The Gilbert Bayes Award for early career sculptors is given annually by the Society to a small group of outstandingly talented sculptors.

Selected by the sculptor members of the Society’s Board and a guest judge, the award provides vital support during what can be a difficult transition from study to professional practice.

The award is open to sculptors of any age or nationality, with or without formal training and working in any style of media.


Award winners receive a year’s worth of professional development (including talks from guest speakers working in commercial galleries, art charities and private collections), free membership of the Royal Society of Sculptors for a year as well as inclusion in a group exhibition.

As an award recipient there will also be the chance to apply for member only opportunities and a residency based at Benson Sedgwick Engineering Ltd., a metal fabricator in Dagenham, East London.


Johnathan Messum

Johnathan Messum is the Founder and Director of Messums Wiltshire, a leading multi-purpose gallery and arts centre. It has become a platform for creative expression across artistic genre and a meeting point of minds to explore how art as a language is made, interpreted, resolved and shared. Messums Wiltshire showcases modern and contemporary art, design and performance, whilst also providing a programme of workshops, talks and education throughout the year. Johnathan initially joined Messums London as a Director in 1999, after studying History of Art at Edinburgh University and working for Christie’s in London. Messums Wiltshire is an independent business that maintains a number of galleries supporting the promotion of modern and contemporary arts. These venues currently include Messums London on Cork Street, and Messums Yorkshire on James Street in Harrogate.


Entry fee is £12.50


Applications are welcomed from early career artists of any age and nationality, with or without formal training, though not in formal education. All styles of media are considered, including installation, site specific, performance, conceptual and video work. A minimum of four years exhibiting experience is expected. Applicants, based in the UK and internationally, must be committed to embracing all aspects of the Award and actively participate in all Award events.

Please note that the Society is unable to contribute financially towards artist expenses, travel costs or any costs associated with the group show exhibition.

All applicants will be required to complete an application. This comprises:

  • Up to 10 images of works.
  • An artist statement of no more than 400 words.
  • A CV no more than two pages long.
  • A brief statement about what you hope to achieve by winning the award, no more than 200 words long.

The closing deadline for online submission is 5pm Monday 01 November 2021.

Notification of all results will be sent by email in early December.


5pm, 01 November 2021Deadline for applications
WC 29 November 2021Notification of results
15 December 2021Welcome, induction

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