The 2020/2021 judges
Emma Dabiri is an Irish-Nigerian author, academic, and broadcaster. Her bestselling debut book, Don't Touch My Hair unravels the social history of black hairstyling culture and was shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Book Awards. Her highly anticipated second book What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition was published by Penguin in March 2021. Her work features regularly in the international media, covering art, sociology, current affairs and history. Emma has presented multiple programmes for the BBC and Channel 4, on radio and television, including Britain's Lost Masterpieces, Back in Time, Front Row and The Saturday Review. She is a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS University of London.
Alastair Sooke is a writer and broadcaster. Chief art critic of The Telegraph, he also writes and presents documentaries on television and radio for the BBC, and is the author of three books about art published by Penguin. In 2016, he sat on the British Council's Venice Biennale Selection Committee and judged the inaugural Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. He serves on the Courtauld Association Committee, the advisory board of the Classical Art Research Centre at the University of Oxford, and as a trustee of The Ampersand Foundation. Born in 1981, he was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He lives in London with his wife and three children.
Lubaina Himid was born in Zanzibar. She lives and works in Preston, and is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. She is the winner of the 2017 Turner Prize. Himid has exhibited extensively in the UK and abroad. In 2021 she will present a major monographic exhibition at the Tate Modern. Her work is held in various museum and public collections, including Tate; British Council Collection; Arts Council Collection; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; National Museums Liverpool; Whitworth Art Gallery; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Rhode Island School of Design.
Iwona Blazwick has been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London since 2001 and is a curator, critic and lecturer. Formerly at Tate Modern and London's ICA, Blazwick has also worked as an independent curator in Europe and Japan. Blazwick is series editor of Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Documents of Contemporary Art, has written monographs and articles on many contemporary artists, and has published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories and art institutions. Recent curatorial projects include 'Kai Althoff goes with Bernard Leach' (2020) and Michael Rakowitz (2019) at the Whitechapel Gallery, 'Carlos Bunga: The Architecture of Life' at MAAT, Lisbon (2019), 'The Palace at 4am', a group show at the Archaeological Museum Mykonos (2019), and 'Sight', a solo show with Antony Gormley and the Neon Foundation on the Island of Delos (2019).
The 2019/2020 judges
Hettie Judah – art critic and writer
Sir Simon Schama – art critic, historian and writer
Karen Gregory – author
Simon Groom – Director of Modern & Contemporary Art at the National Galleries of Scotland
The 2018/2019 judges
Val McDermid – Scottish crime writer
Hammad Nasar – Curator, writer, researcher, and Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Louisa Buck – art critic and contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper
The 2017/2018 judges
Dr Gabriele Finaldi – Director of the National Gallery
Jackie Wullschlager – Chief Art Critic of the Financial Times
Jeremy Deller – Turner Prize winner
Dr David Dibosa – Course Leader for MA Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts
Dr Janina Ramirez – cultural historian and broadcaster