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John Byrne Award

The John Byrne Award (JBA) is an online exhibition, competition, and community, celebrating creativity and welcoming people who seek a deeper understanding of the values that drive our beliefs and actions.

The competition appeals to thousands of participants each year due to its inclusive nature; every entrant has their work listed on the John Byrne Award website free of charge and is considered for their quarterly or annual prizes. Prizes are awarded to the most reasoned, constructive, and compelling entries. Shortlisted entries are judged by an external panel for monthly prizes of £250 and an annual prize of £2500.

John Byrne Award, credit David Scott

The JBA team believe in the power of the arts not only to provoke thinking, discussion and debate but to activate change.  They want to engage with communities and artists as leaders, leading events and interventions which provoke discussion about the values which drive our actions and which are most pertinent to our times, as well as examining the role of art in society.

The Challenge

The John Byrne Award holds thousands of entries from artists in a variety of media formats including images, word documents, audio and video files.

Their challenge is to develop a tool that would enable users to create their own journey through the JBA’s large digital archive of multi-artform work, curating their own galleries which can be saved and shared with the wider online community, or used for educational purposes.


Shatha Altowai, The Family, John Byrne Award entry

If a tool or system can be devised to intelligently help JBA’s users navigate work and themes it could affect a more meaningful, social or learning experience as well as acting as a catalyst for engagement with other sectors, e.g. it could be used by schools to drive discussions on current affairs, religious, moral and philosophical studies, English etc, or to contribute to awareness-raising campaigns with  the general public around mental health and social issues, enabling JBA to partner with other sectors and organisations in a fluid and engaging way.


A successful solution to this challenge would provide a new way for audiences to engage with a wider range of JBA entries in a more meaningful and informative way, as well as providing more exposure for the thousands of artists that enter the JBA each year.

Applications for this Challenge Project are now closed. If you have any questions about this challenge, contact us at creativeinformatics@ed.ac.uk.


If you are interested in responding to this challenge please contact the Creative Informatics team.

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