The Mac
GB. Northern Ireland. Belfast. MAC Gallery. 2015.

The winning arts organisation will receive £100,000

Today sees the announcement of the six regional arts organisations across the UK which have been shortlisted for the annual £100,000 Freelands Award and includes The MAC in Belfast. The Award was established in 2016 by Freelands Foundation Chair and Founder, Elisabeth Murdoch and aims to raise the profile of mid- career female artists and to support the work of visual arts organisations outside London.

The third year nominations are:

  • Balctic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead
  • Dundee Contemporary, Dundee
  • Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge
  • Metropolitan Arts Centre, The MAC, Belfast
  • Spike Island, Bristol
  • Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield

The winning organisation and selected mid-career female artist will be announced in Autumn 2018. The selected panel for the 2018 award winner is: Elisabeth Murdoch (Chair); Martin Clark, Director, Camden Arts Centre; Susan Hiller, Artist; Jenni Lomax, Outgoing Director for Camden Arts Centre; and Beatrix Ruf, Curator and former Director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

The total value of the Award is £100,000 of which £25,000 is to be paid directly by the winning organisation to the artist they select to work with. The Award is about pushing boundaries and realising projects which an organisation could not bring to fruition without this funding opportunity. The organisation’s engagement with the selected artist will support her to create ambitious new work and to receive increasing professional recognition.

The Award’s priorities are to support projects that will enable artists to fulfil their creative aspirations, produce exceptional work, and in turn support the regional arts organisation that will exhibit this work and bring it to public attention.

Alongside the Freelands Awards shortlist announcement, the Foundation commissions an independent annual research report investigating the representation of female artists in Britain. This year’s research was carried out by Marijke Steedman and reveals that while female students enrolled in creative art and design courses continue to outnumber men, men outnumber women in the majority of activities that signify the development of an artist’s career, such as having a solo exhibition at a national gallery in London or having commercial gallery representation. In 2017 just 22% of solo shows presented by major London non commercial galleries were by women artists and this figure has reduced since 2016.

“It is clear that women are striving to achieve the usual indicators of success by entering art competitions, applying for funding and embarking on post graduate education.

“However this report reveals inequality in the commercial sector. 28% of artists represented by London’s major commercial galleries in 2017 were women, a fall since 2016. Only 3% of auction lots in the top ten highest grossing sales of each of the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sales in 2017 were by women artists. These grim statistics indicate that women continue to be excluded from the mainstream commercial art market despite their best efforts to participate.” Marijke Steedman

Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator, the MAC said:

“We are very honoured to have been shortlisted for the Freelands Award and to be included in such great company alongside institutions whose programming we have long admired.  The MAC since its inception has demonstrated a strong commitment to advancing the position of women artists at all stages of their careers. If successful, this award would enable us to work collaboratively with a mid-career female artist to create a career defining exhibition of genuine scope and ambition. This is a truly exciting opportunity and a wonderful endorsement of the work we continue to do at the MAC.’’

The MAC was previously shortlisted for the prestigious ‘Museum of the Year’ award in 2015. Since opening in 2012 the MAC has hosted high profile exhibitions by Gilbert & George, David Hockney and Andy Warhol.


Love Belfast
Belfast guide to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concerts, events, hotels, entertainment, special offers, news, gossip, travel, festivals and culture.

Related Articles

Lyric Theatre – a note from executive producer Jimmy Fay on Christmas 2020

Enjoy amazing theatre online while we're closed We are now entering the seventh month of the Covid19 epidemic. It has affected every facet of our lives...

Cahoots NI Brings The Magic Of Theatre Into Your Home With The University Of Wonder & Imagination

Northern Ireland-based children’s theatre company Cahoots NI has launched an immersive digital theatre experience with the aim of bringing the magic and joy of...

Culture Night Online 2020 Launches Packed Core Programme

Culture Night’s 2020 core programme has been unveiled with a packed line-up of music, debates, art and thought-provoking films that will all happen online...

Leave a Reply

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles

6 Purifying Ways to Detox Your Body and Soul

Daily chores, work, and other external stresses all factor in impacting our mental and physical health. It can be hard to maintain our wellness...


Boost Drinks launches biggest ever campaign that honours local go-getters! LEADING functional drinks company Boost has launched a new initiative aimed at inspiring and enabling...


With the countdown on and just three months until Christmas, the award winning Santa’s Grotto at Hillmount is now open for pre-booking online. A...

Voscuris launch Inclusion in Tech meetup

Voscuris has announced that it will be taking part in National Inclusion Week 2020 National Inclusion Week, running from September 28th-October 4th 2020, was created...


Hennessy partners with the North to bring a splash of colour to Belfast’s streets  Street art festival, Hit the North brought a welcome splash of...