Hamish Dunbar of Hackney’s Café Oto, which presents experimental music and sound art, is today announced the winner of the inaugural Genesis Prize.
The new £25,000 award - one of the most generous in the arts sector - is the only prize of its kind to recognise outstanding mentors of young artistic talent, inviting nominations from all art forms.
John Studzinski, Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation, commented on Hamish’s win:
“The judging panel were impressed by all six finalists, but Hamish showed entrepreneurial courage in founding Café Oto and in a remarkably short time has designed an innovative space that has created a new audience for avant-garde music. His proven ability to bring different artists together, and the role he plays in forming creative relationships made him stand out from the other finalists. Transforming a disused warehouse into such a vibrant venue shows a degree of fearlessness that will stand him in good stead and make him a great mentor to musicians for many years to come. All the judges said that Café Oto was the venue that they wish to visit!”
“We were so impressed by all the finalists that I’m sure there will be a role for each one of these talented mentors and role models within the Genesis network.”
Hamish Dunbar on receiving the prize:
“I wish to thank the judges of the Genesis Prize for awarding me this prize and for recognising the work done by everyone associated with Café Oto. We will use the prize money to launch an Associate Artists Programme and in doing so will provide a platform for championing emerging musicians whose work we passionately believe in. We hope that through this work we can help give experimental music the profile it deserves and develop the careers of some of the UK’s most exciting musicians.”
Nominations were solicited from leading figures in the arts world and the six shortlisted candidates made presentations last night to a high-profile panel of judges on their mentoring work and on how they would spend the £25,000 on furthering their work. Everyone who had submitted nominations were thanked by John Studzinski and the judging panel before deliberations began.
The range and innovation witnessed and discussed during the six presentations reaffirmed in the judges’ minds the richness of mentoring and nurturing taking place among young and emerging artists today in the UK.
The judges were particularly impressed by Marc Boothe’s business model and track record for mentoring at B3Media with minority audiences; by Tom Morris’s insight into working with emerging artists in major commissions; by Nadine Mortimer-Smith of Opera in Colour’s work with singers excluded from traditional training programmes; by Joe Scotland of Studio Voltaire for the way he makes gallery space available to all sectors of society and by Polly Staple of the Chisenhale Gallery for the consistently high standard of her exhibition programme and the launch pad this has given artists that have become leading figures in the contemporary art scene.
The judges comprised Elyse Dodgson (Royal Court Theatre), David Lan (Young Vic Theatre), David Pountney (Welsh National Opera), Lord Rogers (architect), John Studzinski (Genesis Foundation), Dame Janet Suzman (actress and director), and Dr Paul Thompson (Royal College of Art).
The Genesis Foundation, the UK based charity established by John Studzinski in 2001, initiated the prize as part of the celebrations to mark the charity’s first ten years of nurturing and developing emerging talent in the UK, frequently in collaboration with highly respected artistic directors and organisations.
The Genesis Prize will be awarded every two years.
Sound and Music have announced that Café Oto will be part of a two-year initiative exploring the public’s appetite for new music commissions.More...