museums, the Museums Association and National Heritage. Its trustees are Penelope, Viscountess Cobham (Chair), James Bishop (National Heritage), Ylva French (Campaign for Museums), Mark Taylor (Museums Association), James Naughtie and Eleanor Updale.
  • The Museum Prize is registered as a company in England and Wales No. 421870 and a charity No. 1093174. Registered Office: 24 Calvin Street, London E1 6NW.
  • The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections and campaigns widely on behalf of museums and their visitors. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members
  • Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. In 2006 it offered over £5 million to museums and galleries
  • In January 2007 The Art Fund successfully led the public appeal to save JMW Turner’s Blue Rigi for Tate. In April 2007 The Art Fund launched a new £5 million scheme – ‘Art Fund International’ – aimed at developing the collections of international contemporary art in UK regional museums and galleries. In July 2007 The Art Fund was instrumental in putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire was secured for the nation
  • Independent of government, The Art Fund is uniquely placed to campaign on behalf of public collections across the UK. It was at the forefront of the campaign for free admission in 2001 and the campaign to save the Macclesfield Psalter in 2005
  • Visit the charity’s website at