The Paddon Award 2018

Our university is bursting with artistic students, from those who are active members of music, drama and art societies to those who take a more personal and introverted approach to their art.  On Tuesday 27th March I was lucky enough to attend this year’s Paddon Award ceremony; a small, intimate event which recognises artistic talent among the students here at the University of Exeter. Inspired by the beauty of nature and the seasons we experience whilst at uni, this year’s Paddon Award theme is ‘Seasons on Campus’. Funded through the kindness of Exeter alumni and supporters, Ann and John Paddon, who attended the event, the Paddon Award competition produced an inspiring plethora of pieces for us to experience.

Behind this year’s event is Eva Carroll, a bubbly English student in her final year, who has an obvious passion for the arts. Her bouncy hair and infectious smile moved around the room, welcoming those who had arrived and discussing the event with emotion. After a quick chat with her and a couple of delicious canapés, I took my seat among the audience, eager to see some art!

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This year’s shortlist was made up of eight entries which included visual arts, film, music and creative writing. First prize was £175 cash, second was £100 and third was £50. This year’s judges were John Paddon, the English department’s very own Dr. Sam North, and the 2017/2018 Art Society President Melina Thompson.

All entries were impressive, but two pieces particularly stood out to me. The first was Ellie Clements’ watercolour and ink piece called ‘St Luke’s in Spring’, as the brightly coloured flowers reminded me of the feeling of sunshine, a feeling I had almost forgotten. The second was Rebecca Prince’s ‘Another Turn’, a particularly beautiful piano song. The jazzy undertones and playful notes were a perfect embodiment of the feeling of spring. It was a piece that I could see myself listening to on a warm, spring afternoon, with not a care in the world.


With such a high standard of entries, I imagine the judges had difficulty in choosing the winners. Nevertheless, they made an excellent choice, and a huge congratulations goes to this year’s winners:

  • Rebecca Prince with ‘Another Turn’ (music) and Sally Wood with ‘Bobble Hats’ (creative writing) in joint third place.
  • Isha Gurung with ‘Deadline Season 2018’ (Visual Arts) in second place.
  • Amy Mellows with ‘The Winged Seeds’ (Film) in first place.

All in all, I enjoyed my evening and it was wonderful to see students pursuing their passions alongside their degrees. “I want to pass on the legacy!” Eva tells me before the event starts, and I must agree wholeheartedly with her. Events like the Paddon Award are exactly what we need in today’s society; a chance to express ourselves and find new meanings in art. I genuinely hope this event grows in the years to come.


You can find pictures of this year’s awards and event updates on their Facebook page:

– by Luanna De Abreu Coelho

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