Berkofsky Awards

The Berkofsky Arts Award celebrates and supports creative excellence in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures. The awards were made possible by a very generous gift made by the late Mr Hugh Joel Berkofsky, a long-time Leeds resident and art lover who was keen to support students to establish their artistic careers.

Five awards of £2,000 are made annually to undergraduate students who wish to further their career through the creation and dissemination of an artwork. This can include painting; sculpture, drama (including photography and film that has narrative ambition); or music. Awards are made on the basis of academic excellence, quality of the proposal and positive career impact.

2024 is the tenth anniversary of the Berkofsky Awards, so please check back soon for the celebration of ten years of Award Winners.

Current Award winners

Matthew Davey (School of Music) 

Tranquil Agitation is a multimedia exploration of the physical and emotional experience of severe eczema. A series of three self-portraits provides a foundation for the work. The visual triptych will be accompanied by a musical work in three movements each around 7 minutes in duration. The piece is composed for electric fans, which are musically contextualised by woodwind, brass, and electronic instruments and will give voice to the authors emotional response to the self-portraits. Tranquil Agitation will be performed in the School of Music.

Tranquil Agitation- Matthew Davey showing a series of three portraits with the subject pushing their hair back and wearing a red top.

Hettie Inniss (School of Design)

Hettie will document a forgotten chapter in British history through her father’s memories of migration from Barbados to London as a 7-year-old boy. The project explores growing to adolescence and adulthood and the many ways in which this intersects with the complex experiences of displacement. Hettie’s work also considers the gentrification of parts of London and the disconnect that can be experienced by those who spent their formative years in a very different city. You can follow Hettie’s project on Instagram.

Hettie Inniss' painting for Berkofsky Awards

My first painting depicts the subject looking up through a sugar cane farm and the kites of nearby children being flown in the sky. The colours chosen are distinctly vibrant, with the shadows and angles embodying the depth and density of sugar cane from the perspective of a young boy.

Molly Anderson (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies)

Molly and the Seagull Theatre will produce the one-act play Stretched that explores the tensions between creativity and financial success. The play will be performed in Leeds as well as the Edinburgh Fringe.

Saminda Sidhu (School of Media and Communication)

Saminda is making a documentary titled Supporting Women’s Wrongs that will explore how women contest, and construct, ideals of femininity. 

Isaac Morton (School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science)

Isaac is creating a short film “Graduation” about two friends navigating their transition to adulthood. The film is a heartfelt but also exciting look at the anxieties and possibilities that accompany graduation. You can follow the film on Instagram.

Film still showing two characters interacting with each other. The one in the foreground is out of focus and there is a diverted traffic sign showing in the background.

We will also be updating this page with previous winners of the Berkofsky Award, please check back soon. 

The application process

All students in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures are eligible to apply. The only requirement is that you have received a mark of 70 or more in one relevant module at either level 2 or 3. Applications open each year in semester 2 (see below). Awards are made in April with students completing their projects by the end of the calendar year.

Applications open in the last week of February each year and all students who are eligible to apply will be sent an email with information on the Award and how to apply. The application asks you to outline your proposal (What will you make? How will you disseminate your work?), say how it will help your career, and provide a breakdown of costs and a timeline.

We are very keen to support your application and an information session will be held as part of the Faculty’s UGRE (Undergraduate Research Experience) student conference.