Drawing Matter – Call for Entries: Writing Prize 2021 | Deadline: Midnight (BST) on Tuesday, June 1, 2021

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The Drawing Matter Trust is pleased to announce the return of the Drawing Matter Writing Prize. The competition invites participants to carefully look at drawings and to consider what they reveal about the process of design, and the buildings or objects they represent.

We take the word ‘drawing’ to be as much a verb as a noun, and a shorthand for describing any process of design with a purpose – a building or an object – for which it is being made. The drawing itself may be something other than paper and pencil, a plan or section; it may encompass a sequence or series (such as a sketchbook), or a broad range of techniques, such as collage, photography, models, paintings and, of course, digital media.

Last year’s competition attracted a large number of thoughtful texts by participants based all over the world. Read the prize-winning entries here.

The 2021 Competition

This year, the competition is divided into two categories: Autograph and Archive. Participants are invited to enter either or both categories and should submit one text of up to 1500 words per category.

Category 1: Autograph

Autograph offers the opportunity for writers to reflect on a drawing – or drawings – that they have made themselves. The focus of the text might be on the author’s use of particular techniques and materials (analogue, digital, or anything in-between), or a drawing type or representational mode that they have developed personally and has become a key part of their design process.

For examples of texts by architects and designers on their own drawing practices, explore On their Own Work.

Category 2: Archive

This category asks for texts on contemporary and historical drawings held in the Drawing Matter collection and other drawings collections and archives. In these essays participants should focus on the objects themselves and their meaning, balancing considerations of the process of making drawings, context, and the relationships between drawings and buildings – both built and unbuilt.  

For access to the Drawing Matter collection catalogue, register here.


Each category has a ‘general award’ and ‘student award’ sub-category. Participants should indicate on their entry form which award they are entering. Entrants to the student prize will be either currently studying an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. PhD research students should enter the general award.

Autograph (General) Prize: £1000
Autograph (Student) Prize: £1000
Archive (General) Prize: £1000
Archive (Student) Prize: £1000

The competition winners, and other participants with outstanding entries, will be invited to publish their texts on Drawing Matter’s website.


Prof. Adrian Forty and Prof. Briony Fer will be judging the 2021 competition, with support from the Drawing Matter editorial team. We are pleased to be working with two very distinguished scholars whose own writing and interests overlap so closely with our own.


The Writing Prize competition is open to anyone aged over 18, with or without a background in architecture or design. We welcome a broad range of approaches towards writing, and voices from art and architectural history, the sciences and humanities, alongside practitioners – architects, designers, artists and writers.

Download entry form and instructions

Deadline for entries: Midnight (BST) on Tuesday 1 June 2021.
We hope to announce the winners on Saturday 17 July at the Drawing Matter Archive in Somerset.

Please direct any questions to competitions@drawingmatter.org.

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