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John Fries Award 2020

This grant round has now closed. Submissions closed at 5:00PM 30 September 2019 (AEST).

John Fries Award 2020

The John Fries Award 2020 for early career artists is a non-acquisitive award of $10,000 with finalists receiving an artist’s fee of $1000 each. It is an exciting opportunity for artists working in all media from painting to conceptual art, from performance to photography, and aims to encompass the multiplicity of contemporary practice.

The Award has been generously donated by the Fries family in memory of former Viscopy director and honorary treasurer, John Fries, who made a remarkable contribution to the life and success of Viscopy.

Since mid-2012, the Award has been managed by Copyright Agency. The John Fries Award 2020 will be presented at the UNSW Galleries in Paddington, Sydney as part of our ongoing partnership with UNSW Art and Design.


Copyright Agency

Copyright Agency advocates for artists' copyright and provides services that ensure artists are fairly renumerated for the reproduction of their work by issuing licences and collecting fees on their members’ behalf.  In doing so, we aim to help build a more resilient creative economy where new artistic expression is valued and artists are acknowledged and financially rewarded for their work.

Membership is free




Entry is open to artists of all ages and disciplines (members and non-members of Copyright Agency) who:

  • Are Australian or New Zealand citizens or who are resident in Australia or New Zealand
  • Identify as an early career artist


Entry requirements

Artists are required to submit:

  • A portfolio of five works created over the past three years, which demonstrate a current commitment to developing a professional artistic practice.
  • An artist’s CV.
  • An artist’s statement (please be sure to make reference here to the key concerns of your current practice)

Artworks may be created in any medium, including but not limited to: sculpture, performance, new media, photography, painting, drawing, installation, ceramics, object based, hybrid practices, sound based and conceptual works. Collaborative entries will be considered, if the collaborative can be demonstrated an ongoing part of the artists' practices.

Please note that the works entered are not necessarily the works that will be exhibited if an artist is selected as a finalist. If selected, an artist will work with the Award Curator to identify and/or develop suitable work for the exhibition. 

Entries submitted without the completed entry form or not presented in the prescribed file format will not be considered. No other support material may be included.


To enter

Submissions must be made via the online entry form found at

Portfolios must be submitted in the following format: 

- PDF file, titled with ‘Artist NAME_portfolio’

- landscape format

- title page with Artist NAME

- single work per page

- credit line, including all artwork details 

Moving image or multimedia works must be represented with a still and a hyperlink to the work online (including password details of required).


Entry fee

A $35 entry fee is applicable to all applicants. The entry fee is used to support the John Fries Award Finalists artist fees.

Fees are payable by Electronic Funds Transfer:

Electronic FundsTransfers (EFT)

Account name: Copyright Agency

BSB: 062203

Account: 00211106

Please write 'JFA -[Your Full Name]' in the payment description.

Alternatively, you can also pay by credit card using our secure link at:

Please write ‘JFA’ against Invoice Number and your full name under Customer Name.


Closing date

Entries must reach Copyright Agency by 5pm AEDT on Monday 30 September 2019


Finalist Selection

The curator will select approximately 40 semi-finalists from the entries. 
Then the Judging Panel will select the finalists for the John Fries Award 2020 Finalists’ Exhibition.

The John Fries Award 2019 judges include Senior Lecturer at the UTS School of Design, Dr Cherine Fahd, Associate Lecturer of Indigenous Art at the University of Sydney Stephen Gilchrist, and Senior Curator, Contemporary Art Practice at the National Gallery of Australia Jacklyn Babington. They will be joined by the Awards Guest Curator Miriam Kelly and the daughter of the award’s namesake, artist Kath Fries.

All entrants will be notified, by email, by 15 December 2109 as to whether their submission has been selected for the finalist exhibition.

All decisions by the judging panel are final and no correspondence will be entered into.


Finalist exhibition

The finalists’ work will be exhibited at the John Fries Award 2019 Finalists’ Exhibition at Galleries UNSW, from the 23 August – 28 September 2020.

Copyright Agency will provide all finalists with:

  • $1000 artist’s fee for participating in the exhibition.
  • A copyright licensing fee covering the reproduction of artworks in the exhibition catalogue, online and for the purposes of promoting the John Fries Award. Please note copyright remains with the artist.

Finalists will be responsible for:

  • The delivery of their work to UNSW Galleries on the 3 August 2020, ready for installation.
  • Insurance of their artwork.
  • Artists with specific installation requirements must be available to install their work between 3 – 20 August 2020.
  • The work must be available for the entire exhibition period.
  • If the artwork requires technical equipment (like monitors or projectors) the artist must discuss this with the curator prior to the installation period. Artists may be required to supply their own equipment.
  • All artwork exhibited is to be the work of the artist.


If the work to be exhibited incorporates material created by a 3rd party (such as songs or music, still or moving images, logos or text), the finalist will work with the Award Curator and Copyright Agency to ensure that it meets the exceptions under ‘fair dealing’ in the Copyright Act or has been granted permission from the copyright holder.


Copyright Notice

Copyright Agency and the John Fries Award proudly support creators of copyrighted content in Australia and New Zealand. If your work incorporates material (such as songs or music, still or moving images, logos or text) created by a 3rd party we encourage you to speak with us about your work.

If you would like clarification on whether your work meets these guidelines please feel free to contact Tristan Chant our Visual Artist Manager on 02 9394 7614 or


Announcement of Award winner

The winner of the John Fries Award 2020 will be decided by the judging panel after viewing the finalists' exhibition. 

The winner will be announced at the opening of the Finalists’ Exhibition on the 23 August 2020

The winner will receive a cash Award of $10,000.


Important Dates to Remember

30 September 2019

Entries must reach Copyright Agency by 5pm AEST

15 December 2019

Finalists notified

3 August 2020

Finalists work to be delivered to: UNSW Galleries, Cnr Oxford Street and Greens Rd, Paddington, Sydney NSW 2021

23 August 2020

Award Winner announced at exhibition opening, UNSW Galleries

23 August – 28 September 2020

John Fries Award 2019 Finalists’ Exhibition, UNSW Galleries

30 September – 2 October 2020

Demount of works from UNSW Galleries