Student success at British Art Medal Competition

21 April 2020

Leeds Arts University BA (Hons) Fine Art student Jonathan Kelly has won Grand First Prize in the prestigious British Art Medal Society’s Student Medal Project 2020. Fellow student Susan Daubney also received an award.

The Student Medal Project was set up by the British Art Medal Society to promote the art of the medal in UK art schools. A medal is deemed to be a small, hand-held, double-faced sculptural object, normally in cast metal. Medals often feature a combination of text and modelled imagery, and may respond to recent or historical events.

Image: Jonathan Kelly’s Grand First Prize winning entry, Patterns of Society, 2020. 

Seventeen art schools in the UK plus two international institutions, the Liceo Artistico Renato Cottini, Turin, and the Scuola dell’Arte della Medaglia, Rome, created a total of 132 medals this year.

Jonathan received the Grand First Prize and prize money of £1000 for his medal titled Patterns of Society. The Grand Prize is sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Founders and a copy of his winning medal will also be cast for the Founders’ Company Collection in London.

Final year BA (Hons) Fine Art Student and Access to HE Diploma (Art and Design) alumni Susan Daubney also received an award, given by Kate Harrison, for her medal, In Pursuit of Balance. The award enables the student maker to visit a professional studio for a learning session.

Image: Susan Daubney’s winning entry, In Pursuit of Balance, 2020, 7cm diameter bronze art medal finished with a verdigris patination.

Senior Lecturer BA (Hons) Fine Art, Liadin Cooke said, ‘This year Leeds Arts University students were invited to partake in the competition for the first time and we are so pleased with Jonathan and Susan's success. Creating an art medal involves complex techniques of modelling, moulding and bronze casting. It is a highly skilled process and these awards are a testimony to their creativity, hard work and skill.’

Speaking about her winning medal Susan Daubney said ‘My aim was to create a balanced and proportionate medal which would sit in the palm of the hand. My geometric circle pattern was designed to build up naturally to create two even sides in dialogue with each other as the outer edge blends into the opposite surface while giving the whole medal a tactility when handled. It was a very interesting project to be involved with and involved a lot of hard work from all the students who took part. Many of us were learning new and varied skills such as pattern and mould-making, creating wax models, fettling and patination.’

Judging the 132 medals this year were Gregory Fattorini (of Thomas Fattorini Ltd), Janet Larkin (BAMS and the British Museum), Linda Crook (artist and medal maker), Stacey Mutkin (photographer, invited judge) and Marcy Leavitt Bourne (Project Director).

An exhibition showcasing the winning medals was due to be held in April this year. The exhibition and award ceremony have been postponed as a result of Covid-19.