Acme, supporting artists since 1972

Rita Harris Studio Award

Funded by Acme and supported by family and friends

Eligibility: The 2016-17 award is closed for applications.



The Rita Harris Studio Award commemorates the life and work of Rita Harris who died of cancer in May 2013. Rita was an artist and a master of T’ai Chi, which she taught for over 20 years. She was married to Jonathan Harvey, Acme’s former Chief Executive and co-founder, and they had been together since 1978. She worked with Jonathan at The Acme Gallery (1976-1981) in Covent Garden.

The award is supported by Jonathan, Acme, friends and family and will be made to an artist selected from applications from current Acme studio tenants.

The successful artist receives a grant of £10,000, which covers their studio rent for one year with the balance paid as a bursary. The artist will be offered the opportunity to access curators and other professional artists and Acme will work with the recipient to find appropriate ways to make public the work produced during the award period.

The Jessica Wilkes Studio Award was established to commemorate the life and work of Jessica who died of cancer in 2005 at the age of 56. Jessica had been the tenant of an Acme house and made a bequest to establish an award to help other Acme artists. The award continues to be supported by Acme and her family and friends. Jessica’s award has been enormously successful, making a significant difference to the life and work of each of the four recipient artists to date. Jessica and Rita were close friends, so it is especially appropriate that these two commemorative awards alternate as companions to each other; Rita’s award could not be based on a better model.


2016/17: Lucy Harris

Artist film-maker Lucy Harris who is based at Acme’s Copperfield Road studios has been selected as the second recipient of the Rita Harris Studio Award. Speaking about the award, Lucy said:

“The Rita Harris award presents the unique and rare opportunity of being supported financially and creatively in the ‘hidden’ (pre-production) stages of my 16mm film works that are essential to their further development. These works are created via a combination of hands-on based studio practice and historical research, and the award will enable the concentrated studio time needed to pursue and explore the relationship between marble, sculpture, architecture and film resulting in a body of new work.”

Lucy was selected by a panel of Hannah Corbett (Acme, Chief Executive), Dryden Goodwin (artist) and Julia Lancaster (Senior Residency and Awards Manager). Speaking about Lucy’s selection, Dryden said:

“Lucy’s films draw you in, with their focus and intent, in the way they’re shot and the rhythm of their editing. When we visited her studio, it seemed a place of deep reflection and creation, organised into different areas, a schematic of her process and thinking. It is clearly a significant moment for Lucy, as she spoke about the rich interrelationships of materials and media she is pursuing and the potential to extend these explorations further in her practice.”


2014/15: Duncan Pickstock

Duncan Pickstock was selected for the inaugural 2014/15 award by a panel comprising Jonathan Harvey, Begonia Tamarit (animator and close friend of Rita) and Julia Lancaster (Residency & Projects Manager, Acme Studios).

Duncan’s practice is concerned with the process of painting, exploring the tension between the representational and the purely abstract. He had an Acme studio at Robinson Road for 18 years before moving to Acme’s new-build Matchmakers Wharf studios in 2012. Duncan has exhibited internationally and at various spaces in London. His most recent painting show was part of The Open Sky Museum, Nantes, France last year. The two works exhibited are now part of the collection of Musée des Beaux Arts, Nantes.

The culmination of Duncan Pickstock's award was an exhibition at the Acme Project Space entitled 'Are we there yet?' which also included an exhibition catalogue.

Rita Harris (1946-2013)

Rita Harris (1946-2013)

Still from MOON RAF by Lucy Harris

Still from MOON RAF by Lucy Harris

Duncan Pickstock, Large Landscape Painting 1, 2013

Duncan Pickstock, Large Landscape Painting 1, 2013

Rita Harris at work in her studio at Robinson Road, E3. Photo: Edward Woodman (1983)

Rita Harris at work in her studio at Robinson Road, E3. Photo: Edward Woodman (1983)

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National Housing Federation member | NFASP member | Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Between 1996 and 2012 Acme received £3.2m of capital funding from Arts Council England which supported the creation of six permanent affordable studios in London: Copperfield Road, Fire Station, Galleria, Harrow Road, Leven Road and Matchmakers Wharf. This resulted in 186 studios and 12 work/live units in four London boroughs.