Dorothy Somerset Award for Performance Development in the Visual and Performing Arts


UBC VP Research

Sponsor deadline:

Award Details

Inaugurated in 1999, this biennial award pays tribute to legendary UBC figure Dorothy Somerset, former director of the UBC Players' Club and the driving force behind the establishment of the Frederic Wood Theatre.

This biennial awardconsisting of a certificate and prize in the amount of $1,000, is deemed UBC’s highest honour in the Arts and Education disciplines (in conjunction with the Sam Black Award offered in alternate years). The Dorothy Somerset Award recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to (which should include outstanding performances in) the fields of Art, Music, Creative Writing, Theatre and Film. 


Nominees must be:

  • Full-time tenure-stream faculty at UBC, and have held an appointment at UBC for at least 5 years as of the closing date for nominations.
    • For the November 2022 cycle, 5 years means they must have started at UBC in November 2017 or earlier.

Recipients are only eligible for one Dorothy Somerset and/or Sam Black Award in their lifetime.

Terms of the Award

  • One Dorothy Somerset Award will be available every other year.
  • The total value is $1,000, given to the recipient as an honorarium.

Selection Criteria

Nominations will be evaluated against the following two criteria:

  1. Evidence of outstanding contributions to (including outstanding performances in) one or more of the fields of Art, Music, Creative Writing, or Theatre and Film.
  2. Demonstrated evidence of the nominee's exceptional commitment to sharing research and knowledge beyond the academic community.

Nomination Process

  • Self-nominations are not accepted.
  • Faculty members must be nominated by two to three tenured or tenure-track faculty members in their Faculty.
  • Nominators must complete and submit all documentation.

Note: The Dean's office should be informed of the intention to submit a nomination and the name of the proposed nominee in order to avoid duplicate nominations. (Dean's signature not required.)

Nomination Package

Nominators must submit all required materials by the November 15 deadline using this nomination form.

Nomination form fields include:

  • Nominator information: Name, faculty, department, email address
  • Nominee information: Name, position, faculty and department, year started at UBC, year of PhD/terminal degree, email address
  • Citation (50 words): Please include a brief 50-word citation of the nominee's research written for a non-expert audience.

Documents required:

  1. Nomination letter (1,200 words): A joint letter of nomination signed by all (2-3) nominating individuals including the name, title, and affiliation of each nominator.
    • The letter should explain how the nominee meets the award criteria and why the nominee should be selected to receive the award.
  2. Letters of Support (3): Three external letters of support from arm's-length referees. Recommended 1,200 words max per letter.
    • References are deemed crucial in the selection process thus letters should be objective assessments of the nominee’s suitability for the prize. 
    • Referees should be external to UBC and internationally recognized in their field (i.e. outside of UBC and preferably one from outside Canada).
    • Referees must be at arm’s length and may not include thesis or dissertation supervisor(s), anyone the nominee has supervised, or anyone with whom the nominee has collaborated (as co-author or co-investigator) within the past 24 months.
    • At least one letter should be solicited from a professional, rather than academic source.
    • Letters must be signed and dated.
    • Letters in excess of three will not be considered.
  3. CV: Official updated UBC CV including complete list of publications (no page limit)


Please review the FAQs, and contact

Previous Award Winners


  • Neil Cadger (Creative Studies, Theatre)

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