Turner Prize 2008 banner

Why is it called the ‘Turner Prize’?
The founders of the Prize, the Tate Gallery’s Patrons of New Art, chose to name it after J.M.W. Turner partly because he’d wanted to establish a prize for young artists in his own lifetime, and because, despite being controversial in his own day, he was now seen as one of the greatest British artists.

Who chooses the shortlisted artists?
The four shortlisted artists, and the winner of the prize, are chosen by a jury which changes every year.

Does the public have a say?
The public is invited to nominate artists but the final decision is made by the jury. The jury considers the public nominations when choosing the shortlist, but reserves the right to consider other artists.

Who puts up the prize money?
This year Tate has provided the prize money.

What is the purpose of the exhibition?
The exhibition lets the public see and discuss the work of the shortlisted artists. The artists aren’t judged on the work they show in the exhibition.

Who chooses what goes in the exhibition?
The artists can choose to show any recent work in this exhibition and where possible the work is representative of the exhibitions or presentations for which they have been nominated. They make their selection in collaboration with curators from Tate Britain. This year’s curators are Carolyn Kerr, Helen Little and Sophie O’Brien.

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.

When is the winner announced?
The jury meets to decide the winner on Monday 1 December. The prize is awarded that evening in a ceremony broadcast live on Channel 4.

Find out more about the Turner Prize and its history