Yesterday, I received the most bizarre ‘Rejection’ I have ever had. I have received rejections before (many) but most were because my work didn’t fit with the current exhibition or they just didn’t like it. Fair enough. It happens.
This one though… hmmmm
If they’d just said that my work was rejected, end of. I could walk away. But to read this AND see many artists posting on social media that they had been accepted THREE WEEKS before the deadline, makes me think that my work wasn’t even looked at :-(
Read it and let me know what you think (copied and pasted exactly as in appeared in my inbox – including all of the annoying â€“ ‘s !!)
Bear in mind that I applied within a few days of the deadline and I did not actually receive a reject as stated in the email below.
I am writing to all of those who submitted an entry for the 2015 Book Prize and were not accepted for the exhibition to explain a little bit about the process from our point of view.
Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone for their interest and for taking time to make a submission â€“ again, we were overwhelmed this year by the response and quality of entries.
As many of you will know, the 2013 Prize was a huge success â€“ we exhibited over 450 books, featuring them all in the catalogue â€“ but ultimately the exhibition was too large and the whole event put a tremendous strain on all concerned. So we conducted lengthy research process before deciding upon changes for 2015 and also adopted a bit of a wait and see attitude to entries this year as we were not sure how the changes would affect numbers.
In the end, we had nearly 400 entries. So, in the interests of properly hosting the event, we have decided to restrict the exhibition to around 200 books. This is still a very large exhibition! Unfortunately, more than half of the entries arrived in the last two weeks and this caused us a further problem. Had we left the decision on which books to accept until June then we would still have been reviewing entries in July! Effectively, this meant that we accepted up to two thirds of the books entered in the first two months. We did not decline books but left the rest pending to see how many entries came in. As entries grew in the final two weeks we realized that we could only accept a few more. At that stage, only the books that really stood out for whatever reason were accepted. Of the 200 entries then left we could then only accept about 40 â€“ and the process became quite arbitrary.
So next, we started to decline entries. Firstly, those that were not books. Secondly, where the rules were not adhered to â€“ books made before 2013 or multiple entries from the same artist. Next, where we had insufficient to judge â€“ only one photo, no photos of contents, photos too dark or no description. Next, we tried to accept at least one entry from all countries, so preference was given to some books for this reason. We also discounted the larger entries because they would be harder to show. In this way, accepting and rejecting entries eventually left about 40 books â€“ which were rejected simply because we had no space left.
Was I happy with this process? Personally, no. One of the key features of the Book Prize has always been to be open and available to all. So, for me personally, it was a great shame to have to select books in this way. In retrospect, maybe we should have opened entries in January until April and then had May to select. But it is easy to be wise in hindsight. Equally, it would be better if artists entered earlier where possible and did not leaving submissions until the last minute – most of the books entered were not made in 2015.
I hope all of those who entered will consider entering again if we run the Prize in 2017 â€“ we will try to improve the process again next time around.
We will also try to organize an exhibition of some of those books rejected, particularly the larger entries, at a later date this year or early next year, so may get back to some of those who entered.
We also have a huge programme of book related activities, which offer many more opportunities for book artists in 2015 and we hope to build on this next time around. You can see the programme developing at â€“ openingupthebook.com
Finally, can I apologise for the length of this email â€“ I have tried to offer some explanation with respect to the process. You will appreciate that we cannot respond individually.
Thank you again for entering and for your understanding. The Book Prize has been a privilege to be involved with over the years and I am sorry whenever it falls short of expectations.