SPoKE Art Documentary Competition 2019



Art Documentary Competition 2019 






Prizes: 1st = £200 and a double ticket to the Frieze Art Fair 2019, courtesy of Frieze

2nd = £100                     3rd = £50 (x2)

Submission deadline: 16 January 2019

Announcement of shortlist: 25 February 2019

Award ceremony: 18 March 2019


















SPoKE is an art historical, documentary film-making competition set up by the History of Art Department of St Mary’s School Ascot, and co-sponsored by Art History Abroad.  It is designed to challenge students to link the visual and the verbal in an imaginative and creative manner, underpinned by solid academic research.

Any one work (painting, sculpture, drawing, print, multimedia, conceptual or performance art, building) may be chosen as the subject of a 5-7 minute film.   

We are delighted to announce that the 2019 awards ceremony will be hosted in the Paul Mellon Centre in London, on Monday 18 March. This is a fabulous chance to join SPoKE to meet the judges and watch the best submissions of the competition. Seating will be limited so book your place now! See contact details below.


Competition Rules

Entrants must be in full time education in years 11, 12 or 13 at the date of application.

The film must be between 5-7 minutes in length.

Entries must be accompanied by a completed declaration form (download using the link at the bottom of this page).

St Mary’s will not upload submitted films for public view over the internet and therefore it is not necessary for candidates to prove copyright permission for images or music used in the films.

All scripts must be the candidate’s own work.


Credit will be given for informative, well researched, historically accurate and thought-provoking scripts; for imaginative use of images, sound and camera work; and for clear and creative links made between text and image.  All three categories will be given equal weight by the judges.

It is important that images are of good quality.

It is not necessary to include interviews or talking heads within the film.

First-hand experience of the chosen art work is preferable but not necessary.

The following video file formats are recommended but not essential: .wmv/.mov/.mp4/.avi


  • Rose Balston (Director of Art History UK and presenter on Sky Arts)
  • Abigail Harrison-Moore (Professor and Head of Art History, Leeds University)
  • Rupert Isaacson (Author and producer: The Horse Boy)
  • Tim Porter (Producer: Neverland)
  • Nick Ross (Director of Art History Abroad)
  • Deborah Swallow (Professor and Director of the Courtauld Institute)


I have been hugely impressed by the initiative and creativity shown by our students when offered the challenge of the SPoKE project. For us, the emphasis on independent research and learning, coupled with the encouragement to engage with a hands-on national project, is hugely exciting. It is also so rewarding to watch the self-confidence and personal belief that develops with this kind of invitation.

Sarah Philips, Head of Art History, Godalming College

My teacher recently did a talk at the Tate Modern aimed at teachers and she screened my film in one of the cinemas there- it's amazing to think that my film has been on a big screen in a cinema.  We aim for the upcoming films to be used alongside the new History of Art A-Level to help give teachers and students a starting point when approaching new material.

Amber Bardell, VI form winner of SPoKE 2017

For more information, please contact:

 Tom Parsons
St Mary’s School Ascot, St Mary’s Road, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 9JF
Tel: 01344 296600                  Email: spoke@st-marys-ascot.co.uk



  1. Spoke declaration form