Workweek Prize

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The sixth annual Workweek Prize (4-7 October 2018) awarded £1,000 to a critical, risk-taking project taking part in Art Licks Weekend, open to independent artist-led spaces, and independent curatorial projects without a fixed venue.

The winner of the 2018 Workweek Prize was Optimistic Foundation (Hilary Powell and Dan Edelstyn) with HSCB (Hoe Street Central Bank).

HSCB (Hoe Street Central Bank) is open in the former Co-Op Bank on Hoe Street in the London suburb of Walthamstow. Beginning as a cultural act of citizen money creation, HCSB built a strong network with their local community for over 3 years, forming a team of local people in 2018 to print £50,000 worth of artwork/banknotes in 2018 which, in place of the Queen, feature leaders of the local foodbank, homeless kitchen, youth project and primary school. Exchanged for pounds sterling, they raised money for each cause and the HSCB debt abolition fund – enabling the purchase of £1 million of local predatory payday lender debt.

This unfair debt, which has already been cancelled, positively impacting the lives of local residents, will be literally blown up in 2019 as part of a feature documentary film Bank Job, examining how money and debt are made in our current economic system and to look for alternatives that work more in the public’s favour.

For Art Licks Weekend, HSCB opened its doors to host a public production line printing bonds to raise money for this film, alongside an installation of the work produced in the bank, and events exploring art, documentary film and social change.

The project won for its support and active addressing of social justice issues outside of the arts, and because it will continue to inspire discussion and further acts of equity beyond the local community.

Our guest judge for 2018 was Helen Nisbet. Helen is a curator working on independent and partnership projects across the UK and internationally. She is Artist Advisor on Syllabus IV with Wysing Arts Centre, S1 Art Space, InIVA, Studio Voltaire, Spike Island and East Side Projects; a Visiting Lecturer at the RCA and a member of the Arts Council Collection’s Acquisitions Committee. Previously she was Curatorial Fellow at Cubitt Gallery from January 2017 – June 2018 and has worked with organisations including Open Source, Creative Time, the Contemporary Art Society and the Arts Council Collection where she organised a series of 8 commissions to celebrate the collection’s 70th anniversary in 2016.

The shortlisted projects for 2018 were: 12ø Collective (Lou Macnamara and Eva Duerden) for jus chatting, fivehundredthousand gallery for The World TourMilesKm for La Guarida, launching Tregua

About the Workweek Prize

Artquest initiated this prize in 2013 when Art Licks Weekend began, which awards a prize of £1,000 to be shared amongst the organiser and exhibiting artists.

Art Licks Weekend supports and promotes artist-led and small-scale exhibitions and projects in east and south-east London. The Workweek Prize celebrates and encourages artist-led and independent curatorial projects and their support of the local and international art scene.


The winner of the Workweek Prize is the shortlisted candidate who presents, in the judges’ opinion, an exhibition / project that:

  • Displays a high level of critical awareness of current artistic practices
  • Engages with a broad range of publics, outside of the traditional art world
  • Produces work that is risk-taking, innovative and timely, and displays the strong collaborative approach that helps artist-led activity succeed

Winners and shortlisted projects

Winners and projects shortlisted for the Workweek Prize are:

Art Licks Weekend: Peripheries


Project Partners