Beryl Dean's Work Room in Islington
© The Beryl Dean Archive

January 2014

15 April 2019

Thirteen applications are assessed by the Project Team against the criteria, and a shortlist of four is selected to go forward for interview by the judging panel. The process yields a worthy winner, the result is to be a closely guarded secret until the Embroiderers’ Guild AGM in April.

The judges were impressed with the passion, commitment and skills of all the applicants. Each one was making a valuable contribution to upholding standards of excellence in embroidery and to the institution where they worked. The criteria worked well to differentiate between candidates. There was useful learning on how clarity in the application instructions could be improved.

Next Steps

Through the development process, thinking on the Award has moved on. The early choice of a teaching award has been proved prescient by our research into the state of embroidery education and art education generally.

Disturbing trends have appeared in recent years that undermine the rich textile education provision in the UK in higher, further and adult education. Adult education has gone, further education is sketchy and we are seeing the demise of dedicated textiles degrees across the board. Some areas have been subsumed into other departments with the inevitable effect of weakening expertise over time. We stand to lose all the very sophisticated levels of understanding and respect for textile art and the high standards of creativity and skill that have resulted from a long period of development since the second world war. Action to support the teaching of textile art is needed now by those who care about our craft.
– Anthea Godfrey.

It became apparent that other features of the former infrastructure were facing challenges, for example craft organisations and cathedral broderers groups. Feeling has strengthened that there needs to be a focus for efforts to bring together those who care about the infrastructure for embroidery and textile arts and those who are able to help to sustain and develop it for the future. And it seemed that the Award Presentation could be just such an event, able to present an increasingly accurate annual snapshot of the state of embroidery teaching from the results of the competition for reflection, discussion and action.

The crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral London, scene of Beryl’s two seminal exhibitions in 1968 and 1990 was chosen as the best place for the inaugural presentation, the Project Team was thrilled and honoured when the Dean and Chapter agreed and it took place on Monday 7th April 2014.

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