Introduction to the Participating Organisations

The Awards are hosted by an International Board, adjudicated by an international jury and organised by the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum. They are held in partnership with the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, which is at the forefront of postgraduate studies and research in art and design, Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and International Association of Art Critics (AICA). The principal sponsor is the China Minsheng Banking Corporation Ltd. (CMBC).


The Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum (formerly) was founded by the China Minsheng Banking Corporation, Ltd.(CMBC) for the purpose of promoting contemporary art and culture. Building a world-class museum is part of the corporate responsibility platform of CMBC as part of its mission of 'bringing art to the public, bringing people into the realm of art'. The Museum is committed to a model which includes international exchange, and a broad range of public education activities to open up a viable space for art. In the interest of fostering an appreciation of art among a wide public and creating a diverse artistic and cultural landscape, the Museum creates a dialogue between fine and applied art, and between traditional and avant-garde art, with the aim of breaking down barriers and closing the gap between art and the general public. The future collections of the Museum, its exhibitions, research and publishing, and the critical sensibility these reflect, will have an impact on the creation of contemporary culture, as we move into a new age.


The Museum is located in the former French pavilion of the 2010 World Expo. In 2010, after the closing of the Expo, the French government, Shanghai Municipal Government and Shanghai World Expo Development Group, with the support of former CMBC Chairman Dong Wenbiao, arranged for the building to be turned into a fully-fledged museum a platform for creativity, arts, humanities, and contemporary art exchanges, servicing the local population of Shanghai and visitors from abroad.


The Royal College of Art started life in 1837 as the Government School of Design, located in Somerset House in the Strand. Following the Great Exhibition of 1851, this relatively small-scale operation was radically transformed to accommodate art as well as design, leading the institution to be rechristened the National Art Training School at its new home in South Kensington. In 1896 it became the Royal College of Art. It is the world's oldest art and design university in continuous operation.


In 1967 the College was granted a Royal Charter, endowing it with university status and the power to grant its own degrees. To this day, the RCA remains the world's most influential wholly postgraduate university institution of art and design, offering MA, MPhil and Ph.D degrees in fine art, applied art, design, communication and humanities. It is the most concentrated community of young artists, designers and communicators to be found anywhere.


Proud of its extraordinary roster of former students and its past successes, the RCA is however very much focused on the future: advancing knowledge and exploring new fields of practice in art, design, architecture, fashion, communication, the humanities and the applied arts.

Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) is one of eleven Schools in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Tracing its history back to 1760, it provides higher education in art and design, architecture, history of art, and music disciplines for over two thousand students, and is at the forefront of research and research-led teaching in the creative arts, humanities, and creative technologies. ECA comprises five subject areas: School of Art, Reid School of Music, School of Design, School of History of Art, and Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA). ECA is mainly located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, overlooking the Grassmarket; the Lauriston Place campus is located in the University of Edinburgh's Central Area Campus, not far from George Square.


The college was founded in 1760, and gained its present name and site in 1907. Formerly associated with Heriot-Watt University, its degrees have been issued by the University of Edinburgh since 2004. The College formally merged with the University on 1 August 2011, combining with the School of Arts, Culture and Environment and continues to exist with the name Edinburgh College of Art as an enlarged school in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

International Association of Art Critics (AICA)

The International Association of Art Critics (or AICA, as it is universally called after its French acronym) was founded in 1949–50, and is an official non-governmental partner of UNESCO. Its objective is to support art criticism in all its forms worldwide, and to keep pace with its changing disciplines. Its principal objective is to serve contemporary creativity.


AICA’s head office, located in Paris, represents and promotes the activities of the Association’s approximately 4,600 members from some 85 countries, grouped into 63 different national or regional Sections, in addition to a small international ‘Open Section’. The Association’s overheads are entirely financed by the subscriptions of its members and patrons. The Association organises an Annual Congress, each time in a different part of the world, and sponsors publications, prizes and related activities.

China Minsheng Banking Corporation, Ltd. (CMBC)

The China Minsheng Banking Corporation, Ltd. (CMBC), established on 12 January 1996 in Beijing, is a national joint stock commercial bank, with investments mainly in non-state-owned enterprises (NSOEs). The company was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2000 and on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2009. In business for over twenty-four years, the CMBC aims to create value for its customers and provides a number of banking services including loans, mortgages, financial management, and bulk and specialised financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises. As at the end of 2019, the CMBC has over 2,700 branches and banking outlets in mainland China and Hong Kong (SAR), making it one of the most influential national banks, ranked 28th in the world’s top 1,000 banks for that year. From 2007 to the present, the CMBC has continuously increased its involvement in charitable and social welfare projects, in order to fulfil its corporate social responsibility mandate. To date it has established three museums: the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum, the Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum and the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. It has also launched a number of initiatives, including the well-received exhibition Thirty Years of Contemporary Art in China and the charitable project Beautiful Village – Ancient Village Preservation Project. In recognition of its contributions, the CMBC was granted the China Charity Award in 2009, 2011 and 2013, and the Practice Award in 2013. It was ranked No. 1 in the Corporate Good Responsibility Developments Index of the Chinese Banking Industry in 2013.