Sky Academy has announced the five artists aged 18-30 who have each been awarded a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. Revealed at last night’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards the five winners will each receive £30,000 towards the development of an artistic project and the cost of living for one year, along with mentoring from Sky and the Arts industry. The Scholarships aim to help young artists across the UK and Ireland to develop their creative practice and take their work to the next level. This year, four scholarships were awarded in the UK and one scholarship was awarded exclusively to an Irish applicant.
Sky Academy Arts Scholarships are part of Sky Academy; a set of initiatives using the power of TV, creativity and sport to help young people unlock their potential.

Now in their fourth year, Sky Academy Arts Scholarships have supported 20 young artists across a range of creative disciplines. Applications opened last November in the categories of Visual Art, Music, Dance, Theatre, Creative Producing and Creative Writing, and closed in March 2015. Over 1,000 applications were received and assessed by industry professionals. The 2015 judging panel was: including Louise Jeffries of the Barbican, Godfrey Worsdale of BALTIC and Kris Nelson of the Tiger Dublin Fringe, as well as Sky Arts Director Phil Edgar-Jones and individuals from Sky Academy.

The five Sky Academy Arts Scholars 2015 are:

Sarah Maple (age 30, UK)

Sarah is a visual artist from Crawley. In 2007 Sarah won the “4 New Sensations” competition for emerging artists, run by Charles Saatchi, and since then has exhibited artwork, films and performances internationally. Sarah’s work is a form of activism, using wit and humour to engage audiences with issues of gender, religion and politics. Her Sky Academy arts Scholarship project, working titled “I Disagree With What You Say” aims to create an exhibition of new paintings, photography and performances based on the concept of freedom of speech.

Adebayo Fakos (age 29, UK)

Adebayo is a music producer based in London. Having begun his career in the UK underground scene, Adebayo has produced music for signed and unsigned artists including Giggs, Wretch 32 and JME. Adebayo’s Sky Academy Arts Scholarship project will focus on creating an EP comprised mostly of house music, followed by a live performance with collaborating artists.

Jonnie Bayfield (age 22, UK)

Jonnie is a writer and performer from Great Yarmouth, currently living in London. His previous projects have included a variety of comedy, new writing and devised work with his theatre company Caligula’s Alibi. Jonnie’s Sky Academy Arts Scholarship project is to write an original novel with the working title “Coaster” and develop an accompanying performance piece based around growing up in the extremities of rural England. It follows Oscar Lime, a rudderless young man, as he attempts to come to terms with adulthood by stealing money from an elderly lady with dementia.

Anisa Haghdadi (age 25, UK)

Anisa is a creative producer living and working in Birmingham. She set up her first social enterprise aged 15 and in 2012 was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education and young people through the work of her most recent social enterprise, Beatfreeks. Anisa’s Sky Academy Arts Scholarship project, “Learn and Build” (LAB) will provide space, both physical and mental, for an eco-system of young creative innovators including social entrepreneurs, activists and artists to sprint work in an agile environment, culminating in a multi-disciplinary 'Festival of Audacity'.

Kevin Gaffney (age 28, Ireland)

Kevin is a visual artist from Dublin, working in photography and film. His work has been shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally, including the Sapporo International Art Festival (Japan, 2014) and the Poetry Project at the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin, 2013). For his Sky Academy Arts Scholarship project, Kevin plans to create and exhibit a new body of work titled “Tectonic Plates of Conversion” exploring areas of forgotten industries which remain as spectres on the Irish landscape.

Melvyn Bragg, Sky Academy Arts Ambassador, said “There’s nothing more important in this country at the moment than giving professional mentoring and opportunities to young people. This is where I think that Sky Academy Arts Scholarships score most heavily. It is one thing – and a very good thing – to give an enabling sum of money but to couple that with a systematic and high-quality mentoring system makes it an extraordinarily rich prize. ”

Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts commented “It’s fantastic that young artists are able to find support through Sky Academy Arts Scholarships at such a crucial stage in their careers. The standard of applications was incredibly high, and we’re delighted to award five such brilliant and deserving young artists - I can’t wait to see their projects come to life throughout the year”

Alongside the five winners, 7 UK artists and 5 Irish artists were named as Finalists, and a further 25 applicants across the UK and Ireland were Highly Commended. The full shortlist can be found here.

For more details on Sky Academy and Sky Academy Arts Scholarships, please visit