Next Big Thing: New TV Series is on the hunt for London’s Young Emerging Artists

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • December 03, 2020

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Next Big Thing

The pandemic has been a tragedy for young artists - no degree shows, no open days, no galleries, no exhibitions and little physical teaching. A generation of London’s young creatives is in danger of losing the chance to exhibit work, and develop their careers. Next Big Thing is here to help. 

A new initiative aims to support and raise awareness of London’s young artists - Next Big Thing is a competition and a new TV series, airing on London Live in Spring 2021.

Offering an unrivalled opportunity for London’s emerging artists to showcase their work, the winners of Next Big Thing will have their work exhibited in central London and promoted to a global audience of buyers and collectors.


The competition is open to all artists between the ages of 17 and 30 who live, work or study in London. Entries must be received by Christmas Eve 2020. Young artists are invited to submit images or videos of their existing work in one of the competition’s five genre categories - Portraiture, Photography, Street Art, Sculpture, and Landscape. 

Judges will select ten winners from the five categories and the public can also vote online for their favourite artist to go through to the final via The People's Vote.

James Nicholls

The eleven winners will then be filmed for the new series over the period of a month, during which they will be asked to create an original piece of work which captures the spirit of London – highlighting this richly diverse and international cultural society. The finalists will be showcased in a prestigious central London exhibition and the new pieces revealed to a global audience in an online auction. There will also be a Judges Award and an NBT Bursary.

A selection of renowned artists and arts professionals will judge the competition, including:

• BBC Arts presenter Dr James Fox
• Chief Curator of National Portrait Gallery Alison Smith
• Saatchi Online Vice President Rebecca Wilson
• Art Dealer & Curator Jean-David Malat
• Dulwich Picture Gallery Director Jennifer Scott
• The Other Art Fair Director Jessica Chow

As well as the chance to exhibit and sell their work, the young finalists will be supported by renowned artist/mentors who will offer guidance, advice and encouragement in their respective category. Mentors include painter Bradley Theodore, award winning Miriam Escofet and photographer Nicky Johnston.

Next Big Thing is presented by London Live’s Art Critic and Maddox Gallery Chairman James Nicholls. Strategic partners include The Other Art Fair and Saatchi Online.

James Nicholls, Presenter of Next Big Thing says: 

“Next Big Thing will provide potentially life changing opportunities for young artists who might be struggling in this incredibly hard period. During tough times art has a vital role to play in providing hope and documenting history. We feel strongly about creating a space and a platform to build awareness of some of the city’s incredible young emerging artists who have potential to be the ‘Next Big Thing’.”

Darren Oyston, Programming & Operations Director at London Live adds:

 "Throughout our six years of broadcast we have always sought to champion upcoming talent, and are proud to offer a platform for new voices. We are delighted to be working closely with James Nicholls and his team on the Next Big Thing, and help shine a light on young, emerging artists during these challenging times. We continue to curate innovative quality content for London and the home county audiences, and fully expect the programme to be a success.”

The closing date for applications is midnight on 23 December 2020. Details of how to enter and terms and conditions can be found here:


• Dr James Fox - BBC Arts presenter
• Alison Smith - Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery
• Rebecca Wilson - Saatchi Online Vice President
• Andrew Wamae - The Essential School of Art Training
• Acoris Andipa - Owner Andipa Gallery
• David Bellemere – Photographer
• Fi Lovett – Gallery Director of Maddox Gallery Group 
• Ian Edwards - Sculptor
• Jean-David Malat – Art Dealer & Curator
• Jennifer Scott - Dulwich Picture Gallery
• Jessica Chow -The Other Art Fair
• Raoul Shah - Founder of Exposure communications agency
• Dave Stuart - Shoreditch Street Art Tours
• Daniele Ryman - Patron of the arts


• Sophie Knight - Watercolour Painter
• Bradley Theodore - Visual artist
• Nicky Johnston - Photographer
• Miriam Escofet - Portrait painter

About James Nicholls

Presenter James Nicholls is London Live’s Art Critic, presenter of 'The Queen's Paintings’, at TV Special from Buckingham Palace. James is also Chairman of Maddox Gallery Group, the Art Presenter for British Airways Inflight, and a Patron of The Royal Academy of Arts, The National Portrait Gallery, The Dulwich Picture Gallery and Art Editor for The Player bookazine. He has represented some of the most talked about arts in the world.

About Jacquie Hughes

Executive Producer of NBT is Jacquie Hughes, a highly regarded TV Producer/Director and BBC Commissioning Editor for over 12 years. She was also a Director of OFCOM and Media Advisor to the House of Lords.

Anna Beketov
Damson PR
+44 (0)203 981 5200

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