Dover Prize FundBackground to the Dover Prize
The Dover Prize Exhibition began in 1998 and it was a replacement to the Silver Longboat Competition, which ran from 1985 and had been set up by Hydro Polymers -a plastics manufacturer in Newton Aycliffe and Darlington. The Longboat made reference to the Norwegian origins of Hydro Polymers, Norsk Hydro. The annual art award, which attracted an average of 300 applicants from across the North East, provided prize money of £500 to the winner along with a silver longboat trophy. In 1998, Peggy Nonhebel (née Dover) set up an endowment - the Dover Family Fund - to help the Silver Longboat competition to continue in perpetuity, and to promote art and the education of art in and around Darlington.
Dover Prize 2016
The Dover Prize today is a 2-year bursary of £10,000 that will support excellence and experimentation in the arts and creative industries. The bursary will be awarded to an artist or artists to provide them with time to think, research, reflect and/or experiment with new ideas that will create work to be premiered in Darlington. This opportunity is open to any UK-based creative practitioner, individual or collective and will be awarded for work that meets the aims of the Dover Prize in raising the profile of contemporary arts in Darlington to make a positive impact on the town.
Our Dover Prize proposal was based around society’s relationship to technology and the gulf of understanding that exists between a device and its user. This lack of knowledge and empathy exists in an environment where technology users are not only engaged in the manipulation of devices but are themselves being manipulated and transformed in behavior and psychology. We see a body of work exploring this relationship to be relevant to users where such interactions occur thousands of times a day but for whom the actual mechanisms and materials involved are a mystery.
We’re also interested in the idea of obsolescence, that sometimes in-built mechanism that ensures the redundancy of the object. With the redundancy of an object also comes the redundancy of the actions, behavior and language that grew up around it.