Miranda Sawyer on Being a Turner Prize Judge

From Sunday’s Observer…

Don’t judge me too harshly
Miranda Sawyer is ducking for cover. Her crime? Judging the Turner Prize …

Sunday December 9, 2007
The Observer

Awards are all wrong until you win one. Or you judge one. Over the past few years, for some reason (am I on a list?), I’ve been on the judging panel for several awards, for new bands, short films, young journalists. My two biggies: being a member of the panel that chose Liverpool as European Capital of Culture for 2008 and being part of the four-strong jury that awarded this year’s Turner Prize to Mark Wallinger, for State Britain. Both processes took a year and were arduous, fraught and unrewarded, at least not in cold cash, anyway. Though you do learn stuff, being a judge, and you get to talk about art and culture properly, with people who know more than you, and that’s an undeniable joy. Mostly, however, you lie awake worrying that there’s a single, obvious correct answer – as though you’re solving an equation, or a murder mystery – and you’ve missed the vital clue, you dunderhead, and everyone will shout at you. And then the result is announced, and they do.



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