Why is it called the ‘Turner Prize’?

The prize was founded by Tate’s Patrons of New Art. They wanted a name associated with great British art. They chose J.M.W. Turner (1775–1851) partly because he had wanted to establish a prize for young artists. It also seemed appropriate to choose the name of an artist whose work was controversial in his own day. 

What is the prize awarded for?

The prize is awarded to a British artist under fifty for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation in the twelve months before 9 May 2005. 

Who chooses the shortlisted artists?

The four shortlisted artists, and the winner of the prize, are chosen by a jury which changes every year. It usually consists of a writer or critic, a curator or gallery director working in Britain, and a curator or gallery director working outside Britain. The Chairman is Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate. 

Does the public have a say?

The public are invited to nominate artists but the final decision is made by the jury. The jury considers the public nominations when they choose the shortlist, but they reserve the right to consider other artists. 

How is the jury selected?

This year the jury has been selected by Tate. 

Who’s on this year’s jury?

This year the jury consists of: Louisa Buck, London contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper; Kate Bush, Head of Barbican Art Gallery; Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith, art critic and lecturer, University College Dublin; Eckhard Schneider, Director of Kunsthaus Bregenz; Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate and Chairman of the Jury 

Who puts up the prize money?

Last year, Gordon’s Gin increased the value of the Turner Prize to £40,000, with £25,000 being awarded to the winner and £5,000 each to the other shortlisted artists. It comes as part of Gordon’s gin three-year sponsorship. 

What’s the purpose of the exhibition?

The exhibition is designed to enable the public to see and discuss the work of the shortlisted artists. The artists are not judged on the work they show in the exhibition. They are nominated for, and judged on, work they exhibited in the previous twelve months. 

Who chooses what goes in the exhibition?

They artists can choose to show any recent work in this exhibition. They make their selection in collaboration with curators from Tate Britain. This year’s curators are Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Rachel Tant. 

What are the judges looking for?

The prize is not intended to honour an artist’s lifetime achievements. The aim is to celebrate younger talent and to focus attention on new developments in the visual arts. 

Why isn’t the exhibition at Tate Modern?

Tate Britain shows British art from the fifteenth century right up to the present day. There is always some contemporary art on show at Tate Britain, and since the Turner Prize is awarded to British artists, this seems to be the natural place for the exhibition. 

When will the winner be announced?

The jury meet to decide the winner on Monday 5 December. The prize is awarded that evening in a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4.