Must I always be on the outside looking in © David Gardner

ACS Studio Prize 2022 Winner

The ACS Studio Prize returned in 2022 to offer one student or recent graduate a £4,500 Prize to help fund an artist's studio for a year.

Students from more than 60 universities, throughout the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) applied for the 2022 Prize.


The sixth annual Prize was judged by renowned artist and ACS member Flora Yukhnovich, founder and curator of the Palazzo Monti, Edoardo Monti and ACS Managing Director, Lady Bridgeman.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣


Following an in-depth day of judging 24 shortlisted artists, the 2022 Prize was awarded to Royal Drawing School post-graduate David Gardner. David’s work explores the experiences around ritual, meditation, prayer, transcendence, queerness and the universal connectivity between everything corporeal and beyond. On what winning the Prize would mean to him, Gardner explained: “The ACS studio prize will open up a bigger working space that gives [me] the ability to develop and stretch the silk onto a much bigger, exciting and challenging scale (1.5metres x 1.5metres and above)…[It will] give the opportunity to open up regular studio visits with fellow artists, galleries, curators and collaborators, developing a dialogue and community around the work, opening up a bigger outreach and audience.”


Flora Yukhnovich said: “There are two bodies of work and both are really exciting. It feels so confident…and strong. There is a weight and heaviness. [David] uses an interesting play of gendered language… one that is not centred in either camp.”


Edoardo Monti said: “The colour palette definitely excited me the most, as well as the nudity without being vulgar. It is a very intimate body of work. It is very consistent, especially in terms of lighting. The execution is fantastic. The more you look at it, the more details you uncover, like an ongoing conversation. There is potential to physically grow into a larger production.”


Alongside winner David Gardner, four finalists were also chosen by the judges: Alexandra Searle, Nada Elkalaawy, Lindsey Jean McLean, and Frances Drayson.


Find out more about the finalists below:


Alexandra Searle


Alexandra Searle is an artist who plays upon the delicate and alien nature of corporeal existence. Searle completed an MFA in Fine Art Sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art.

Frances Drayson


Frances Drayson is an artist who explores the belief that our understanding and sense-making of the world are subject to trickery and mistranslation. Drayson graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from Royal Academy Schools.

Lindsey Jean McLean


Lindsey Jean McLean is an artist who questions femininity in art history and traps her figures in acts of concealment and destruction. McLean completed a Painting MFA at Slade School of Fine Art.

Nada Elkalaawy


Nada Elkalaawy is an artist who investigates the topics of longing and social invisibility. Elkalaawy graduated with an MFA Fine Art from Slade School of Fine Art.