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CCA Derry~Londonderry has been shortlisted for the Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2021!

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CCA Derry~Londonderry has been selected as one of the five finalists for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021, the world’s largest museum prize.

The Centre for Contemporary Art has been exhibiting emerging artists from Northern Ireland alongside international peers since 1992. Today CCA creates opportunities for audiences to experience ambitious, experimental and engaging contemporary art and supports the development of artists through commissions, solo and group exhibitions, public programmes, artist residencies, alongside its own publishing programme. In the past year, it has supported 65 artists with paid for opportunities including social media takeovers, as well as developing its CCA Supports programme. This includes an online platform providing artists with information on emergency support through Government schemes and initiatives, crit groups, surgeries along with a series of Round Table podcasts. Moreover, CCA has continued to engage with the community by displaying artwork in its windows, it presented the biennial exhibition URGENCIES 2021 in spaces across the city such as in shop windows, theatres and a shopping centre, and delivered activity packs to hundreds of schoolchildren, essential in an area of social deprivation.

The other four shortlisted museums are:

Experience Barnsley


Thackray Museum of Medicine


We are over the moon to have been shortlisted for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2021! The past year was tough for everyone in so many different ways and I am really proud of our small team for being able to do something positive during this seriously difficult time. We worked so hard to make sure we could continue to fulfil our mission - to create opportunities for audiences to experience ambitious, experimental and engaging art, and for emerging artists to develop successful careers. Whilst we couldn't pursue our mission in our usual manner, we found flexible and creative ways to work with artists and audiences that could operate in a pandemic that made sense and aimed to maintain integrity through everything we did.

Being shortlisted for this award is incredible – it's a real boost and we are so glad we could create employment and signpost support for artists and others at a time when so much was halted, particularly in our context where the toll of years of cuts and standstill funding in our sector means there is no safety net, especially for artists. We are honoured to be on this fantastic shortlist with our fellow nominees and extend our thanks to everyone we worked with over the past year; every artist and creative freelancer, all of our funders, supporters, cheerleaders and audiences, for inspiring us, getting involved and helping us make CCA Derry~Londonderry what it is today!

– CCA Director, Catherine Hemelryk

Art Fund annually shortlists five outstanding museums for the Museum of the Year prize. The 2021 edition reflects the resilience and imagination of museums throughout the pandemic. At this moment of museums re-opening and starting their recovery, the 2021 prize highlights and rewards the extraordinary ways in which museums have, over the past year, served and connected with their communities. The winning museum will be announced at a ceremony in September and will receive £100,000. The other four shortlisted museums will each receive £15,000 in recognition of their achievements.

The members of this year’s judging panel, chaired by Art Fund Director Jenny Waldman, are: Maria Balshaw, director of Tate and chair of the National Museum Directors’ Council; Katrina Brown, director of The Common Guild and Art Fund trustee; Suhair Khan, strategic projects lead at Google; and artist Thomas J Price.

Art Fund has supported Museum of the Year since 2008. Its forerunner was the Prize for Museums and Galleries, administered by the Museum Prize Trust and sponsored by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation from 2003-2007. The prize champions what museums do, encourages more people to visit and gets to the heart of what makes a truly outstanding museum. The judges present the prize to the museum or gallery that has shown how their achievements of the preceding year stand out, demonstrated what makes their work innovative, and the impact it has had on audiences.