British Art in Motion Competition 2024: Call for Applications (application deadline: 5pm on Wednesday 1st May 2024)

Now entering its 3rd year, the British Art in Motion Film Competition is for undergraduate students who want to experiment with filmmaking as a research practice. They want to give students the chance to explore the possibilities of filmmaking, and to experiment with how film can be used to offer new, engaging, creative and thought-provoking ways of interpreting works of British art and architecture from all periods.

Please note that you’ll need to act quickly if you want to apply – the application deadline is Wednesday 1st May 2024 at 5pm.

Eligibility Criteria

o British Art in Motion is open to undergraduate students who are currently enrolled at a university in the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands and are aged eighteen years or older as of 1 April 2024.

o A formal education in art history is not essential. They are interested in hearing ideas from students from a range of backgrounds and perspectives, studying any subject, at any UK-based university, in any year of their course. However, the competition is aimed at undergraduate students who engage closely and critically with visual art. They welcome applications from students in all disciplines where there is such an engagement with visual culture, including but not limited to art history, architecture, film, fashion, ceramics, animation, philosophy, museology, critical and cultural studies, anthropology and sociology.

o The subject of the film may be drawn from a field of British art and architectural history broadly understood, from the medieval period to the present day and across the spectrum of relevant geographical and cultural contexts. If you are uncertain whether your chosen topic would be eligible, please do get in contact with the team at the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC). As an institution, they pledge ourselves to ensuring that the histories of British art are enriched and made more relevant to a broader range of people in the future. The inclusion of voices, narratives and experiences that have been marginalised or excluded in the past will have a transformational impact on the future of British art studies. Accordingly, they particularly welcome applications from those who are under-represented within the academic field of the humanities in the UK.

While the Paul Mellon Centre recognises that filmmaking is often a collaborative process, submissions will be accepted only from individual applicants.

First Round

For the first round, applicants will be asked to submit a proposal for a film that:

o Focuses on a single work of British art or architecture, from any period.
o Is between five and seven minutes in length
o Offers your perspectives and arguments, and demonstrates evidence of extended thinking and research
o Showcases your vision for a work of art in moving image media

The proposal will include:

o A five-hundred-word film treatment, in which you should offer a description of the film’s content, structure and approaches.
o A mood board, which is designed to give a sense of the film’s visual character. This might include images, pantones, textures, sketches or any other visual material that informs your approach to an artwork and cinematography.
o A bibliography of no more than one page of A4 (double-spaced), listing the main sources you have or will consult in your research for this film, and
o A completed application form.

For eight successful entrants, British Art in Motion will:

o Provide a fully funded trip to London this summer for a specialist programme designed to equip you with all the skills you need to make a short film.
o Give a production fund of £500 to make your film over the summer months.
o Provide guidance and mentorship from experts.
o Offer the opportunity to see your film screened at a central London cinema, and invite your family and friends to that special evening.
o Offer a cash prize of £1,000 for the winning film, and prizes for the runners-up, and
o Enable you to see your film published on the Paul Mellon Centre’s website.

Travel and Accommodation

All applicants must be available to travel and stay in London during the week Monday 3 – Friday 7 June 2024 to attend specialist filmmaking training at the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC).

For the 8 students who successfully progress to Round Two of the competition, the Paul Mellon Centre (PMC) will provide funding to cover the cost of travel within the UK, accommodation in London and subsistence. The PMC will also fund your travel to London for the Film Festival, where the successful applicants’ films will be screened later in 2024.


The 8 students who successfully progress to Round Two of the competition will each have access to a £500 fund to cover production costs, including licensing fees, equipment costs, travel to filming locations, insurance and permissions to film on private properties, amongst other things. This will be held and administered by the PMC.

For further information and details about how to enter, please visit the Paul Mellon Centre website.