Exhale, a bionic chandelier by Julian Melchiorri hanging in the V&A

[Pictured: Julian Melchiorri's Exhale, the world's first living and breathing chandelier utilising novel bionic-leaf technologies, on display at the V&A]

In 2018, The Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment, together with the Royal College of Art (RCA), ran an art competition on the theme of climate change and the environment. Launched as part of the Grantham Institute's 10th Anniversary celebrations, the competition was designed to create a conversation about these issues in a visual way and to kick start collaborations between Imperial College London and students from other universities. The competition culminated in an art exhibition at Imperial College London that rans from 25-28 April 2019. The artwork was on display again from 20-30 August 2019 at the Dyson Gallery in London. 

You can find out more about the competition, artworks and exhibition in our brochure: Grantham Art Prize - Fusing art and science to tackling climate change (PDF). 

"Climate change is a real and complex challenge that requires us all to take urgent action. While research is an indispensable tool to tackle climate change, we also need to consider the moral and ethical implications of our choices. Historically, art has helped us explore difficult issues and has inspired meaningful conversations. By bringing art and science together, we can strengthen our voice and be a strong motivator for action on climate change. - Professor Martin Siegert"


The Exhibition

The Grantham Art Prize exhibition has now closed.

The exhibition presented a dynamic show of newly commissioned artworks by young and emerging art students who collaborated with Imperial College London's top climate and environmental researchers.  

Grantham Art Prize Preview: 25 April 2019

This celebratory event allowed guests to preview the art works and talk with the artists themselves.   

The night included a panel discussion, which explored what role arts and culture can play in changing perspectives and raising awareness of climate change and environmental issues to a wider audience; and how to bridge the gap between artists and scientists to strengthen our voices on these issues. 

Running order 

18:00 - Panel discussion: Climate Exchange

Chair: Alison Tickell, Founder of Julie’s Bicycle | @JB_Alison 

19:30 - Exhibition of winning artworks and drinks reception 

Art on display: 

  • Planet Greenhouse, by Fernanda Dobal and Alison O'Reilly, with support from Professor Johanna Haigh
  • Pine Island Glacier. Anthotype, 2019, by Melanie King   
  • The Labyrinthby Qiaoer Jin and Zhengyi Zhang 
  • The Outside Inside, by Johanna Schmeer 
  • We Are You, by Miyuki Oka and Barna Soma Biro 
  • Yoshino Cherry Tree, by Michiko Yamamoto, Dr Kris Murray and Sonia Tiedt 

Speaker Biographies 

Peter Kennard 

Peter Kennard was born in London in 1949 and lives and works in Hackney, East London. He is Professor of Political Art at the RCA. He studied at the Slade and the RCA. His work has been at the cutting edge of political art since his work protesting the Vietnam War in 1968. His photomontages, installations and paintings are known globally, gaining exposure in galleries, on the streets and in the media. In recent years his work has been included in many group exhibitions, including: Media Burn, Tate Modern; Rude Britannia, Tate Britain; Forms of Resistance, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and solo exhibitions including, At Earth in Raven Row, London, to coincide with the publication of his book @earth. His work is in many public collections including, the Tate, V&A, Imperial War Museum, Science Museum, British Council and the Arts Council Collection. 

His work has been written about across a wide spectrum, including Banksy: "I take my hat off to you Sir", Harold Pinter: "Kennard sees the skull beneath the skin all right" and John Berger: "Peter Kennard’s work is haunting, Eschewing words, it insists on not being forgotten. He is a master of the medium of photomontage". Kennard is the author of six books, his latest Unofficial War Artist was published in May 2015 by the Imperial War Museum to coincide with his retrospective exhibition, Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist at the museum. His next book Peter Kennard: Visual Dissent will be published by Pluto Press in September 2019.

Dr Arnaud Czaja 

Dr Arnaud Czaja holds a PhD from the University of Paris VI where he worked on seasonal climate predictability and the theory of the oceanic thermocline. Dr Czaja then moved to MIT where he worked for six years on the impact of the ocean circulation on North Atlantic storms on timescales of decades. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Physics Department at Imperial College, first as a Lecturer and, since September 2009, as a Reader in Physical Oceanography. He is also an affiliate of the Grantham Institute - Climate Change and the Environment

Dr Alice Bell 

Dr Alice Bell is a co-director at 10:10 Climate Action, working on a range of campaigns from solar powered trains and decarbonised heat. As an academic, Alice specialised in public engagement with science and technology, working at the Science Communication Unit, Imperial College, the Department of Journalism at City, and the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Alice has also written for a range of publications including the Guardian, Times Higher, Research Fortnight and Al Jazeera. She was a regular correspondent for the International Council for Science’s climate policy blog on the run up to the Paris talks, and launched innovation website, How We Get to Next, as its first editor. She is also a trustee of Medact, and sits on the the advisory committee for the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity, University of Surrey. 

Alison Tickell (Chair) 

Alison Tickell is the founder of Julie’s Bicycle, a non-profit company helping the creative industry reduce its environmental impacts and develop new thinking in tune with global environmental challenges. Originally trained as a cellist, Alison worked with seminal jazz improviser and teacher John Stevens. She worked for many years at Community Music and at Creative and Cultural Skills where she established the National Skills Academy. She has been on many advisory and awarding bodies including Observer Ethical Awards, RCA Sustainable Design Awards, D&AD White Pencil Awards. She has been on the boards of the Music Business Forum, Live Music and Sound Connections, and is on the board of Energy Revolution. 

The competition

The Grantham Art Prize was open to members of Imperial and arts students from all other universities who wanted to deploy their creativity to motivate change and create meaningful conversations about tackling climate change and the transformations needed in all areas of society from energy to agriculture, from business to everyday life.


Six concepts were selected to develop. Those chosen were informed in December 2018, and awarded £700 to produce their artwork.

22 April 2018

Earth Day and competition launch date

11 July 2018


The Grantham Institute hosted a networking event to bring together interested parties from the RCA and Imperial. 

24 October 2018

There was a second mixer event to bring together interested students and members of Imperial.

23 November 2018

Concept submission deadline at 23:59.

December 2018

Six concepts were selected by the panel to receive the award of £700, and to develop and produce their artwork.

25-26 April 2019

Completed artworks formed an exhibition in the College Main Entrance of the South Kensington Campus at Imperial College London to mark Earth Day 2019.

 July 2019


The artwork will be moved to a gallery space at the RCA and form a standalone exhibition there. The exact date will be announced shortly.

Summary of the table's contents


A jury of artists and climate scientists judged the concepts and chose six projects to be awarded the Prize. The judges were:


How to apply

The application form can be downloaded here: Grantham Art Prize Application Form 2018.

Completed proposals should be sent to Abbie Stone, a.stone@imperial.ac.uk. Submissions should be in PDF format, hard copies will not be accepted.

Eligibility and conditions

Full terms and conditions can be downloaded here:  Grantham Art Prize T&Cs

The competition was open to members of Imperial and arts students of all other universities. You could enter as groups or as individuals. Collaborations between Imperial and other universities were strongly encouraged and looked upon favourably by the judges.

Entrants should have considered the size of the exhibition space and the constraints detailed below, and all artwork had to be accompanied by a short explanation that was also displayed.

Art could not hang from the ceiling at Imperial so all work had to be suitable for display on a plinth or a wall, digital works could be displayed on a TV-screen. Performance and sound-based pieces were unfortunately not eligible for this competition.

Acceptable sizes: For ease of transportation and display in the hall all 3D work could be no bigger than 1.5x1.5x1.5m, and 2D work could be no bigger than 1.5x1.5m.

Upon completion of the final works, representatives from Imperial College London and the RCA performed a final approval process. Each independently reserved the right to refuse to display specific works in their respective institutions and this decision will be at the organisation’s discretion. 

Important documents

Grantham Art Prize call for entries 2018

Grantham Art Prize Application Form 2018

Grantham Art Prize T&Cs


If you have any questions, email Abbie Stone: a.stone@imperial.ac.uk