J.B.C. Watkins Award: Architecture

In carrying out a project funded by the Canada Council, you must comply with health and travel measures in the jurisdiction where the funded activities take place. You must also follow all public health and travel measures, laws, and regulations issued by relevant government authorities.


The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from individuals, groups and organizations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority communities. The Canada Council is committed to reaffirming and revitalizing its relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

As part of a bequest from the estate of the late John B.C. Watkins, this award provides fellowships of $5,000 to Canadian architects who are pursuing graduate studies in any country other than Canada, and who are graduates of a Canadian university, postsecondary art institution or training school. Postgraduate schools include postsecondary institutions or training schools, whether or not these are degree-granting institutions.

Priority will be given to applicants wishing to carry out their studies in Denmark, Norway, Sweden or Iceland.

Deadline – 5 October 2024

If this date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

Your completed application form, required documents and support material must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). Incomplete or late applications will not be assessed.

Application limits – you can apply once per year

You may receive a maximum of 2 J.B.C. Watkins Awards in your lifetime.

Notification of results – approximately 5 months after the deadline date

Prize amount – $5,000

Eligibility – Who can apply?

To be eligible, you must be:

  • an architecture graduate with a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a Canadian university, postsecondary art institution or training school
  • a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • pursuing graduate studies in a country other than Canada.

You do not need to be living in Canada when you apply.

You cannot apply to this award for a program of graduate studies that has already been completed before the program deadline.

Application/Nomination Assistance

Application/Nomination Assistance contributes to costs for services to help with a prize application or nomination for individuals who self-identify as: 

  • Deaf, hard of hearing, having a disability or is living with a mental illness
  • First Nations, Inuit or Métis facing language, geographic and/or cultural barriers.

To submit a request, contact the Prizes team 1-4 weeks prior to the deadline. 

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. A peer assessment committee, composed of experienced professionals selected by the Canada Council for their expertise in their field of practice, will assess the eligible applications. Committee members will also be selected with consideration given to fair representation of artistic specializations, Canada’s 2 official languages, First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, Deaf and disability communities, gender, age and the cultural and regional diversity of Canada.

The peer assessment committee may decide not to award the prize in a given competition.

All peer assessment committee decisions are final.

Assessment criteria 

Your application will be evaluated based the following weighted criteria:

Merit (60%)

  • The quality of your architectural projects/research and the rationale for your studies

Impact (40%)

The potential of your studies:

  • to generate opportunities for professional growth
  • to lead you to contribute to a more equitable, diverse, inclusive and sustainable society.

Priority will be given to applicants wishing to carry out their studies in Denmark, Norway, Sweden or Iceland.

Required information and support material – What you need to submit

Please refer to the application form for detailed instructions. You will need to provide:

  • A research and study proposal (2 pages maximum)
  • A curriculum vitae (3 pages maximum)
  • A letter from the institution you are attending confirming your acceptance
  • A letter of recommendation from the Canadian institution from which you graduated
  • A portfolio of digital images (20 pages maximum)

Application preparation

  • The Canada Council will make eligibility decisions based on the information you provide.
  • You are responsible for providing all the information and support material requested.
  • Submit only the material requested. Extra material will not be shown to the peer assessment committee.
  • Carefully choose your support material as committee members have limited time in which to review each application.
  • In addition to filling out your contact information in the application form, if you have an account on the Canada Council’s portal, please ensure that the information is up to date.

Personal information

Personal information collected in this application shall be used for purposes related directly to the program, service or activity of the Canada Council.

The Canada Council may share personal information from applications and nominations for awards with officials in other arts and cultural industry funding agencies and government institutions on a confidential basis. Shared information is limited to your name, contact information, field of practice and project description, and is provided to assist with research, reporting, program planning and evaluation, to present networking or economic opportunities, or to respond to federal reviews. For more information on how your personal information is protected, see our Privacy Notice.

Prize terms and conditions

If your application is successful, the terms and conditions will be outlined in a notification letter.

Prize payment

The Canada Council will send you the prize money after it has received your acknowledgement form. Winners cannot receive the prize money until all overdue final reports for Canada Council grants and prizes have been submitted and approved. No posthumous awards will be given.

Tax status

This prize is taxable and a T4A slip will be issued, at the appropriate time, for grants and awards paid to individuals. When determining your project start date, individuals should be aware that according to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), expenses incurred in the year immediately before a prize is received are only deductible from the prize if they are incurred after the artist has received notification that the prize will be paid. For more information about income taxes and your prize, please refer to our website. If you have any tax-related questions, please contact the CRA or your provincial or territorial revenue department.

Changes to proposed programs of studies

If you cannot, for any reason, or if you decide not to carry out your proposed program of studies, you must notify the Canada Council immediately. Any changes to the program of study must be approved by the program officer before you carry them out.

Expiry date of the prize

The prize funds will be available for your use for 3 years following the competition deadline date that you apply to. The end of this 3-year period is the expiry date of your award.

Final report

You will be required to submit a final report by the date identified in your notification letter.

Previous winners

Visit the J.B.C. Watkins Award: Architecture web page to download a list of past winners.

Instructions – How do I submit my application?

Send your completed application form, required documents and support material as 1 email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to architecture-prizes@canadacouncil.ca. Please include the name of the prize in the subject line. The total maximum file size including attachments is 25 MB. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 business days, please contact us to ensure that we have received your application.

Contact information


1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 6004