Meet the judges

We are delighted to announce this year's judging panel for the Robert Walters Group UK New Artist of the Year Award.

Entries will be assessed by our judging panel according to the criteria laid out in the brief to artists. Together, they will look for artists who​ show significant potential, an original voice and exceptional artistic talent.

Robert Walters
Chief Executive, Robert Walters Group | London, UK

Robert Walters is the founder and CEO of Robert Walters Group, a global specialist recruitment group spanning 31 countries. As a passionate supporter of the arts, Robert Walters is a tenured supporter and patron of prestigious arts organisations including the V&A, Saatchi Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. He has also personally invested in seed capital projects ranging from a stage musical to an award-winning short film.

Cindy Sissokho
Curator, Cultural Producer, Writer | Nottingham, UK

Cindy Sissokho is a Paris-born curator, cultural producer and writer living in Nottingham and working throughout the UK and internationally.  Her work has a specific focus on decoloniality in the arts and Global South epistemologies and artistic practices.

She studied Cultural Mediation at University Paris 8, spending one year at Panteion University in Athens, Greece. Cindy completed an MA in Cultural Events Management at De Montfort University, Leicester in 2015.  

Since 2018, Sissokho has worked for New Art Exchange, Nottingham as a Curator and Special Projects Producer, a role that involves curating exhibitions, managing the organisation's touring exhibitions programme, and coordinating international projects and collaborations. In 2020 Cindy was appointed Associate Curator for Casablanca Biennale in Morrocco. Cindy has previously worked for Nottingham Contemporary within their exhibitions team.

Conor Rogers
Artist | Sheffield, UK
Winner of the 2019 Robert Walters New Artist of the Year Award

Conor Rogers is an award-winning artist who currently lives and works in Sheffield in the north of England. He graduated from Sheffield Hallam University in 2014 and has since exhibited both nationally and internationally.

In 2019 Conor was awarded the first prize at the UK Young Artist of the Year Award held at the Saatchi Gallery, London. He has taken part in numerous group shows both physical and online with galleries across the UK throughout the pandemic. He is currently hosting his debut solo show ‘Manor Boy’ in his hometown of Sheffield at Yorkshire Artspace from the 27 July – 22 August 2021.

Conor’s artistic practice is about storytelling and exploring the everyday symbolism of life in Britain. He primarily focuses on painting, though his artistic language also translates into photography, sculpture and poetry. His work is influenced by a very personal relationship/response he has with lived experiences, combined with a critical approach towards painting as an object. The subjects of his ideas touch upon concerns/interests towards our everyday British environments, power dynamics, daily happenings, cultural identities, and the sense of self in Northern Britain. Through his selected materials, painted depictions and poetic descriptions, he endeavours to translate the symbolic thread of language which narrates our lives.

Michael Forbes
Artist and Curator | Nottingham & London, UK

Michael Forbes, artist and curator, lives and works in Nottingham and London. Forbes’ practice explores contemporary racial politics, migration, blackness and whiteness in  relation to universal debates on history and religion. He works with sculpture, installations,  photography, digital media and animation. The above areas of interests are incorporated in all  his work, but with different levels of focus for each body of work. Forbes has exhibited nationally and internationally.

Forbes is a co-founder and Chair of the board of trustees and directors at Primary, an artist studio  complex in Nottingham, where he holds a studio. Primary is a contemporary visual arts  organisation, which supports artistic research and production through a public programme,  provision of studio and workshop spaces. In 2018 Primary joined the Arts Council England National Portfolio. In 2020 with support from Arts Council England, Nottingham City Council, Primary purchased the freehold of the building. 

Michelle Bowen
Director, UK New Artists | Nottingham, UK

Michelle Bowen is a highly experienced cultural and creative sector leader with a career including senior positions in the strategic cultural agencies and funding system at both the Arts Council England and Craft Council.  Thoroughly committed to artistic excellence and driving high quality practice particularly across the contemporary visual arts Michelle  has worked with UK New Artists for 6 years and has developed and delivered new partnerships and programmes for UKNA and ensuring that UKNA is the leading organisation for cross disciplinary working, intercultural dialogue and supporting new creative talent from across the UK.

Paul Foster
Interim Director, Saatchi Gallery | London, UK

As Commercial Director, Paul oversees the delivery of the strategies in place to deliver all commercial revenue streams – including events, retail, F&B and ticketing, as well as overseeing HR and Operational matters. Paul is also currently overseeing the implementation of the programming strategy for the Gallery & leading the wider team. Prior to joining Saatchi Gallery in 2012 Paul held a series of senior positions at a leading fine art publisher for 10 years and acted as an independent consultant for contemporary art institutions.