2022 Scott Watson

The internationally renowned UBC contemporary art curator, educator and writer Scott Watson won the 2022 award,

Scott Watson

Scott Watson / photo Roberto Pinto

Scott Watson is a Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art, and Theory at UBC and Director Emeritus and Research Fellow at UBC’s Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. A curator whose career has spanned more than thirty-five years, Watson has published extensively in the areas of contemporary Canadian and international art. His 1990 book on Jack Shadbolt earned the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize in 1991. Thrown: British Columbia’s Apprentices of Bernard Leach and their Contemporaries, was a finalist for the 2012 Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.

He is internationally recognized for his research and work in curatorial and exhibition studies, contemporary art and issues, and art theory and criticism, and his curatorial distinctions include the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art (2010); the Alvin Balkind Award for Creative Curatorship in BC Arts (2008); and the UBC Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts (2005). As director of the Belkin, he encouraged many national and international collaborations, including Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties (2009), a collaboration with grunt gallery on an online digital archive of Vancouver art in the 1960s and early 1970s

The jury citation reads:

In his long career as an innovative and visionary curator of contemporary art, Scott Watson has established a position as one of Canada’s pre-eminent writers on artists and arts issues. He has always been deeply engaged with the world outside the gallery walls, and his informed and accessible curatorial commentaries lead the viewer not only to fresh insights about the work under discussion but also, more generally, fresh understanding of art’s relationship with contemporary society. His humane and perceptive writings, as well as his work as director and graduate advisor to UBC’s Critical Curatorial Studies program, which trains curators and critics in their roles as interpretive intermediaries between contemporary art and the individual, directly embody the values this award was established to honour.

Yosef Wosk commented: “

I have long been both an admirer and a beneficiary of Scott Watson’s brilliance and vision. His career is an object-lesson in how we can make art a necessary and enriching part of our lives.

The award jury consisted of arts advocate Merla Beckerman, Yosef Wosk and Max Wyman.