Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize


The Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize is an annual award that asks students of Victoria University of Wellington to write a review or essay about an exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery or a work from the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection.

The prize is generously sponsored by The Chartwell Trust which provides support and patronage to a number of selected art projects, galleries and artists, with the central aim of providing opportunities for the encouragement of understanding about art both within the public art sector and the wider community.





  • The winning entry is judged by a panel of experts from within and outside the University
  • The winner will receive a prize of $500 and have their essay published on the Adam Art Gallery website.
  • The organisers reserve the right to split the prize between no more than two entries.
  • From time to time judges will also commend submissions in addition to the winning entry.


  • Entries should be in the form of a review or essay addressing an exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery or a work from the Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection. VUW Art Collection works are displayed in public locations at the Victoria University of Wellington campuses in Kelburn, Te Aro and Pipitea.
  • Submissions should be no more than 1,500 words.
  • Texts should be clearly labelled with author’s name, contact details, course of study and student ID.
  • Texts must be submitted in Microsoft Word format (A4, 1.5 spaced).
  • View previous winning entries below.

The prize is open to all students attending Victoria University of Wellington in 2019.

Entries are now open and can be submitted anytime until the closing date. The deadline for entries has been extended. All entries must be received by end of day Sunday 22 September 2019.

Please submit entries via email to: or by post:

The Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize
c/- Adam Art Gallery
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600

For a pdf version of the 2019 Call for Entries, please click here.



The judges of this year’s prize were Wellington-based writers Kirsty Baker and Emily Perkins. The following is their Judges’ Statement:

It is our pleasure to announce that the 2018 winner of the Chartwell Trust Student Art Writing Prize is Connie Brown. Her response to Nova Paul’s 2010 film work This is Not Dying, offered a vivid personal account of the viewing experience. We were particularly impressed by the way that Connie took the form and tone of the film itself as a loose structural framework for her essay.  She offers a compelling argument that Paul’s film acts as a cinematic translation of the values of whakapapa. By weaving personal memories into her written response to the film, Connie’s essay extends this act of translation into the fabric of her writing. This is Not Dying is an artwork rich in textural specificity and emotional warmth. We felt that both of these elements were beautifully evoked in the written response. Demonstrating an insightful understanding of film as artistic medium, and written with an elegant and distinctive voice, Connie’s essay is a worthy recipient of the Chartwell Art Writing Prize. Read the winning essay Malleable, Elliptical, and Scattered: Nova Paul’s Cinematic Whakapapa by Connie Brown here.

Highly Commended:
‪Katrin Lee O’Donnell’s essay on Hye Rim Lee’s Candyland is lucid and evocative, with wonderful lines like ‘TOKI’s eyes are as deep and dark as the internet itself.’ The piece reaches into some of the pressing issues raised by our interactions with technology. It examines the effects on humans of the digital gaze, the way the human gaze creates the digital, and the space that women, in particular, may become caught in between the two.

Jane Wallace’s essay on Luke Willis Thompson’s work impressed us with its willingness to tackle some of the most contentious issues in contemporary art right now. An understanding of the formal elements and the media used underpin the writer’s more political assertions. In the wake of Thompson’s Turner Prize nomination, this essay presents a timely, nuanced engagement with the ethical – and artistic – complexity of his work. We feel there’s a longer essay in here just waiting to be developed, and hope to read more from Jane on this artist.



Malleable, Elliptical, and Scattered: Nova Paul’s Cinematic Whakapapa by Connie Brown, winner 2018

The Stars In Our Eyes by Sinead Overbye, winner 2017

An essay on the role of language in the exhibition Inhabiting Space by Evangeline Riddiford Graham, winner 2016

Ways of looking; ways of seeing by Cindy Jemmett, winner 2016

Kari Schmidt winner 2015

Simon Gennard winner 2014

Nalin Samountry winner 2013

Hadleigh Tiddy’s winner 2013

Katherine Emma Ng winner 2012 [PDF]

Sharon Taylor-Offord winner 2011 [PDF]

Kath Foster winner 2010 [PDF]

Abby Wendy winner 2009 [PDF]

Jamie Morris joint winner 2008 [pdf]

Meredith Parkin joint winner 2008 [PDF]

Stella Ramage winner 2007 [PDF]