The Journal Culture Awards 2008 took place at Northern Stage, Newcastle in March 2009.
Presented by BBC Tees radio presenter, Bob Fischer, performances came from Sharks Took The Rest - who made their live on stage debut at the event; students from Newcastle College who performed monologues inspired by Don’t Look Back in Anger and performance poet Kate Fox, who would go on to host the awards herself.
The trophies were designed and made by ceramicist, Christine Constant.
Visual Artist of the Year: Laura Lancaster
A huge year for Laura Lancaster, a 2001 Northumbria University Graduate, 2008 saw her achieve great success.
Her work was included in galleries in London, Poland and Rome. Particularly notable was her month long residency at the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland. Other museums that played host to her work throughout the year included the Poznan Biennial, Monitor Gallery and the Royal Academy in London.
Laura went on to win the Visual Artist Award for a second time in 2010 and has spent her time since 2008 creating and enjoying international success thanks to a host of solo and group exhibitions at galleries all over the world.
She is currently working on her 2015 and 2016 exhibitions scheduled for Musée d’art Moderne de Saint-Etiene and New Art Gallery
Performing Artist of the Year: The Futureheads
With the release of their third album This is Not the World, The Futureheads gained top 20 success in the UK album chart thanks to tracks such as Beginning of the Twist. The Sunderland band also spent 2008 playing at festivals on a world tour which culminated with a performance at the Sage Gateshead just before Christmas.
In addition, it was during this time the band decided to set up their own record label, Nul Records, from where they would release all future albums.
At the time of winning, the band were looking at spending 2009 running their record label and recording a fourth album.
Said album: The Chaos was released in 2010. The next album: Rant came in 2012 and featured only a capella versions of previous songs and folk songs.
With no current plans to release more material, members of the band are doing their own thing. Drummer Dave Hyde joined Neil Basset (formerly of the Golden Virgins) to form Hyde and Beast (nominated in the Performing Artist of the Year category at the 2014 awards) while Barry Hyde has been working on solo material and Ross Millard has joined the line up of Frankie and the Heartstrings.
Twitter: @thefutureheads and @Hydeandbeast
Performance of the Year: We Got Mittens Too at the Lit and Phil, Newcastle
Inspired by writing and material focusing on the World War One that can be found in the Lit and Phil, this event was created to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Written by Kay Eason, the idea took the material found in the library and combined it with the stories told by people from the library over the years. The piece was produced by the November Club who spent time in Belgium researching the period and partnered with Newcastle College and the Northumbria Army Cadet Force.
The November Club have produced a number of projects that blur the lines between performance and exploration, usually focusing on interesting stories of Newcastle’s history. Works have included Moving into Delaval Hall and 2014’s Cautionary Tales from the Trenches.
Newcomer of the Year: Alex Charrington
Working from a studio in Byker, part of 2008 saw the results of Alex’s systematic approach to work unveiled when his first solo exhibition New Adventures in Robotic Watercolour Painting opened at the Globe City Gallery.
This was just one big part of the many things Alex achieved throughout the year, also taking on two public art commissions to be displayed in Gateshead College and Newcastle Building Society.
Alex has worked on a wide range of projects since winning including collaboration with Hole Editions and a 2012 residency at Cambridge’s Print Studio.
Writer of the Year: Paul Batchelor
Taking it’s title from what Paul Batchelor calls “The subsiding roads in Northumberland that were built in mines”, 2008 saw the publication of Sinking Roads, the writer’s first full book of poetry.
This came after a decade of focusing his efforts on writing poetry and drew on his family’s mining background.
His work has appeared in anthologies such as Identity Parade (Bloodaxe, 2010), The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry (Penguin, 2010), When Love Speaks (Vintage, 2011) and Being Human (Bloodaxe, 2011).
At Newcastle University, Paul wrote a PhD on the poetry of Barry MacSweeney. He is a freelance writer and teacher, and regularly reviews for the Guardian, The Times and the Times Literary Supplement. He is currently one of the Poetry Book Society pamphlet selectors.
Best Arts and Business Partnership: Eaga and Live Theatre
The partnership between Eaga and Live Theatre saw a group of young writers and performers given the opportunity to ask members of Eaga - a business focusing of environmental issues - questions regarding issues such as climate change so that they could use this information to produce a series of short plays focussing around environmental issues.
The plays were ultimately performed as part of the Live Theatre’s Small Steps in December 2008 and featured pieces such as the Pollution Panto about a villain called Smog who sought to use pollution to destroy the Earth.
North East Museum Award: North Face - Photographs from the National Portrait Gallery
An exhibition featuring a unique collaboration between a Tyne and Wear Museums and the National Portrait Gallery in London, North Face was spread across 10 carefully selected museums in the North East.
Each Museum played host to a portrait of a celebrity who had either strong links or was originally from the region. Nine of the portraits were loaned from the National Portrait gallery, including those of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, Jack Charlton and Rowan Atkinson. The 10 Portrait was a specially commissioned portrait of musician Kathryn Tickell.
Twitter: @TWArchives and @npglondon
Arts Council Award: AV Festival 08
Every two years, the AV Festival celebrates film, art and music with events taking place in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and Middlesbrough.
The 2008 event focused on broadcasting, celebrating 100 years of on-air transmission.
Consisting of more than 100 events over the course of the week, the festival offered a way to open a dialogue on where broadcasting might be heading in the future. Drawing in over 43,000 visitors from around the world went a long way towards realising that ambition.
The festival’s programme included Zoviet France’s recreation of a 1966 performance from John Cage and a version of a particularly important moment in broadcasting history, the War of the Worlds Radio play rewritten and directed for the 2008 event by Joanna Read.
The AV Festival has grown into a significant multimedia event which draws international audiences to the North East every other year.
It has gained a reputation as one of the UK’s key art festivals. The most recent festival took place in 2014 and has once again been nominated for the Arts Council Award.
Best Event Northumberland: Blyth in a New Light
Winning the Best Event Northumberland Award for the second consecutive year, Blyth in a New Light’s 2008 show proved that even in it’s third year it could still had the ability to find new ways to exhilarate the 35,000 residents and visitors who showed up for the event.
Not content with simply providing a good show above Blyth’s pier, the 2008 event saw the show turn the town into something like a fairytale by lighting up the buildings and houses. As well as this, the night played host to a number of street theatre performances.
Best Event Tyneside: Enchanted Parks
Another event that transformed a public space into a fairytale wonderland, Enchanted Parks’ second year saw around 20 artists creating work in Gateshead’s Saltwell Park which responded to the theme of ‘Stories of the Wintertime’.
The resulting work captivated the family audiences with the wintery magic of pieces such as the luminous recreation of the first meeting between Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.
Originally a one-off event, Enchanted Parks has become so popular that now takes place over a number of days and has become the hottest of Christmas time tickets.
Over the past nine years 78 professional pieces of site specific outdoor artwork have been presented in Saltwell Park, the vast majority commissioned especially for the event.
The event has also engaged with schools and community groups in the development of many of the artworks as well as directly commissioning a further 27 pieces of artwork from students.
Best Event Sunderland: Beautifully Crafted
This was an exhibition which sought to look at the way in which we live by displaying beautiful and creatively crafted versions of every day objects.
According to Alex Evans who was creative producer at the National Glass Centre at the time of the exhibition, there was a strong focus on using artists whose work wouldn’t usually be seen.
Evans said: “Through word of mouth and plenty of research we discovered artists using art and craft techniques in some wonderful or unusual ways.”
As a result of this effort, the final exhibition displayed the work of 70 artists - 15 of these being from the North East.
Best Event Durham: Durham Enlightenment
Presented as part of Newcastle Gateshead Initiative’s EAST08 programme, the Enlightenment looked at Durham as a city with both an incredibly strong religious history and an incredibly strong industrial history.
The event featured four light-based art installations: Calcutta Lights by Nandita Palchoudhuri; Light of Darkness by Sanchayan Ghosh; Lulu Quinn’s Chandelier; and Julie Westerman’s Illuminated Carpet which combined to form a trail that led through Durham and interpreted the city’s history through the eyes of two differing Cultures.
The event served as the precursor to light festival Lumiere which has thrilled thousands of visitors in the intervening years.
Lumiere will return to Durham from November 12-15, 2015.
Best Event Teesside: Bauhaus exhibition at mima
Drawing interest towards Middlesbrough from publications as far away as Russia and China, this exhibition on the Bauhaus Movement, which overhauled the look and social order in Germany shortly after the First World War, was the first such event in the UK for 40 years.
The 45,000 visitors who came to Middlesbrough to see the exhibition were treated to works designed using the Bauhaus aesthetic.
Special Contribution to North East arts and culture: Jon Bewley
The first recipient of the Special Contribution Award, by 2008 Jon Bewley had spent over 30 years making impossible things a reality.
The director of visual arts commissioning agency Locus+, Jon and his team have been creating opportunities and working with issue based artists to produce art whether or not a formal art space has been available.
Though Locus+ was formally established in 1993, it is known that Jon’s work goes all the way back to 1979 with his involvement in the Basement Group - made up of six determined artists who showcased their work, using a basement on Pilgrim Street to host their exhibitions. This ultimately led to Jon forming Project UK which holds the distinction of being the first office-based visual arts organisation in the UK.
Since 2008 Locus+ has continued to help artists in producing innovative and otherwise potentially impossible artworks. This has included Richard Grayson’s 2010 work The Magpie Index, 2012’s The End of Civilisation by Douglas Gordon and amongst many, many others, two Jonathan Monk works: 2014’s A Small Glass Christmas Tree Ornament Placed Inside a Padded Envelope and Stamped on and A Copy of Richard Hamilton, Whitley Bay.