A lot has changed since the declaration of the first Turner Prize winner, Malcolm Morley in 1984 till the naming of this year's nominees. Now, in its 26th year, the Turner Prize is undoubtedly the most recognized and prestigious award in Britain in the field of contemporary art.

Over the years, the prize has developed and grown in stature to such an extent that art demonstrator, curators and bookmakers wait anxiously each year for the declaration of the winner. For the year 2010, the winner will be announced on December 6th.

Since its inception, the Turner Prize has played a significant role in provoking debate about visual art and the growing public interest in contemporary British art in particular. So, how does an exhibition stimulate such a lively exchange of opinions? What situations led to the creation of the award in 1980s, its sudden disappearance in 1990 and then again its re-emergence in the year 1991?

Scanning through the historical vignettes of the evolution of the award, it is intriguing to note that the Turner Prize has given the art-world some of the greatest talents. Named after the early nineteenth-century artist, JMW Turner, the award was founded by Tate Gallery's Patrons of New Art to provide a unique platform for young artists to display their creations.

Despite its initial popularity, conflicts in opinion arose partly because, to some, the whole idea of an art competition seemed demeaning to art and also because there was no specific criteria for selection. It was unclear whether the award should highlight known artistic talents or whether it should be used as a platform to recognize new talents.

Even if both types of artists are shortlisted, there was confusion as to how the selection between the two groups should be made.

For much of the early years, changes in the Prize terms and conditions were made. In 1990, bankruptcy of the sponsor, Drexel Burnham Lambert, forced the prize to be cancelled and some feared that the Prize would never re-surface again.

However, in 1991, the Prize bounced back with a new sponsor, Channel 4, and the works for the exhibition was reinstated. The current criteria for selection include an age-limit of fifty or less for an artist, born, living or working in Britain.

The Jury for the Turner Prize 2010 includes Isabel Carlos, Director, José de Azeredo Perdigão Modern Art Centre (CAMJAP), Lisbon; Philip Hensher, writer, critic and journalist; Andrew Nairne, Executive Director, Arts Strategy, Arts Council England, London and Polly Staple, Director, Chisenhale Gallery, London.

For this year, the nominated artists include:

Dexter Dalwood

Born in Bristol in 1960, he studied at Central St Martins, London (1981-85) and at the Royal College of Art, London (1988-90). Dalwood has been nominated for his solo exhibition at Tate St Ives which revealed the rich depth and range of his approach to making painting that draws upon historical tradition as well as contemporary cultural and political events.

Angela de la Cruz

Angela de la Cruz has been nominated for her solo exhibition, After at Camden Arts Centre, London. De la Cruz uses the language of painting and sculpture to create striking works that combine formal tension with a deeper emotional presence.

Susan Philipsz

She has been nominated for the presentations of her work Lowlands at the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art and Long Gone in the group exhibition Mirrors at the Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, Spain.

The Otolith Group

Founded by Kodwo Eshun and Anjalika Sagar in 2002, the Otolith Group have been nominated for their project 'A Long Time Between Suns', which took the form of exhibitions at Gasworks and The Showroom, London with accompanying publication.