The Detweiler Art prize is named after Dr Alan Detweiler, the Canadian composer and friend of former Director of Art Rob Campbell. Alan was an enthusiastic and passionate supporter of both education and the Arts in general. Until his death a few years ago, he always made the trip to Bedford and helped judge the prizes which he generously provided.
The competition, which takes place every year, is an exciting exhibition of work by Bedford School students, presented by the Bedford School Creative Arts Faculty.
Prizes are awarded in four different categories: Art, Music, Drama and Creative Writing, and each year it’s given a theme. This year the theme was ‘Growth’ and all entries were of an extremely high standard.
All year groups from Fourth Formers to Upper Sixth Formers were represented in the Art category. Printmaker Dale Devereux Barker RE was the invited judge and he explained at the prize presentation that his initial shortlist had originally consisted of 18 works due to the range and quality of entries, however this had to be cut down to just seven. Leo Chiu, Elmar Cheung and Finn Cassell in the Fifth Form, Dominic Blore and Ivan Golosov in the Upper Sixth were all awarded highly commended. Christian Noble in the Upper Sixth produced a powerful and thought provoking video about gender and sexual identity and this was awarded the 2D first prize, while Harrison Burgoine in the Upper Sixth was awarded the 3D first prize for his beguiling but impressive sculptural installations.
There were a good number of musical entries into this year’s competition. Three boys’ compositions were shortlisted: Ollie Graham from the Upper Sixth who wrote an orchestral piece, Silas Sanders in the Lower Sixth who wrote a song for voice accompanied by piano and cello, and Alex Watson in the Lower Sixth who wrote a piece for harp. All pieces were highly praised for their inventiveness and ambition, but in the end Ollie Graham’s piece ‘Celestial’ won the first prize with Silas Sanders coming runner-up.
There were several dramatic entries in this year’s competition. Four boys’ creative pieces were shortlisted. Runner up in the senior category was Upper Sixth Former Conor Hilliard for his monlogue entitled ‘A Look to the Future’. The winner of this section was Jamie Williams in the Fifth Form, whose monologue was entitled ‘Fearful Symmetry’.
The runner up in the junior category was Fourth Former Harry Hine with his monologue entitled ‘Why do I have to be so Small?’ And the winner was for a duologue, also by a Fourth Former, Krish Nair and was entitled ‘The Tree’.
Both winners were praised for their innovative concepts and imaginative use of language and both winning entries were performed effectively on the evening.
The shortlisted entries for this year’s Creative Writing Prize were varied and extremely engaging. It was particularly pleasing to see five Fourth Form entrants, (James Deardon, Raoul Flora, Krish Nair, Ethan Ofosu and Archie Tomblin), included alongside Conor Hilliard and Benjamin Wilshaw-Quinn, both in the Upper Sixth. Ethan Ofosu was runner-up for his compelling poem ‘A Flicker of Hope’ and Jamie Williams of the Fifth Form won the competition for his spectacular piece ‘Those Charred Remains’. This was a poignant and deftly-expressed reflection on the Grenfell Tower fire.