Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson win the UK’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards

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Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson have won the UK’s Jerwood/Photoworks Awards for emerging photographers. Each receives £10,000 to make new work plus an additional fund of £5000 and print support from Spectrum Photographic, plus high-profile mentoring and a two-person exhibition that will start at the Jerwood Space in January 2020 and travel throughout the UK.

Born in 1992 in Scandiano, Italy, Rosi is a Togolaise/Italian artist living and working in London. Graduating from the London College of Communication in 2016 with a BA in Photography, she makes work that references the West African studio portrait to explore her family and its experience of migration. Born in 1986 in Doncaster, Theo Simpson lives and works in Lincolnshire, UK, and has shown his work at institutions such as FOAM in Amsterdam, and Webber Gallery, London. His work considers the long game and the transformations of the globalising world, and has previously been published on bjp-online

Rosi and Simpson’s work was picked out from over 450 submissions sent in after an open call by a panel of selectors was Aaron Schuman, artist; Marta Weiss, curator of photographs at V&A Museums; Shama Khanna, freelance curator and writer; Shoair Mavlian, director of Photoworks; and Lilli Geissendorfer, director of Jerwood Charitable Foundation. They will now create new work for their 2020 show.

Stephen’s sculpture / Beech and Bache’s sculpture © Theo Simpson

The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards was launched in 2015 and is presented biannually to UK-based photographers. In the past the award was given to three photographers per edition, and the previous winners were: Alejandra Carles-Tolra, Sam Laughlin, and Lua Ribeira in 2018; and Matthew Finn, Joanna Piotrowska, and Tereza Zelenkova in 2016. Artists previously received £5000 each but this year, Lilli Geissendorfer told BJP, the organisers decided to select fewer winners in order to give each a bigger prize fund. The organisers also removed the entry fee.

“Shoair and I reviewed the awards when we joined our respective organisations at the start of this year, and decided that a higher financial award would better support the selected artists during what is a 12-month supported development period – based on feedback from previous awardees and the scale of ambition we were inviting from proposals,” said Geissendorfer. “So for this edition, there are two awards of £10,000 each, plus access to a production fund of £5000 and print support from Spectrum Photographic. We also removed the application fee from the awards to reduce barriers to entry and encourage the widest possible range of applications.”

The Sister’s Wedding, from the series Self Portrait as my Mother © Silvia Rosi
The Family Album, from the series Self Portrait as my Mother © Silvia Rosi
The Phone Call, from the series Self Portrait as my Mother © Silvia Rosi
Time to Totality IX © Theo Simpson
Second Shock © Theo Simpson
Diane Smyth

Diane Smyth is a freelance journalist who contributes to publications such as The Guardian, The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine, Creative Review, The Calvert Journal, Aperture, FOAM, IMA, Aesthetica and Apollo Magazine. Prior to going freelance, she wrote and edited at BJP for 15 years. She has also curated exhibitions for institutions such as The Photographers Gallery and Lianzhou Foto Festival. You can follow her on instagram @dismy