Particle physics art

Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize | ArtsHub United Kingdom

Overview of the competition

Purpose of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize

The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize was launched in 2002 and commemorates the birth of the South Australian Museum’s first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse. The prize is an opportunity for artists to investigate the world around them and present their views on the natural sciences. It encourages artists to express themselves on the scientific issues facing our planet and offers them a valuable platform to contribute to the environmental debate. Over the years, the competition has become a staple of the arts calendar, allowing artists and the public to explore the natural sciences through a range of creative outlets.


Two main prize categories are available, namely an open prize with a prize of $30,000 and an emerging artist prize with a prize of $10,000.

Visitors to the South Australian Museum exhibition can also vote for the People’s Choice Dr Wendy Wickes Memoriam Award, given to a finalist artist who has been judged by the public for communicating the most important scientific message in the spirit of the competition. .

The People’s Choice Dr. Wendy Wickes Memoriam Award is generously donated by the companion of her life.

Who can enter?

Artists of any age, nationality and experience who create works of art related to the natural world can enter the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize.

Entrants will self-identify to be eligible in the Open or Emerging categories and may submit up to three works of art in the chosen category. Emerging artists are artists who are in the early years of their career and are often considered the first five years of professional practice. For the purposes of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, an emerging artist is defined as an artist who has never had a solo exhibition or who had their first solo exhibition less than five years ago.

Entrance cost

The entry fee is AUD 55 (plus GST) for each entry in the Open Prize and AUD 30 (plus GST) per entry in the Waterhouse Emerging Artist Prize. Artists may submit up to three entries in the category of their choice.

What jobs are eligible?

Any form of visual art relating to the natural world is eligible for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, with the exception of photography. To be eligible, the work must have been produced no earlier than January 2020 and must relate to the natural world and the sciences associated with it, such as biology, geology, astronomy, chemistry and physics. Works relating to natural history are also eligible.

Works must not exceed 2m in length and must pass through a standard unassembled doorway (2m x 0.9m).

Why no photography?

While many forms of digital art are eligible for the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize, works of art that are photographs are not eligible. We encourage artists to consider presenting their photographic work at the South Australian Museum’s Australian Geographical Nature Photographer of the Year competetion.

What are the judging criteria?

The judges will make their decision on the artistic value of the work. Judges will also consider the relationship to natural science or natural history represented by the work.

Who are the judges?

The jury will include:

  • Prof Alan Duffy, Director, Space Technology and Industry Institute; Principal Scientist, The Royal Institution of Australia
  • Kelly Gellatly, Founding Director, Agency Untitled
  • Brian Oldman, Director, Museum of South Australia.

What are the key dates?

All relevant dates are within the rules. The contest opens on Monday, October 25, 2021 and closes on Friday, February 25, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. ACDT. The judging of the preselections will take place as soon as the registrations close, if the situation allows it, and the artists will be informed at the end of April at the latest if they have been selected for the exhibition. The winners of the Open and Emerging Artist categories will be announced on Thursday June 2, 2022. The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize exhibition will be open from June 3, 2022 to August 7, 2022. A closing date and details about the traveling exhibition at National Archives of Australia will be notified as soon as possible.

For more information, visit South Australia Museum