Light shows, shoes, films, tattoos: They all feature among this year’s York Culture Awards finalists

Filmmaker and awards patron Mark Herman
26 Oct 2018 @ 9.58 am
| Entertainment

The finalists of the York Culture Awards 2018 have been revealed.

The shortlist covers categories from finest festival to best busker.

Filmmaker and awards patron Mark Herman said: “The list of finalists shows just what an exciting and hugely diverse range of talent there is in this city, and I wish everyone on it the very best of luck on the night.”

And chair of Make It York Jane Lady Gibson said: “The third year of the York Culture Awards has seen us reach the highest number of finalists to date and we are so pleased to have the chance to showcase even more wonderful work taking place in the city.”

So without further ado, here are your culture candidates…

Outstanding Community Arts Project

BBC Radio York asked listeners to come together to host events to create the biggest Cake & a Cuppa event on Yorkshire Day. This project involved more than 50 events and 3,000 people across York & North Yorkshire. This project was born out of a desire to tackle the effects of and stigma around loneliness and isolation by opening up conversations and creating stronger community.

Dot Day Across Borders was held at York Explore Library with 7 participants connecting live with participants from Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Portugal, USA & Mexico – there were 61 participants in total. Participants were asked to explore the book “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds through cross-cultural communication and collaboration, sharing their creations and expanding cultural knowledge.

Explore Labs runs activities at York Explore where stories, tech, history and creativity collide. There have been workshops, performances, exhibitions and artists residencies with 6,900 participants of all ages, 38 York artists and 55 cross-sector partnerships (involving community groups as well as national and international organisations). They celebrate the creative diversity of York.

Fulford Rocks is a rock decorating and hiding project for all ages and abilities. It’s primarily a “kindness project” meant to make the finder of the rock happy and improve their day. Fulford Rocks encourages creativity in hundreds of people and new members regularly join (there are now 200 members). It is an accessible and inclusive project that can improve people’s mental health and communication with others.

The York Mystery Plays involved 11 plays from the York Corpus Christi (“Mystery”) Plays performed on waggons across various city centre locations. Each play is organised by a different York community (including guilds, schools, universities, churches and theatre groups) and were performed to 3,000 people. The plays included approximately 200 actors/performers, 80 musicians and 100 creatives including directors, waggon masters and technicians.

Inspirational Teacher

Alison is the Director of Music at The Minster School and champions the Choral Outreach programme for York as well as running York Community Choir, York Junior Choir and York Chamber Choir. For Alison, music is a way of life, and this is a love that she shares with every child that takes part in her choirs and choral outreach projects.

April is a former graphic designer and is a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (Art Specialist Teacher) at Rufforth Primary School. She uses her strengths as a graphic designer to teach the full range of the primary art curriculum, skilfully developing children’s early artistic skills and knowledge of famous artists and works of art.

Ian is the Director of York Jazz Initiative and is the Musical Director of a number of music groups at the York Music Forum (Forum Funk, Youth Big Band, Jazz Explore, Youth Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Initiative Big Band), which involves around 80 adults and 50+ children. Ian has become an ambassador for Jazz music in York and is very proud of the children and adults in their musical achievements.

Roger is a Senior Guide at Fairfax House who has created and leads the museum’s volunteer training programme, where he trains new generations of room stewards, interpreters and guides. His passion to share knowledge, ability to communicate across all ages and backgrounds, and gift for sparking an interest in people combine to make him an inspirational teacher in the world of cultural heritage.

Excellence in Cultural Equality & Diversity

Access All Areas is a weekly theatre project developed to include the young people of York who are unable to otherwise access York Theatre Royal’s Youth Theatre and other projects. The aim is to remove all barriers and guarantee that any young person who wishes to can be included and participate in the life of York Theatre Royal. It provides free supported access to quality drama and theatre to young people in the city with the greatest need.

Set up by undergraduate students at the University of York, Flattered Collective have tackled issues of public harassment towards women, through original writing, performance, sound design and production. The Collective is founded by passionate young individuals below the age of 23 and has collaborated with people in and around York.

‘Sitters and their Stories’ saw five local sitters over 4 days, take to the hot seat to share their stories of diversity with a live audience, whilst having their portrait painted by award winning disabled artist Tanya Raabe-Webber. Whilst Tanya painted their portraits, audience members were invited to ask questions and create their own art using traditional drawing techniques, which was then projected onto the final portrait.

Out of Character is an innovative York theatre company which uses theatre to empower those who experience the social and economic disadvantages of mental health problems in York (it emerged as part of York St John University’s Converge programme). Their new production, ‘In/Hospitable’, was written and devised by a professional writer and the company members themselves drawing on their own experiences, interviews with mental health specialists in York and contributions from audience members.

Outstanding Cultural Festival (Small)

art&York is a 3-day show where visitors can buy and commission artwork direct from over 120 artists and designer-makers. art&York also includes interactive areas, workshops, talks, installations and live music so that the event offers the opportunity to get involved in making and creating for the visitors – making art accessible to all.

The Mini-Flower Festival was a 3-day series of events held on the York Explore Library Lawn as a part of the Bloom! Festival, creating a great British summer fete right in the heart of the city. These events included arts and crafts workshops, storytelling, wandering poets, rhyme times, digital making and more – all with a botanical theme.

TakeOver Festival is an arts festival organised and run entirely by young people aged 12-26 at York Theatre Royal with responsibility for programming, producing and marketing a diverse and ambitious week long programme. Team TakeOver 2017 wanted to explore the concept of walls with an exploration of the diverse barriers of stigma and prejudice in contemporary society and how we overcome these challenges.

The 2018 York Early Music Festival took on the theme of Power & Politics as inspiration. It illustrated this incredibly pertinent subject through a series of carefully programmed concerts, lectures and workshops showcasing how musicians have – throughout history – survived, and thrived, in times of conflict. In total, the Festival included 27 concerts, lectures and workshops & featured 137 musicians.

Outstanding Cultural Festival (Large)

Future Engineers brought together the history of the National Railway Museum’s unique collection with the contemporary issues that face the rail industry today. This cultural festival engaged visitors with science and engineering through a wealth of hands-on activities, Virtual Reality, rap, poetry and dance. The aim was to bring together engineers and visitors to challenge perceptions on what engineering is and what it looks like.

The Great Yorkshire Fringe Festival brought a packed programme of comedy, music, theatre, cabaret and magic to York where audiences range from babies to golden oldies. The heart of the Festival in Parliament Street played host to numerous local food concessions and The Angels Share mobile bars. The Great Yorkshire Fringe is a vibrant and exciting event for this fabulous city and is growing year on year.

York Balloon Fiesta was a packed out 3 days of free family fun, which included hot air balloons, fun fairs, birds of prey, dog shows, live music, children’s activities and workshops as well as amazing local food & ale. The Fiesta includes up to 50 Hot Air Balloons of all shapes, sizes and colours launching from the Knavesmire.

York Festival of Ideas exemplified the diverse culture of York in 2018 under the banner ‘Imagining the Impossible’ and offering something for every age and interest. The programme included a vast array of activities, talks and performances (there were 220 events in total) exploring our world whilst entertaining, educating and inspiring visitors to, and the residents of, York.

Outstanding Cultural Collaboration

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre collaborated with the renowned York Theatre Royal on two of the four Shakespeare productions staged at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre. York Theatre Royal’s artistic director Damian Cruden directed Macbeth while associate director Juliet Forster directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream. They garnered excellent reviews from both critics and the public alike.

To deliver the York Big Sing project, Explore York provided local libraries as venues and York Arts Education provided the expertise to run and manage the sessions. The project has successfully engaged a large number of adults, children and young people in a joint, accessible activity that supports community cohesion, mental health and wellbeing.

The Civic in Barnsley agreed to loan its unique collection of Vivienne Westwood shoes to York Castle Museum. With this loan confirmed, York Castle Museum (York Museums Trust) approached Vivienne Westwood and her studio team to collaborate with their curators on selecting and interpreting historic shoes that inspired their designs. As a result of this collaboration, thousands of people have engaged with and enjoyed this less well-known part of York’s rich cultural heritage.

York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre and York Castle Museum developed a commission brief and selected writer Rebecca Manley to write a site-specific play. These Walls was performed as a promenade piece inside and outside the Debtors’ prison, reflecting the stories that emerged from Museum collection, whether that be within a distinct period of time, or reflecting a broader range of stories over its long history.

Excellence in Media Arts

Engineering the Now was created by Soup Collective (Mark Thomas & Andy Seaton) and is a duel screen film that was shown at the National Railway Museum. It follows a day in the life of four rail engineers as they go about their work on some of today’s biggest and most transformative rail projects. The film inspires people to question their own perceptions about who an engineer is.

Northern Lights was created by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid and was an immersive surround sound and projection mapping artwork. Inspired by the Minster and York’s history, it was projected onto the ceiling of the Nave and the Heart of Yorkshire inside York Minster.

Yorkshire’s Jurassic World is a landmark exhibition combining world class collections with state of the art technology taking visitors on a journey to discover the lost giants and changing worlds of 150 million years ago. It was a collaboration between York Museums Trust, Bright White creative design consultancy and Hidden Horizons Museums & Heritage Consultancy.

Outstanding Performing Artist

Chechelele are an a cappella choir who collect and sing traditional songs from around the world and have been singing for 24 years in and around York. They are an inclusive choir that welcomes new members regardless of their musical background and are committed to giving an authentic presentation of the countries whose music they bring to their performances.

Ella played the lead, Mary Lennox, in The Secret Garden at York Theatre Royal, which was one of her first professional acting roles. This was a stunning and very special lead performance adored by audiences and critics alike.

James has presented three spell-binding performances that utilise physical performance skills, deep research into the roles and their contexts, and a gothic sensibility that suits both the streetscapes and theatres of York. These performances were Dracula (Bronzehead Theatre), Frankenstein’s Creature (Frightfest) and Lucifer (York Mystery Plays).

Outstanding Live Performance

The Clash of Champions hosts some of the best poets in the country, providing a high-quality evening of spoken word poetry. This year’s poetry ranged from humorous and heartfelt to political and included poetry on feminism, ableism, family, home, mental health and bees.

The Howl & The Hum are a York-based 4-piece band that embarked on their first headline tour in England in early 2018, which included a sold out performance at the Fulford Arms. They combine dark hypnotic pop with post-punk influences, pierced with lyrics that make you call your mum the next morning.

A stage adaptation of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel by Jessica Swale, which played at the York Theatre Royal. Director Liz Stevenson redirected, reimagined and recast the adaptation for York audiences that could be enjoyed by everyone.

The YMF Youth Jazz Orchestra has performed at a number of competitions, including the Music For Youth Regional Festivals and the Music For Youth National Festival. Following on from the National Festival, the YMF Youth Jazz Orchestra was invited to perform at the prestigious Music For Youth Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Outstanding Busker

Charlie is a young singer songwriter who busks with his guitar playing both covers and his own material. He is a skilled musician with a truly unique sound as well as being friendly, helpful, and very passionate about the busking opportunities in York.

Hyde Family Jam is made up of multiple musical talents from the York busking community and comprises a traditional arrangement of guitar, double bass, accordion, violin and vocals. Their performances always attract a huge crowd, bringing the visitors of York together.

Rachel is a musician who usually performs acoustically with her guitar and is inspired by Celtic melodies and the thoughtful lyrics of the likes of Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny and Matt Corby. Her authentic talent and the soft tone to her voice creates the perfect ambience at any of her busking performances.

Sam is a local performer who can often be seen busking in the Shambles Market. He plays covers acoustically on his guitar, adding a unique twist to any song. He has been dedicated to busking in York.

Simon plays guitar and sings with a loop pedal whilst riding Marigold (his 3 wheeled trike) around the city. Simon’s main influences are Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Animals and Creedence Clearwater Revival and he likes to engage with his audiences in fun and different ways, which make for unique experiences.

Outstanding Visual Artist

Charlotte started working as a freelance photographer in October 2017, and since then has had more photographs published in the national media – many of them featuring events in York – than any other female photographer. She has captured special moments in York’s cultural calendar and shared them with the world (she has been featured in the Daily Telegraph, Times and the Guardian).

Jelena is a York-based artist who uses pen and ink and draws inspiration from people, emotion and nature. She is a full-time artist, and contributes to York’s artistic life not just through her publicly visible art, but through community art classes which she runs and through the vibrant York artistic community in which she is closely involved.

Lauren is a tattoo artist and has her own tattoo studio, Adara Tattoo Collective. A running theme and stylistic feature in her pieces is the use of watercolour paint elements blended with realistic design to create a unique and collage type feel.

Sue creates portraiture that allows the vibrancy of the sitter to shine through with the use of a bold palette. She driven to raise awareness of ‘everyday people’ and to highlight how special and unique everyone is. Sue also enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion of art through workshops and tutored sessions.

Excellence in Writing

Oz is an internationally published poet whose recent work “Learning to have Lost” is a sequence of prose poetry addressing loss and transformation. Oz’s poetry has, over the past decade, built an international readership, and his work is often cited in academic studies of contemporary prose poetry. He has also supported, encouraged and advised those who are just embarking on their writing careers.

Pauline is an author, poet and critic as well as an editor at Fighting Cock Press and member of the Editorial Board of ‘Dream Catcher’ magazine. Her recent works include “Time Traveller” (poetry collection) and “Poetic Justice” (murder mystery novel). Pauline is incredibly versatile, writing in a range of styles and genres; she also freely gives her time and experience to help, promote and inspire others.

Robert is a poet whose most recent work “Riverain” represents his most ambitious poetry collection to date. The rivers Foss and Ouse are at the core of its spirit, as they are at the core of the city, and the poems collected in ‘Riverain’, while wide-ranging, are very much ‘of York’. He also actively promotes the role of creativity and culture in York’s present and future.

Rising Star

Eva Tankova is a young Bulgarian graphic design graduate from York St John University who undertook the promotional work for St Denys Church, Walmgate. Eva has been a big part of promoting awareness of the history and cultural heritage found at St Denys. Eva is a young designer who is looking to make her mark in the UK and has a love of York in particular.

Fran made a film as a part of Pilot Theatre’s “Eighteen” project about teenage mental health. She has shared her story as well as extending her project to include other young people in York. She also reached out to the health services and made a piece of work they are keen to share publicly to widen the knowledge and discourse around this important subject.

Joe was Lead Director of the 2018 Interactive Media Showcase, which was held at the University of York. This event was not only a success, but the first event of its scale, publicity and profile. He conceived the vision from the start, built the team and coordinated the delivery of the project plan, which demonstrated the vibrant convergence of the tech and creative media industries within York.

Ralph is a visual artist who accentuates the natural warping of wood to create vases and platters in reclaimed timber or native woods. His work is introducing an old craft in a new form and he is developing innovative techniques in his wood turning.

Best Cultural Experience

Cabaret of Dreams marked the 20th anniversary of the Hands & Voices choir and 35th anniversary of Accessible Arts & Media. Devised by a cast of 56 learning-disabled adults, the show included original songs and music, movement pieces, short films and animations and drama sequences. It explored the cast’s memories, dreams and hopes for the future, the show was in turns funny, entertaining, moving and poignant.

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre was Europe’s first ever pop-up Elizabethan theatre, constructed of scaffolding and timber next to Clifford’s Tower in Castle Car Park in the heart of the city of York. The theatre staged four of Shakespeare’s most popular plays (Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet and Richard III) and showcased a Shakespeare’s Village outside of the theatre with free ‘wagon’ performances as well as a traditional Elizabethan garden.

The Secret Garden was York Theatre Royal’s summer show, which was a stage adaptation of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel and was directed by Liz Stevenson. It inspired thousands of audience members as well as getting young people from York’s community involved by visiting the Secret Studio Garden and taking part in the activities there.

Cultural Champion

To be revealed at the awards