History of Art student Wins National Competition

Talented History of Art student Max Taylor is the the winner of SPoKE 2021 a National Art History documentary competition with judges including art historian and TV presenter Kate Bryan (Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year), Abigail Harrison-Moore (Professor of Art History, Leeds University), Rupert Isaacson (author and producer of 'The Horse Boy'). Sponsors and supported of the competition included the Association for Art History, Art History Abroad, Frieze Art Fair.

Max is currently in his first year of studying History of Art at Godalming College. The film he researched and produced was based on a Puerto Rican painter Olga Albizu, an Abstract Expressionist whose paintings were used for record sleeves in the 1960s. Max researched her career, painting technique and the reception of the work in the 1960s. He also used the music from the 1960s that it was used to promote in his film.

The SPoKE annual art history documentary competition is open to all sixth form students. Entrants to the competition are asked to produce a short film of approx 5-7 minutes on any work of art of their choice which they research independently and film/edit a video essay. It is designed to challenge students to link what they see visually with the analysis in an imaginative and creative way which is underpinned by academic evidence.

"SPoKE is an excellent opportunity for students to demonstrate their own independent thinking when researching artists and works of art. We are always excited by the results they produce and as teachers, find ourselves learning from the students! Max was a deserving winner, the exceptional attention to detail in his filming was supported by an eloquent and articulate discussion on an artist who deserves more recognition. The judges commented on how effective Max's film was in interpreting a painting which embodied the mood and energy of a vibrant era". says History of Art teacher, Daniel Greaney.

The competition was set up by Tom Parsons of St Mary's School in Ascot and has been running for several years.  The shortlisted films were shown on the evening of 2nd March via Zoom and Max was announced as the winner with his film being shown at the end of the event. He wins a cash prize of £200 alongside that accolade of SPoKE winner of 2021. 

Max is the second winner of the SPoKE competition to come from Godalming College, Amber Bardell won in 2017 with her film Cardinal Sin which was a thought provoking film about media manipulation.

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