Sky Academy Arts Scholarship

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Sky Academy Arts Scholarship was a scholarship award for artists, launched in 2011 by Sky and run in conjuction with IdeasTap[1] and Hiive (Now Screenskills). The annual scholarship supported selected artists and creative individuals under the age of 30 with a £30,000 bursary and mentor support to help them develop to the next stage of their careers.[2] It was part of the Sky Academy programme from 2013 until its final year in 2016.[3]


The Sky Academy Arts Scholarship originally started as the Sky Arts Ignition:Futures Fund in 2011,[4] before becoming part of the new Sky Academy in 2013. Applicants were required to complete an application detailing the project they would complete while they were on the scholarship, and with around a 1000 applicants a year this would be whittled down for a panel of art experts to make the final decision. The panel changed each year and former members have included Godfrey Worsdale (former Director of BALTIC Contemporary Art Gallery); Louise Jeffreys (Director of Arts, Barbican); Radio presenter Jo Whiley; Nancy Durrant (Arts Commissioning Editor for The Times); Iwona Blazwick (Director of Whitechapel Gallery); Cam Blackwood (Music producer).[5][6]

Melvyn Bragg, who was an ambassador at the Sky Academy stated "I genuinely believe that the Sky Arts Scholarships are a substantial and far-sighted contribution to the best arts practice in this country, and already we see tremendous talents being encouraged and developed as a result of it"[7] and in an interview with the Radio Times he said about the scholarship "People seem to think the arts just pop out of the ground. They don’t. Young people need support, and our scheme should be replicated all over the place. The National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House all get whacking great subsidies from us as taxpayers. Why don’t each of them sponsor five or ten scholarships a year?"[8] The winners of the scholarships were announced at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards until 2016 when the scholarship was dropped.[9][10]

Winners of the scholarship have included Mark Simpson who went onto win the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Classical Music which he wrote while on his scholarship,[11] while Sabrina Mahfouz whose Edinburgh Festival play Chef was written during her scholarship[12] and won the Fringe First Award.[13]

Past Scholars[edit]

Scholar Name Discipline Year Awarded Scholarship Highlights
Phoebe Boswell Visual Arts 2011[14] First recipient of the scholarship.[15]
Daisy Evans Opera Director 2011[16] Developed Silent Opera theatre company which she is the artistic director of.[17][18][19]
Laurence Payot Performance Arts 2012[20] Developed project 1 in a Million You.
Drew Roper Animator 2012[21] Developed Yamination Studios.[22]
Felix Mortimer Theatre director 2012[21] Produced The Trial with RETZ theatre company (along with previous recipient Daisy Evans).[23]
Aakash Odedra Dancer and choreographer[24] 2013[25] Developed Murmur.[26]
Mark Simpson Music 2013 2015 South Bank Sky Awards - Classical Music Award for work The Immortal[27]
Sabrina Mahfouz Poetry and Playright 2013 Fringe First Award for scholarship project Chef and was nominated for the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.
Sisi Lu Digital artist 2013[28] Produced The Age of Digital / Analogue film.[29]
Kate Whiley Creative producer 2013[30]
Eleesha Drennan Dancer and choreographer 2014[4] Produced the show Channel Rose.[31][32]
David Shearing Theatre designer 2014[4] Produced The Weather Machine in conjunction with West Yorkshire Playhouse and stage@leeds.[33]
James Lomax Visual Arts 2014[4] Youngest recipient of scholarship.[5]
Ollie Howell Jazz drummer and composer 2014[4] First Jazz artist to receive the scholarship.[34] Produced his album Self Identity was created while on the scholarship.[35]
Tom Mcdonagh Creative producer 2014[4]
Sarah Maple Visual Artist 2015[36]
Anisa Haghdadi Creative Producer 2015[36]
Adebayo Fakos Music Producer 2015[36]
Jonnie Bayfield Writer and Performer 2015[36] Formed Caligula’s Alibi[37] and co-wrote an adaption of Dostoevsky’s Idiot.[38] Also wrote his first novel Pleasureland.[39]
Kevin Gaffney Artist 2015[36] First Irish recipient of the scholarship. Produced short film A Numbness in the Mouth.[40]
Gearoid O’Dea Visual Arts 2016[11] Produced his first solo exhibition The Had, The Have and the Should.[41]
Sarah Grant Film Production 2016[11] Produced the short film The Magic Word and was the first Scot to receive the reward.[42]
Yinka Ayinde (aka PureYinkz)[43] Creative Production 2016[11] Produce a reimagined 21st century version of cult TV show Kenan and Kel.[44][45][46]
Jasdeep Singh Degun Music 2016[11] Produced his debut album 'Anomaly'.
Caitlin McLeod Theatre and Comedy 2016[11] Set up the female focused writing company The Coterie.[47]


  1. ^ "artsmatters Winter 2012/13 - Derbyshire Dales District Council" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  2. ^ "Sky Academy Award Arts Scholarships - p.20 November 2014". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Sky Academy" (PDF). Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Review of Sky Academy Arts Scholarships Showcase Event - Aesthetica Beesley.R p.28 February 2015". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Sky Academy Arts Scholarship Winner: James Lomax - Cassart". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Talented Knightswood artist beats more than 1,000 people to win £30,000 Sky Arts Grant - Clydebank Post Rooney.S p.27 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  7. ^ "Sky Academy Skills Studios" (PDF). Sky Academy. September 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  8. ^ "From Tom Hiddleston to Amy Winehouse: the stars who changed the arts in Britain - Radio Times p.8 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  9. ^ "South Bank Sky Arts Awards - Sky Media". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Top tips for early career artists - The Guardian p.23 February 2016". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Sky Academy announces recipients of its £30,000 Arts Scholarships - its nice that Green.J p.8 June 2016". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Sky Academy offers £150k funding to emerging artists - The Stage Snow.G p.26 February 2016". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Edinburgh theatre 2014: what to see - The Telegraph Runcie.C & Barnett.L p.22 August 2014". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  14. ^ "John Akomfrah, Phoebe Boswell, Rashaad Newsome: Carroll / Fletcher, London - Aesthetica Magazine p.26 February 2014". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  15. ^ "Phoebe Boswell - Future Generation Arts Prize". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  16. ^ "Sky Arts' Futures Fund Seminar in Dublin - p.12 December 2011". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Daisy Evans - Longborough Festival Opera". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Silent Opera Ltd - bizstats". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  19. ^ "Silent Opera launch interactive production of L'Orfeo - Classic FM p.6December 2015". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  20. ^ "Liverpool artist wins Sky Arts Futures Fund - The Double Negative p.10 May 2012". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Details of Sky Arts Ignition: Doug Aitken revealed - p.22 May 2012". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Real life: From tea making to dream chasing, animator Drew Roper is the next big thing - Express and Star p.22 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  23. ^ "Interview: Felix Mortimer, co-Director of performance company RETZ talks Kafka, identity, and risk of making the audience the protagonist - Run Riot McLaren.J p.5 March 2013". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  24. ^ "Aakash Odera - The Royal Opera House". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Partners - Aakash Odera". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  27. ^ Catherine Jones (6 June 2016). "Liverpool composer Mark Simpson wins a prestigious Sky Arts Award". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  28. ^ "The Age of Digital / Analogue - Kickstarter". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  29. ^ "The Sonica festival: image and sound in harmony - Financial Times Nepil.H p.12 February 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Winning young talent - Sky Arts Futures Fund - Planet Hugill". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  31. ^ "Sky Arts award-winning choreographer Eleesha Drennan set for homecoming premiere - Walesonline Price.K p.3 December 2014". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Eleesha Drennan review – strong and original, but lacking structure - The Guardian Mackreel.J p.1 March 2015". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  33. ^ "10 - Christmas with Us - #ChristmasInLeeds". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  34. ^ "NEWS: Ollie Howell wins 2014 Sky Academy Arts Scholarship - London Jazz News p.28 January 2014". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  35. ^ "Ollie Howell on how Quincy Jones helped him build a career and cope with the uncertainty of brain surgery - The National Garratt.R p.3 January 2017". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  36. ^ a b c d e "Daring Dublin artist Kevin Gaffney goes through the mill - Irish Times Dunne.A p.12 August 2015". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  37. ^ "Interview with Caligula's Alibi - London Calling Cooper.L p.29 March 2016". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Idiots review – strident but skittish Dostoevsky adaptation - The Guardain Gardner.L p.31 March 2015". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Gorleston creative writer speaks about his debut novel - Great Yarmouth Mercury Lynch.K p.23 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  40. ^ "Five-star review: Domesticity rendered wonderfully weird - Irish Times Dunne.A p.2 August 2016". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  41. ^ "Irish visual artist Gearoid O'Dea amongst five winners of 2016 Sky Academy Arts Scholarships Winners - Business to Arts". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Scottish filmmaker wins £30,000 grant and tells how Disney heroines were her inspiration - The Daily Record Burnside.A p.27 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Comedian Eddie Kadi hosts Oliva Tweest: The AfroMusical UK in October - South London Press and Mercury p.21 August 2018".
  44. ^ "'Yinka Ayinde and Caitlin McLeod win £30k Sky Academy scholarships' - The Stage Snow.G p.9 June 2016".
  45. ^ "Sky Academy Arts Scholarship winner remoulding Kenan & Kel for the stage - Ecetera Paskett.Z p.9 August 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  46. ^ "Kenan and Kel's 20th anniversary: 20 things you may not know about the kids show - Metro O'Brien.J p.15 July 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  47. ^ "'Female-focused new writing company the Coterie launches' - The Stage Snow.G p.16 June 2016". Retrieved 5 November 2018.