Juried (competition)

A juried competition is a competition in which participants' work is judged by a person or panel of persons convened specifically to judge the participants' efforts, either by the competition's stated rubric or by a subjective set of criteria dependent upon the nature of the competition or the judges themselves. For example, in a juried competition where participants compete against each other for a monetary prize, for inclusion in a show or publication, or for representation by a gallery, the work presented is judged by one or more persons, often experts, for such prize, inclusion, or representation.[1][2][3]


The phrase 'juried competition' is usually used to describe creative contests: artistic and literary competitions rather than sports tournaments or academic and scholarship competitions, although such competitions have similarities. Generally, juried competitions are contests that individuals actively enter to compete for prizes, rather than events in which the competitors are passively nominated by others, such as the Academy Awards or the Turner Prize.[4]

The Guggenheim Fellowship is an example of an award which straddles the line between a scholarship contest and a juried art competition.[5] The phrase 'juried competition' is also applied to non-fine-arts contests which yet encompass distinctively creative endeavors: a cook-off is one such contest. Juried competitions also include contests in film and television, as well as new media.[6] Britain's Got Talent and American Idol are both juried competitions, as is the Disposable Film Festival.[6]


In very early juried competitions in Greece, under Aeschylus and his successors, theatrical contests "advanced to a high degree of importance" and were "placed under the superintendence of" (juried by) "the magistracy".[7] The Greek god Agôn personifies solemn contests.[8] During the Middle Ages in 1441, a public poetry competition called the Certame Coronario was held in Florence with the intention of proving that the spoken Italian language was not inferior to Latin.[9]

More recently, but before the advent of the Internet, national and international juried competitions were (and still are) advertised in trade publications, with jurists selected from among the artistic or literary elite.[10][11] Before digitized images became widely available, competitions of visual works accepted primarily photographic slides from competitors to represent the work entered because of the cost-prohibitive nature of sending and receiving whole artworks. After judging, only the selected works were sent on for public viewing if the competition included such a venue for the selected works. Written works such as poetry and prose, being less bulky, were entered in competitions via post and received in their original format.

Since the advent of the Internet, many competitions for visual works began accepting entries in digital form as well as slide form, while literary competitions began to accept works submitted online as well as by post. The growth of the Internet also saw service firms appear offering organizational tools for juried competitions allowing for such conveniences as online storage and access of digital images.[12] Juried competitions also benefit from the immediacy of the Internet in that competitions listings are aggregated by some sites[13] making such listings more widely accessible than when they were enumerated primarily in trade publications. Some juried competitions in art and literature exist entirely online, or both online and in print.[14]

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See also


  1. "juried", Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2009
  2. See, for example, the Pastel Society of America's description of its Annual Exhibition.
  3. See, for example, the description of the Juried Reading competition by The Poetry Center of Chicago.
  4. See the Turner Prize's What is the Turner Prize? page describing its process.
  5. Aaron Copland is an example of a 1925 Guggenheim fellow who won for musical composition.
  6. 1 2 For an example of a new media competition, see: Jennifer Lee, The New York Times, November 4, 2008, Art Films From Cellphones and Web Cams.
  7. Buckham, Philip Wentworth, Theatre of the Greeks, 1827, Chapter 3, Section 1, Dramatic Contests,, p. 99 and note 3.
    "... a regular contest had been established before the time when Phrynichus is first mentioned ...."
  8. See Theoi Greek Mythology, Agon.
  9. Certame Coronario, Encyclopædia Britannica, retrieved September 19, 2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  10. Art in America, for example, lists a Call for Artists + Competitions section in the back of each magazine issue, (see Art in America, Art Services section, Annual Guide 2006, No. 7, August 2006, p.378), as does ARTnews (see ARTnews Classifieds, Volume 105 Number 7, Summer 2006, p. 205.)
  11. The World Wide Photography Gala Awards website describes its jurors' credentials: Jurors.
  12. The 2010 Smithsonian Craft Show, for example, makes use of such a service firm for handling submitted work for the competition as detailed in the show application information process.
  13. See, for example, the-art-list.com
  14. See, for instance, Abstract EXPOsure, The Art Interview - 18th International Online Artist Competition, New Scientist's Flash fiction competition, and the PLURAL+ Video Festival.
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