How to Win the Invention Award July 13, 2018

The Invention Award is a monthly bursary that Pop My Mind awards to two members of our creative community each month. The award acknowledges innovative, creative and out-of-the-box work made in response to another piece of work on the Pop My Mind platform.

It also comes with a £300 creative bursary: £100 towards new creative materials, £100 towards a new event or experience to help expand your skill-set, and £100 towards a nice meal with friends or family. Read more about it here.

We launched the award in November last year and since then there have been 13 winners who have used the bursary on audio equipment, spray paint, renting studio space, curating an exhibition, fancy meals, gallery visits, and much more – but more of that later!

We wanted to let you know how you can increase your chances of winning this fantastic award. Read below for our tips!

Blue Fox by Bethany Walker – June 2018 Invention Award winning piece


Naturally, Popping (a.k.a. creating and uploading a new piece of work after being inspired by one on is the essential first step to be eligible for the award. The PMM staff go through each Pop and consider whether it is a contender for this month’s award. Quite simply – the more that you Pop, the more chances you have of winning.

Besides this, Popping gives us more insight into your working process – the more you Pop, the more we recognise your normal method and style, and can see when you try and push yourself to try new things. We can see how you take inspiration and transform it in new directions.

A screen-grab of Tropical Transitions video by Concept 23 – February 2018 Invention Award winning piece

However, if the Team Pop are in a position where there are many equally thoughtful and fantastic uploads in a month (which happens very often!) we consider other ways in which the artist has been involved in Pop My Mind too. In this situation, we prefer to reward people who contribute to the website in various ways over time so that their efforts are rewarded as well as their work.

Being responsive to contact

Being able to get in touch with you easily, and knowing that you’ll swiftly reply, is a huge benefit when arranging things like awards, exhibitions, paid opportunities and general administration. This is essential for the Invention Award because we simply can’t offer a bursary to someone we can’t get in touch with or someone who is very unreliable.

Being responsive to contact entails:

  • Answering emails from Team Pop and associated people (e.g. our interns) promptly
  • Answering phone calls – this is very rare, but sometimes we arrange calls to get feedback from you or discuss new ideas
  • Filling in surveys Pop My Mind sends you
  • Letting us know if you essential info changes, such as your address. You can tell us via email or by updating your profile on Pop My Mind.
  • Generally being positive and helpful when communicating with us

Supporting and promoting other Pop My Mind creatives

Pop My Mind has always been a platform where creatives can meet, share ideas and collaborate with other like-minded people. We want to build a community where everyone actively helps each other to progress their work and connects to each other. Therefore we encourage you to actively support other members of the community to increase your chances of winning the award.

You can do this by:

  • Using the comment system on to give feedback to other people’s pieces
  • Using the messaging system on PMM to talk to other members
  • Interacting with Pop My Mind on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (e.g. liking, commenting, and sharing posts)
  • Sharing posts by other PMM community members on social media. Don’t forget to tag us in @_popmymind so we can see your conversations!
  • Including in your artwork descriptions on PMM why you chose to Pop someone’s piece – e.g. why you like it and how you transformed it
  • Initiating collaborations or projects with other PMM members

An example of some super community support by Michelle Bowden – commenting on Martin Swan‘s piece Compromise

Going the extra mile

There are many other ways that you as a Pop My Mind creative can help us to accomplish great things as a community. Obviously these are dependant on your situation, and it is definitely not essential to win the award – however, it will certainly improve your chances if you are helpful in other ways.

For example, you could:

  • Recruit other creatives to join Pop My Mind
  • Help us test the website functionality when we do a call-out for user tests
  • Guest-curate or help organise a Pop My Mind exhibition
  • Come to Pop My Mind events
  • Take part in other Pop My Mind opportunities, such as responding to call-outs or agreeing to commissions
  • Contributing towards a video, blog, interview, or other creative content we make
  • Throw ideas and opportunities our way when you come across something relevant

Innovation triumphs

It should be noted that the Invention Award isn’t necessarily awarded to the ‘best’ or ‘strongest’ piece of work uploaded to Pop My Mind that month – it is about what Pop My Mind staff perceive as the most innovative, inventive or experimental piece which moves the person’s practise, or medium itself, forward. It is also based on how inventively the person takes the idea behind someone else’s piece and brings something new to it.

We have sometimes ignored the ‘strongest’ Pops that month and instead chose less refined and more ‘experimental’ ones for the award (although a lot of the time these do overlap too). For example, we often award artists who’ve created things outside their comfort zone or usual medium, or people who create things using novel techniques that not many other artists have tried.

Extract of Data Soni Circuit Visual by Liam Taylor – March 2018 Invention Award winner

Eliminating bias

 As a team, we work hard to eliminate bias from our Invention Award selection. We focus solely on the quality of the work and the ways the artist has contributed towards the platform rather than what we know of the person’s personality. Our decisions are made as a whole team and not a single staff member to eliminate personal preference.

We also try to award different mediums and different members of our community to be fair to all, and give everyone an equal chance. For this reason, we try to avoid giving the Invention Award twice to the same person within a short space of time. Staff members who Pop using Pop My Mind are automatically not eligible for the Invention Award as well.

Extract of Elektro-Field by Matlakas – June 2018 Invention Award winning piece

In summary…

Naturally, we don’t expect PMM members to do all of these things listed above because that would take an insane amount of time! We also take into consideration that not everyone is active on social media, and not everyone is in a position to create work regularly or has enough time to contact other PMM members.

To make a selection, we always consider the quality of the piece first,  with our main focus on how it has interpreted and built upon the piece it was inspired by. We look at general execution, and any insights into the piece in the description, etc. We then consider the artist as a whole and what they’ve contributed to the website so far based on their engagement. Sometimes, the person’s activity will tip the scale into their favour.

We hope you enjoy Popping and getting engaged with Pop My Mind to progress your practise and potentially win £300 towards it! If you want to know more about the Invention Award, read our blog post here or speak to James at .

Recent visual pieces which have won the Invention Award

Written by Karis Lambert