2015 FIRST@108: Public Art Award Finalists' Exhibition: Memory

30 September 2015


Venue: Royal British Society of Sculptors. 108 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 3RA 
Exhibition open: 8 October - 18 December 2015, Wednesday - Friday 12.30 – 5.30pm (or by appointment) 
Finalists’ talks: Wednesday 28 October 2015. 6.30 – 8.30pm. Talks begin at 7pm. 
Admission free 

This year, for the first time, the Royal British Society of Sculptors (RBS) is partnering with CW+ (the charity for the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital) to deliver its prestigious FIRST@108 Public Art Award in the flagship NHS Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. 

The First@108 Public Art Award, established by the RBS in 2009 has two main aims: to support the development of sculptors’ professional and creative practice helping them to gain a track record in the highly competitive field of public art, and to commission innovative new sculpture for the public realm. The previous four awards demonstrated that these aims were achievable, but we are now upping the stakes by demanding that the winning sculptor creates two new site specific works for the complex environment and architectural backdrop of a busy London hospital. 

Following an open call for submissions, five talented sculptors - Tabatha Andrews, Sadie Brockbank, Stathis Dimitriadis, Mark Doyle and Briony Marshall were selected to develop responses on the fascinating theme of Memory with the ambition of stimulating and engaging elderly people with dementia.

There is significant and mounting evidence to support the importance of the arts in health and recovery. Questions as to the appropriate form of art are the subject of intense debate and research and there are many ways in which well-chosen work could add to a positive experience of a hospital.

Research conducted by Dementia UK states that there is a steady increase in the numbers of people with dementia – currently affecting 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and this is predicted to rise steadily by 40% over the next 12 years unless action is taken. In a small way, this award may make a difference.

CW+, who exist to make care better for patients and their families, have identified two sites within the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital as the site/s for the 2015 Award. The first site, is Edgar Horne Ward, a mixed medical ward that offers specialised care for patients with dementia whilst also treating the injuries and illness that requires a hospital stay. Over the next few years, CW+ is carrying out a number of initiatives looking at how the patient experience and environment can impact positively on these patients. The second site is an interior garden, also yet to be transformed, which will provide visitors and elderly patients with a welcome change of scene from the ward - becoming a place they can sit and talk, be involved with gardening, read, or simply sit quietly and contemplate.

Trystan Hawkins, Arts Director at CW+ says: “We are delighted to be working with the Royal British Society of Sculptors to deliver this exiting award. We are looking forward to adding the winner’s two site-specific sculptures to our ever expanding art collection within the hospital, for patients, families and staff to enjoy.”

This exhibition will reveal the Finalists’ responses to this challenging brief and present their unique conceptual interpretations of an aspect of the mind which forms our identity and affects absolutely everyone.


For more information about the award please visit the RBS website or contact Julie Beech by emailing firstat108@rbs.org.uk

The RBS would like to acknowledge the partnership with CW+ and the generous support of the Mirisch & Lebenheim Charitable Foundation for making this award possible. 


Notes to editors

About the First@108 Public Art Award

Initiated in 2009, the First@108 Public Art Award offers sculptors the opportunity to extend their practice into competing for public art commissions. Finalists are taken through the complex public art commissioning process. The winner receives £10,000 towards the cost of producing two large scale sculpture/installations which will be installed in the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London for a one year period, mentoring from professionals within the industry, a catalogue, and a solo supporting exhibition of their work. 

Past winners of the First@108 Public Art Award have gone on to make their mark in the field. 

Sam Shendi, winner of the 2013 First@108 Award was invited to site his winning sculpture ‘Evolution’ in Lister Park, Bradford. Winner of the 2011 First@108 Award, Jenske Dijkhuis has exhibited his prize-winning sculpture ‘Horizon Pavilion’ at the National Theatre on the Southbank and on the Norfolk coast. Suresh Dutt’s ‘Drawing Cube Blue’, which won the 2010 First@108 competition, was purchased by Canary Wharf Group for its Public Art Collection in 2012. Robert Worley’s ‘Avatar’, which received the 2009 First@108 Award, is on permanent display in Westferry Circus, London. 

About the Royal British Society of Sculptors

Committed to the pursuit of excellence in the art form, we aim to inspire, inform and engage people with sculpture/three dimensional art. We offer opportunities to see and experience the extraordinary diversity of contemporary work and to learn from those who make it through our exhibition programme. We support sculptors by providing bursaries to newly emergent sculptors, professional development seminars, a mentoring scheme and a growing number of awards and residencies. Established in 1905 as a not-for-profit company (83239), we are a membership society of 600 + professional sculptors and are a registered charity (212513). We are the oldest and largest organisation dedicated to sculpture in the UK. 

About CW+, The Art + Science of Patient Care 

We exist to make care better for patients and their families. From our base at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital we bring together pioneering research, innovation, art and design to transform the experience and outcomes for thousands of people every day - in our hospital, in the wider community and all around the world. 

We do this by: 

  • Delivering an award-winning art and design programme to transform the hospital environment and experience for patients, families, volunteers and staff.
  • Raising funds for education, training and ground-breaking research to identify new life saving treatments and illness prevention for babies, children and adults. 
  • Investing in financially sustainable innovations, facilities and technologies 
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