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08/12/2016
News release - Issued by Make It York

York Culture Awards 2016 Winners Revealed

Winners in the first annual York Culture Awards, sponsored by Benenden, have been announced and are set to raise the bar of the cultural scene in York.

Winners were revealed at a celebration of culture in the city, hosted by BBC Radio York’s Breakfast Presenter, Georgey Spanswick, which was held last night (1 December) at the Central Methodist Church, York. The awards ceremony, stage managed by leading event company R&B Group, opened with a showing of a film, showcasing the cultural vibrancy of the city, produced by local film maker Ben Porter and narrated by York poet Dave Jarman.

Other musical performances included fifteen young people with disabilities from the Accessible Arts and Media IMPs project, songs by York Theatre Royal choir and live music led by Adam Parrish, York St John University graduate, who performed the entertainment highlight of the evening; a specially commissioned piece by world-renowned composer Peter Byrom-Smith.

Peter said, “'It was a pleasure to be asked to write a piece of music for the first York Culture Awards! Born in this city, too many years ago than I like to think, composing has led me to work all over the world, where my music has been performed, recorded and broadcast. However, York is still my birthplace, so having a work performed here is pretty cool, to say the least.” Arts Barge Collective were the in-house band for the evening, performing live music stings throughout the ceremony. The York Culture Awards were created to celebrate excellence in the city’s arts and cultural sector. Over 120 entries were received for the awards and the panel of independent judges chose 11 winners out of the 32 finalists:

Winners:

Cultural Partnership - Sponsored by Yorkshire Ventures (Real Estate) Ltd
Winner: Vespertine

Community Project or Event - Sponsored by Native Architects
Winner: Text, Technology, Disability and Art Project – by New Visuality
Highly Commended: York Museums Trust

Cultural Education – Sponsored by Ice Cubed Capital Ltd
Winner: Fulford School

Cultural Equality and Diversity – Sponsored by Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Winner: IMPs Project - by Accessible Arts and Media
Highly Commended: Sue Lister

Cultural Event or Festival – Sponsored by Leeds Bradford Airport & British Airways
Winner: TakeOver Festival - By York Theatre Royal

Film – Sponsored by the University of York
Winner: We are only human – By Catherine Mason

Performing Artist/s – Sponsored by Explore York Libraries & Archives
Winner: Mad Alice

Production – Sponsored by First York
Winner: York Minster Mystery Plays

Visual Artist – Sponsored by Rushbond plc
Winner: York Panorama - By Emily Harvey

Writer – Sponsored by York St John University
Winner: The Stonegate Devil – By Carole Bromley

Cultural Champion – Sponsored by Benenden
Rose Kent, Managing and Creative Director, Accessible Arts and Media

This new awards ceremony for the city boasts York born and award-winning actor Mark Addy as patron and was set up by Make It York to celebrate excellence in the arts and cultural sector and reward outstanding innovation, creativity and quality.

Jane Lady Gibson, Chair of Make It York said, “In December 2015 York celebrated its one year anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Media Arts; the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) opened placing York at the forefront of British Studio ceramics and the Living Heritage Centre opened at the Bar Convent. The Flying Scotsman returned to the National Railway Museum, York Theatre Royal re-opened after its multi-million makeover and York Mystery Plays wowed audiences at York Minster. It felt as if there had never been a better time to celebrate culture in the city.”

“The quality and sheer variety of entrants demonstrates the wealth of cultural activity happening right here in York. I’d like to congratulate all the winners and finalists who do so much to contribute to all the innovative and creative work going on around the city.”

Mark Addy, official Patron for the Awards, added his backing to the celebration. Mark said, “It’s been a fantastic evening. Tonight just goes to show what can be achieved when people get together to make things happen. The energy and creativity in the room has been electric.”

Lady Gibson also made a special tribute to Kippa Matthews, York based award-winning photographer, who died earlier this year. She praised his legacy and his contribution to photography in his adopted city of York.

The eleven Awards included; Cultural Partnership, Community Project or Event, Cultural Champion, Cultural Education, Cultural Equality and Diversity, Cultural Event or Festival, Film, Performing Artist/s, Production, Visual Artist and Writer.

The Awards were judged by an independent panel including, Professor Chris Bailey and Dr Fiona Thompson, York St John University, Gill Greaves, Arts Council England, Colin Jackson, Creative Learning Partnerships, Phil Thorn, Hiscox, Professor Judith Buchanan, University of York and Charles Hutchinson, The Press.

Lawrence Christensen, Group Marketing Director at Benenden, said, “The awards are a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work that is happening and really celebrate York’s rich culture. I’d like to congratulate all the winners.”

ENDS


 

Notes to editors:

Winners’ Profiles:

Cultural Partnership
Winner: Vespertine
Launched in May 2015, emerging from a partnership established by York@Large, York Theatre Royal and Make It York and led by York Archaeological Trust, Vespertine is a series of 18 monthly events. Its aim is to stimulate the early evening economy, each Vespertine event brings together two or more of the twenty cultural organisations involved. With innovative and accessible programming at its core, Vespertine champions unique experiences for all, which so far has included; music, performance, light projection and art installations. The programme is made possible by support from Arts Council England.

Community Project or Event
Winner: ‘Text’ – By New Visuality
York’s contemporary gallery, According To McGee, straddled the worlds of analogue and digital with the art exhibition, ‘Text’, in late 2015. Curated via this Tower Street gallery's charitable arm, New Visuality, ‘Text’ showcased posters of tweets and slogans written by the public and learners with disabilities at the Blueberry Academy.

Cultural Education
Winner: Fulford School
Fulford School has a strong record in the arts, particularly in extracurricular practice. Art, music and drama provide opportunities to shine and develop in and out of lessons. There are regular productions and an active music academy, which encompasses evening tuition and an extended curriculum offer that engages and inspires a range of students.

Cultural Equality and Diversity
Winner: Accessible Arts & Media IMPs Project – By Accessible Arts and Media
Accessible Arts & Media (AAM) is a charity which create arts, digital media and training programmes that are tailored to the needs and aspirations of the people they work with. The core aim of IMPs is to bring together disabled and non-disabled children and young people as equals. All IMPs members get the chance to make music, develop new skills and build confidence and mutual understanding.

Cultural Event or Festival
Winner: TakeOver Festival –By York Theatre Royal
TakeOver 2015/16 was a multi-arts festival coordinated entirely by 12- 26 year olds across York. 2015 saw TakeOver take on the National Railway Museum’s busiest week- October half term, replacing all of its ‘usual’ activities. The festival immersed itself and its audience at the heart of York’s heritage. TakeOver’s return to York Theatre Royal in July 2016 represented young people’s desire for a voice in society; with the program addressing issues from racism to homelessness. This is all achieved with an underlying commitment to high quality work from the critically acclaimed to emerging local artists.

Film
Winner: We are only human – By Catherine Mason
Catherine Mason was a student at York St John University in her final year during 2015/16 and graduated from the BA Hons Film & Television Production degree in the summer of 2016. The series of webisodes, We Are Only Human, were Catherine’s idea and were done as part of her final-year project so they represent the culmination of her degree in film-making. We Are Only Human is a series of webisodes or very short films aimed at the online market, and helping to open people’s eyes to the different ways in which movement helps people to ‘escape’ their possibly mundane lives and recreate themselves. Through the use of coloured powder paint during their performances, the film-maker wanted to show expressionism and freedom.

Performing Artist
Winner: Mad Alice
Alicia Stabler assumes the guise of Mad Alice for The Bloody Tour of York. Alicia began acting in 2006 having had no formal theatre training and took on work as an actor at The York Dungeon. After joining the cast of the York Mystery Plays in 2012, Alicia then became part of the York Light Opera Company and performed in plays such as Oliver, Hot Mikado and Avenue Q. In 2013, Alicia decided to brave the streets in an entertaining and historical fashion and became Mad Alice, a Wench leading visitors around the streets of York with The Bloody Tour of York on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Production
Winner: York Minster Mystery Plays
This summer saw York Minster transformed into a vast auditorium as York Mystery Plays returned to its spiritual home. True to tradition it was essentially a community production, featuring just one paid actor working alongside a vast army of Mystery Makers. Over the course of the 5 week run they played to over 26,000 people. It was a critical success, achieving 4 out of 5 star reviews in both The Guardian and The Observer.

Visual Artist
York Panorama – By Emily Harvey
This work, commissioned by York Explore Libraries and Archives, is a coloured textured panel made from plaster; the design is laid out as an ancient stone wall, inspired by the city walls. The stone blocks contain images illustrating aspects of everyday life in York today, as well as an impression of the life of the city continuing from the earliest inhabitants and on into the future. The panel is at York Explore Library and Archives Learning Centre and York Explore has produced an education pack about the panel for use by schools groups, encouraging students to investigate the history of York and add their own interpretations. The details in the panel have sparked many conversations between people of all ages sharing things they remember and enjoy about living in York.

Writer
Winner: The Stonegate Devil – By Carole Bromley
The Stonegate Devil is Carole Bromley's second collection. The book has a strong York flavour and explores local places and the stories associated with them as well as the poet's Yorkshire childhood, coming of age and relationships. There are poems sparked by travels to Ireland, Japan and Australia and others whose subjects are closer to home. A number explore Bromley's experience of teaching and writing and there are also moving poems about birth and death, especially the loss of a close friend and of the poet's own mother. This remarkable collection demonstrates Carole Bromley's widely acknowledged mastery of her craft and a wide variety of poetic forms.

Cultural Champion
Rose Kent
Rose Kent is the Managing and Creative Director of Accessible Arts and Media, a post she has held since 1992. Judges commended Rose for being an inspiration, not just to the cultural sector but to officials working in health and social services. She is energetic in her support for Tang Hall Big Local and in promoting culture and wellbeing in York. Accessible Arts and Media has touched the lives of tens of thousands of people, many of them vulnerable or experiencing physical or mental challenges. Her skills as an arts practitioner have been central to raising AA Media’s profile to the award-wining organisation it is today. Thanks to Rose York is home to a unique range of specialist disability youth programmes.

Background
In December 2015 York celebrated its one year anniversary of being designated a UNESCO City of Media Arts; In Fog and Falling Snow was heralded a triumph, delivered by York Theatre Royal with 200 community actors; the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) opened placing York at the forefront of British Studio ceramics and the Living Heritage Centre opened at the Bar Convent. And on 20th January, at the York Tourism Conference, some of the city’s top tourist attractions announced their plans for 2016, including details about the return of the Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum, York Theatre Royal’s re-opening and plans for York Mystery Plays at York Minster. York’s cultural landscape is changing and these new awards have been launched to celebrate culture in the city in all its forms.

Make It York
Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally - as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business.

Benenden
Benenden is the trading name of The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited and its subsidiaries. Based in York, their vision is to be the leading health & wellbeing mutual community in the UK.

The Benenden Healthcare Society Limited is a friendly society, founded in 1905. It offers affordable, discretionary healthcare services that complement rather than replace the care offered by the NHS. For £8.71 per person, per month, members can request a range of healthcare services, with no exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions or upper age restrictions. It is a five-time winner of ‘Most Trusted’ healthcare provider at the 2011-2015 Moneywise Customer Service Awards.

The Full List of Finalists is as Follows:

Best Cultural Partnership – Sponsored by Yorkshire Ventures (Real Estate) Ltd
Vespertine
English Heritage
ICAN - The International Centre for Arts and Narrative

Community Project or Event – Sponsored by Native Architects
Text by New Visuality
The Fleeting Arms
York Museums Trust

Cultural Education – Sponsored by Ice Cubed Capital Ltd
Acomb Primary School
Fulford School
York Independent/State School Partnership

Cultural Equality and Diversity – Sponsored by Joseph Rowntree Foundation
Converge
City Screen
IMP’s Project by Accessible Arts & Media
York Shakespeare Project
Sue Lister

Cultural Event or Festival – Sponsored by Leeds Bradford Airport/British Airways
Takeover Festival
Festival of Ideas
York Open Studios

Film – Sponsored by University of York
Spotlight Jonny Long and the Vale Skate Mag by Ben Porter
We are only human by Catherine Mason
Steady Past Your Grandma while she’s dancing by Sam Lawrence

Performing Artist – Sponsored by Explore York Libraries and Archives
New York Brass Band
Joshua Burnell
Mad Alice

Production – sponsored by First York
Pantomime by York Theatre Royal
Mystery Plays by York Minster
The Machine Stops by Pilot Theatre/York Theatre Royal

Visual Artist – Sponsored by Rushbond Plc
York Panorama by Emily Harvey
Lauren Roberts
The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures by Mark Hearld

Writer – Sponsored by York St John University
The House of Memory by Oz Hardwick
The Stonegate Devil by Carole Bromley
The Beggars of York by Don Walls

Cultural Champion – Sponsored by Benenden
Announced at the event

Peter Byrom Smith’s full comment:

“It was a pleasure to be asked to write a piece of music for the first York Culture Awards! Born in this city, too many years ago than I like to think, composing has led me to work all over the world, where my music has been performed, recorded and broadcast. However, York is still my birthplace, so having a work performed here is pretty cool, to say the least. Although 'Within These Walls' was originally written for a traditional classical ensemble, I decided that it would be more exciting and appropriate if I re-scored it for a rock band. Doing so, I think, highlights what the essence of these awards are about - culture for, and by everyone. So changing from one genre to another seems an ideal way of sharing my personal thoughts about the music and arts within these ancient city walls, whilst at the same time showing how all the varied musical input of the city is also making a more modern stylistic statement of intent for the future. I am really sorry I cannot be there tonight, but hope you have a wonderful evening and you enjoy my work!”