The Ninth Edition of International Awards for Art Criticism(IAAC9)OPEN CALL

On 25 June, 2023, the Ninth Edition of the International Awards for Art Criticism was formally launched at the Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum. The awards are open to all entries in English and Chinese, worldwide. The organisations participating in the IAAC 9 include the School of Philosophy Philosophy at Fudan University, Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum Community, the Royal College of Art, Edinburgh College of Art and the International Association of Art Critics.

At the launch event, Henry Meyric Hughes addressed his thanks to the participating organisations, on behalf of the IAAC’s Organising Committee. He said: ‘More commonly today than ever before, art critics write simply because they feel impelled to, and those who succeed in attracting a readership are just as likely to be trained in linguistics, psychology, sociology or, indeed, philosophy, as in the traditional fields of art history and connoisseurship. Our reading habits are enriched by this turn to diversity, and art can be seen once more to have genuine relevance to the wider issues of life. New perspectives are opened up to the thoughtful and reflective reader or exhibition-goer.’

Professor Sun Xiangchen, the Dean of the School of Philosophy at Fudan University and co-chair of the IAAC’s  Organising Committee said: ‘As the IAAC, as ‘As the name suggests, the ~IAAC  are international awards for art criticism, and the reviews in the competition reflect the diversity of the contemporary art scene, covering  a broad range of contemporary art exhibitions from in all parts of the world, embracing a wide variety of art forms and incorporating elements of  numerous  cultural traditions. When the uncertainties of the global situation press in on people, art reflects this turbulence in its own way, diffracting the current state of affairs, capturing moments of life through the telephoto lens of history. Art has become an indispensable element in contemporary life.’

As one of the main organisers of IAAC 9, Shanghai Jiushi Art Musuem wishes to  establish a close connection with contemporary art and art criticism on the basis of promoting traditional aesthetics In this way, the museum itself aims to offer a platform bringing together a range of outstanding talent. Through its co-operation with the IAAC, Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum expects to help more young artists and art critics, by extending their international reach and promoting cultural dialogue between  China and the West.

The Ninth Edition of the International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC 9) 2023, is open to candidates from anywhere in the world writing in Chinese or English about any contemporary art exhibition held anywhere in world or on-line between 1 September 2022 and the closing date for entries, 20 September 2023.  Candidates are invited to write a review of 1,500 words or 2,500 Chinese characters on any exhibition of contemporary art within a strict limit of plus or minus ten per cent.

The First Prize will consist of a cash award of 10,000 Euros (pre-tax) or the RMB equivalent of this amount (currently, around 80,000 RMB). Each of the three Second Prizes will be awarded a cash prize of 3,500 Euros (pre-tax) or the RMB equivalent of this amount (currently, around 30,000 RMB).  Around 20 entries (10 in English, 10 in Chinese) will be selected by first-round juries in Shanghai and London and translated for the bilingual publication, Exhibition Reviews Annual 9, in 2024.

The objectivity of the selection process is underpinned, both by the recognised professionalism of the Chinese and English-speaking jury members and by the strict anonymity of the judging process. The members of the final, international jury for 2023 will comprise: Colin Chinnery, co-founder of Sound Art Museum in Beijing; Frances Morris, Director Emerita at Tate Modern; Jonathan Watkins, independent curator and writer;  Lucy Steeds,Director for Art in Context, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh; Nikita Yingqian Cai, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Times Museum Guangdong

The awards are open to all, there is no age limit and we welcome entries from individuals representing a wide range of backgrounds from anywhere in the world, writing in Chinese or English. All candidates are invited to log in to the official IAAC website,, enter the relevant details and upload their review and any accompanying images, up to a limit of three,. They may then return to the site to add or alter information at any time up to the deadline for submissions.

Closing date for entries:20 September 2023


English language: School of Fine Art, Royal College of Art
Address: 20 Howie Street, London, SW11 4AS
Tel: +44 (0)20 7590 4423

Chinese language: School of Philosophy, Fudan University
Address: 220 Handan Road, Shanghai (Room 2308, West Main Building, Guanghua Building)
Tel: +86 (0)21 6564 2732 

Introduction to the International Jury Members for The IAAC 9 (2023)

Colin Chinnery

Colin Chinnery is co-founder of Sound Art Museum in Beijing. Deeply involved in Beijing’s art and music communities since the 1990s, Chinnery was the lead singer of Xue Wei, one of China’s first alternative rock groups, from 1992 to 1994. He went on to study Chinese language and civilisation at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), graduating in 1997. After working for the British Library’s International Dunhuang Project in London, he returned to Beijing in 2002. He has since worked as a curator and artist, exhibiting widely in China and around the world. His conceptual practice generally takes the form of multimedia installations, often focused on sound. As curator, Chinnery was Director in 2009 and 2010 of Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair in Shanghai, and between 2006 and 2008 he was Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing, playing a central role in setting up China’s first major contemporary art institution. 

In 2020, with his partner Hong Feng, Chinnery started building Sound Art Museum, a cultural institution in Beijing with a focus entirely on sound, including museological exhibitions, sound art, live music, archive, residencies, and civic society projects. The museum opens to the public in May 2023.

Frances Morris

Frances Morris, curator, writer and broadcaster is currently Director Emerita, Tate Modern after leading the institution as Director for 7 years. Over a long career at Tate Frances has made many exhibitions and publications, including acclaimed retrospectives of Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, and Agnes Martin, most recently co-curating Hilma Af Klint & Piet Mondrian: Forms of Life. Frances has led the transformation of Tate’s International Collection, strategically broadening and diversifying its international reach and representation, through displays and exhibitions. Since 2019 Frances has championed Tate's responses to climate and ecological emergency. Among other external roles Frances is currently a member of the Advisory Committee, Serralves Museum, Porto; the Scientific Board, MNAC, Bucharest; the International Advisory Committee, Mori Art Museum Tokyo and the Scientific Committee, MUDAM, Luxembourg, as well as Guest Professor at SAFA, Shanghai.

Jonathan Watkins

Jonathan Watkins is an independent curator and writer. He was the Director of Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, UK) from 1999 until 2022. Previously he worked for a number of years in London, as Curator of the Serpentine Gallery (1995-97) and Director of Chisenhale Gallery (1990-95). 

He has curated a number of large international exhibitions including the Biennale of Sydney (1998), Facts of Life: Contemporary Japanese Art (Hayward Gallery, London 2001), Quotidiana (Castello di Rivoli, Turin 1999), Tate Triennial (2003), Shanghai Biennale (2006), Sharjah Biennial (2007), Negotiations (Today Art Museum (Beijing 2010) and the Guangzhou Triennial (2012). He was on the curatorial team for Europarte (Venice Biennale, 1997), Milano Europa 2000 and Riwaq (Palestinian Biennial 2007). He curated the Iraqi Pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2013, Floating World, Bahrain in 2017 and The Quebec City Biennial, 2019. 

Jonathan Watkins has written extensively on contemporary art. He has served on numerous committees and boards including the Imperial War Museum (2011– 16), Arts Council Collection Acquisitions Committee (2011– 13) and 14-18 Now: First World War Centenary Cultural Programme (2013– 17). He won the 1992 Prudential Award for the Visual Arts, UK and in 2013 was nominated as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine. In 2019 he received the inaugural Ampersand Foundation Award to realise the exhibition of his dreams (Carlo Crivelli, Ikon 2022).

Lucy Steeds

Lucy Steeds is a writer and teacher based in Cove on the West coast of Scotland – and, institutionally, at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. Her research centres on art in its public moment, historically and around the world, where this challenges norms in ways that are useful to reflect on here and today. She is a series editor for the Exhibition Histories books published by Afterall, University of the Arts London, in association with: Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York; documenta Institut, Kassel; and the Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg. Her co-edited books include: Art and its Worlds (2021), Curating After the Global (2019), How Institutions Think (2017) and The Curatorial Conundrum (2016). She is responsible for Exhibition in the Documents of Contemporary Art series (2014).

Nikita Yingqian Cai

Nikita Yingqian Cai is currently the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Guangdong Times Museum. She has curated such exhibitions as Times Heterotopia Trilogy (2011, 2014, 2017), Jiang Zhi: If This is a Man (2012), Roman Ondák: Storyboard (2015), Big Tail Elephants One Hour, No Room, Five Shows (2016), Pan Yuliang: A Journey to Silence (2017), Omer Fast: The Invisible Hand (2018), Neither Black/Red/Yellow Nor Woman (Times Art Center Berlin, 2019), Zhou Tao: The Ridge in the Bronze Mirror (2019), Candice Lin: Pigs and Poison (2021), and One song is very much like another and the boat is always from afar (2021). She initiated the Para-curatorial series in 2012 and has maintained and expanded the research network of ‘All the Way South’. She is the co-editor of On Our Times and the host of ‘Rolling Congee’, and was awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2019. Her writings have been published by Bard College and the MIT Press, Sternberg Press, Black Dog Publishing, Yishu, Artforum and e-flux. She is the co-editor of Active Withdrawals: Life and Death of Institutional Critique and No Ground Underneath; Curating on the Nexus of Changes.