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Established in 2012, The John Byrne Award is a creative competition, open to anyone living or studying in Scotland over 16 years old. We accept creative work in all disciplines, on any theme or topic. Entry is free of charge.

The John Byrne Award is an organisation keen to contribute to the wider conversations in our society.   Art has always been a medium through which these conversations take place; we are excited by artistic work which examines societal or personal values, ideals or beliefs and has the potential to create an interesting real-life debate or discussion.

Your work should not only be of high quality, but it should also have an accompanying rationale which clearly articulates how your submission is relevant to these aims.

Once accepted, your submission will be displayed in our online gallery and entered into the monthly competition. The judging panel meets every 3 months to consider the preceding 3 monthly shortlists; monthly winners of £250 will be announced in the three months after each panel meeting.

Winning entries for each monthly competition will automatically form part of our annual exhibition and awards ceremony and will form the shortlist for the additional annual cash prize of £2,500.

Find all the entry details below and the entry form at the bottom of this page.



To enter the competition, simply use the form below to fill in your details and upload your work. The competition is completely free to enter.

After you submit your entry, we will post it online, here, and may also share it on John Byrne Award social channels. Your entry is automatically entered into the relevant monthly competition. Deadlines and details can be found below.

(See our FAQs page for further information on our submission form.)



The John Byrne Award accepts work in any creative discipline, on any topic – however, these guidelines should be observed:

  • Your entry is your own, or your named group’s, unique, creative work. Multiple works are not normally accepted, unless there is a reason for the submission.
  • The work should not have been exhibited, performed or published previously, except in an academic context.
  • It should not have been created any more than 12 months prior to your date of submission, though the John Byrne Award may consider exceptional circumstances.
  • Written work must be no more than 5,000 words in length, while video/audio may be up to 15 minutes in length.
  • Each work must have a title and a written rationale, of no more than 200 words, explaining how it meets the John Byrne Award criteria; i.e. what ideas your work communicates, and why these are important. All entries will be published on our website (see notes), but only works with a relevant rationale will be considered for the cash prize.
  • Separately to the rationale, detail any grant, award or commercial support that assisted in the work’s creation.
  • Work should be available for display, if technically possible, on the John Byrne Award website.
  • A name or names must be included for public display. John Byrne Award permits pseudonyms, but a real name and full contact details should accompany the submission.

Notes: Entrants may be asked if they would like to  contribute to our podcast series or live events. Winners must wait one year after announcement of their prize before entering the competition again. We reserve the right to disqualify inappropriate entries (see terms and conditions). We want the awards to be accessible, so if you have any access needs in order to participate, please get in touch for support from our team.

Remember, your entry is judged equally on the creative work and your entry statement. See also, What Makes a Great John Byrne Award Entry.

Entrants must also:



  • Proofread your written rationale– or have your most pedantic friend do it for you. This is your opportunity to explain what your entry is saying, and it needs to be as clear and powerful as possible – so make every word count!
  • Make sure that any media you upload does your work justice i.e. images are clear, well-lit, high resolution, and not blurry or pixelated; sound or video files are good quality; and PDFs are well-laid out and easy to read.
  • Finally, remember to read the Judging Criteria or What Makes a Great John Byrne Award Entry to make sure your entry has the best chance of winning!


If you have any trouble with the form or submission process, please check out our FAQs.

Read our terms and conditions of entry and privacy notice.

Section 1: Compulsory - publicly shared

Everything in Section 1 will be displayed on The John Byrne Award website. Your entry will be judged only on what you include in Section 1. Review the judging criteria here.





Section 2: Optional - publicly shared

Everything in Section 2 is optional and will be displayed on The John Byrne Award website if provided. Information in Section 2 should help your audience and the judges to understand your entry and where you are coming from as an entrant.

Social media URLs (Please only include your social media URLS if they are relevant to your entry)


Section 3. Compulsory - Just for our records

Information in Section 3 will be stored securely and not displayed publicly. We need this information to accept your entry into the competition.

Section 4. Compulsory - Just for our records

The John Byrne award puts equalities at the heart of its activities and our aim is to reflect Scotland's diversity in all our work.

To understand how well we are doing, we need to collect information which does not relate to your application. We include questions on age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and sexual orientation - all defined 'protected characteristics' in The Equality Act 2010. We also include a question on Gaelic language.

We would appreciate you providing this information to help us understand our reach and improve our offer.

In providing your completed response along with your submission, you are giving explicit consent for us to use this data for statistical reporting. The data is managed confidentially, is not personally attributable, will not have any bearing on your application and is processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

If you do not know some of the information or if you prefer not to provide it, you can fill in the 'Prefer not to answer' box.

Section 5. Optional - Just for our records

Information in Section 4 will be stored securely and not displayed publicly. This information is optional and helps us to improve The John Byrne Award.

Your entry make take some time to submit, please only click the submit button once. Multiple submissions may result in a delay to processing your entry.