Open Morris –Sue Dyke award 2018

Judge’s overall comments

It has not been an easy task to judge the entries, with some interesting and innovative approaches to the competition’s brief. 

After discussion between the judges, we have come to a decision but there are a couple of matters that we would like to set out:-

Firstly that all the entrants should be proud of their input to this competition and we thank them as judges for taking the time to share their stories and creative energy with us.

Secondly, we have felt it necessary to approach the marking of the entries in a different way than our brief suggested. This was to provide a more balanced report and avoid an arbitrary ‘mark’ that would be hard to quantify in isolation.  Inevitably judgements are subjective to some extent, but we all felt our revised approach gave a better feel for the relative strength of the entries one to the next.

Competition results

First place/winner:- Conor Smith

Second place:- Megan Evans

Highly commended:- Cerys Ayre

Judge’s comments on placings.

Conor impressed the judges with a sincere and honest approach to what Morris means to him. As members of the judging panel said:-

“His essay illustrates, how Morris has had such a positive reflection on his wellbeing, confidence and happiness. His essay shows how Morris has opened doors for him, introducing him to a new social world, that spans a varied demographic. It also shows how the world of Morris can provide a nurturing community, where a person can feel a sense of belonging and feel a sense of freedom to develop creative expression”

“I felt Conor really spoke from the heart, and just gaining the confidence to actually write about his feelings and experience shows just how far he’s come through dancing”

“Conor’s essay really does sum up both his feelings towards what Morris means to him but also how much of an impact it has had on his life – something I imagine we can all relate to”

We all felt this entry was true to the brief but also gave real personal insight into his sense of place in the Morris world, and a reflection on his feelings towards it. 

Megan’s illustrations were clearly impressive in their execution, but also spoke of an aspect of Morris dancing that is important to her and many others, having fun:-

“Megan’s illustrations are obviously a labour of love and demonstrate her unique creative flair. They are fun and vibrant, reflecting the joy and happiness felt when dancing and playing music. It’s clear that she gets a tremendous amount of inspiration from her connection and love of Morris”

Having decided on the placings we were tasked to decide, we felt we also wanted to award a ‘Highly Commended’ to Cerys for her photo montage. Friendship was her theme and this was clear from her entry. The judges look forward to seeing Cerys in the future fulfil her plans for her dancing career, maybe even with sticks… 


With a variety of entries including photography, essay writing and illustration, it was wonderful to see how the theme; ‘What Morris means to me’ conjured such diverse creative responses. Judging the entries also reminded us all of how much Morris means to us as individuals and the pleasure it brings to so many people. It was extremely difficult to decide on our prize winners, as it is clear that Morris means a huge amount to each of our entrants.

We finish with a comment from one of the panel which perhaps best sums up our experience as judges:-

“This competition has really made me think about how important the Morris community is – the music, the dancing, the connections we make with history and heritage, but also the freedom of expression and friendships. I feel really lucky to have it in my life!”

28th October 2018

Melanie Barber, Mel Biggs, Charlotte Dover, Natalie Reid, Ed Worrall

Judges for the 2018 Open Morris Sue Dyke award