Project Overview

Returning for a second year, The Michael O’Pray Prize is an award for new writing on innovation and experimentation in the moving image. The recipient of the Michael O'Pray Prize 2018 is Adam Hines-Green, for his compelling take on Federal Building with Music by Julie Becker. Read his full text online via Art Monthly here.

The Prize is named in memory of the critic, historian and film programmer, Michael O’Pray. Over the course of his long and varied career, Mike was an impassioned and energetic champion of avant-garde cinema, highlighting the continuing influence of key figures from the past, while dynamically promoting contemporary talents in experimental film and video. In his writings, and in the many programmes he curated for Film and Video Umbrella and elsewhere, Mike always endeavoured to make radical, challenging, occasionally esoteric work accessible to a wider public – and it is with this in mind that the award seeks to encourage examples of imaginative, engaging writing that extols and advances this longstanding tradition of experimentation in film and video for a non-specialist audience.

The Panel:

Applications were considered by an expert panel, including:

Erika Balsom, writer and senior lecturer in Film Studies at King’s College London; Hannah Black, artist and writer; Steven Bode, Director, FVU; Stephen Maddison, Director of Research, University of East London; Chris McCormack, Associate Editor, Art Monthly.

What is the Prize?

The prize consists of:

- £500 prize

- Winning texts are published by Art Monthly

One of our aims for the prize is that the platform it offers helps writers to receive future writing commissions. Previous winners have each gone on to contribute new articles for Art Monthly.

Application Criteria:

- The Prize is aimed at writers starting out in their careers, having had no more than three articles published in print or online.

- For the first time in 2018, the Michael O'Pray Prize was open to applications from both the UK and internationally, though submissions must be in the English Language.

- There is no age limit to apply.

How to Apply:

Applications for 2018 are now closed. To be notified when we reopen for applications in future years, please sign up to our e-bulletin here. We also announce all of our open calls via social media. 


The guiding presence behind Film and Video Umbrella in its early years (1985-1990), Michael O’Pray taught at UEL for over two decades, and was a regular contributor to the pages of Art Monthly.

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