The Journal Culture Awards 2010 were held at Durham’s Gala Theatre for the second consecutive year.
Compere for the evening was performance poet, stand-up comedian and Radio Four regular Kate Fox, who peppered proceedings with a warm wit and more than a few bespoke poems for the occasion.
Meanwhile, an eclectic and lovely bill of entertainment was provided by Sunderland foursome The Futureheads, Gateshead-based singer/songwriter (and Newcomer of the Year nominee) Lesley Roley and an innovative pairing of the Pittington Brass Band and Winter Atlantic, who recreated a piece which had been performed as part of last year’s BRASS festival in Durham.
The ‘trophies’ were designed and made by glass artist and print-maker Bridget Jones who made a print for the winners to hang on their walls.
Visual Artist of the Year: Laura Lancaster
After winning the Culture Visual Artist of the Year award in 2008, Laura Lancaster’s self-titled exhibitions at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle and the DLI Museum in Durham, as well as You are a Movement at the Workplace Gallery earned her the title of 2010 winner in the same category.
Originally from Hartlepool, Lancaster studied Fine Art at Northumbria University; much of her work incorporated found images to create a piece of art, including oil paintings and installations that offset the sentimentality of the initial photograph. Since receiving her second Culture award, Lancaster has produced many more exhibitions every year nationally and internationally, including The Armory in New York in 2012, Conversations behind Glass in 2013, works in the Wooson Gallery in South Korea in 2014, the Musée d’art Moderne de Saint-Etiene in 2015 and an upcoming showing at the New Art Gallery Walsall in 2016.
Performing Artist of the Year: Scott Turnbull
Scott Turnbull was given the winner’s medal for his role as awkward teenager Adam, an OCD sufferer, in the stage adaptation of fellow Teessider Richard Milward’s novel Apples.
After graduating from the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Turnbull went on to star in Newcastle-set children’s drama Byker Grove before developing a highly successful theatre career in the region. He enjoyed acclaimed performances in The Rubber Room, The Tempest and Heartbreak Soup.
With a Culture award to his name, Turnbull co-starred in Gods are Fallen and All Safety Gone in Leeds in 2014, exploring the angst ridden relationship between mother and daughter, in which he played the daughter. The production came to Northern Stage in June 2015.
After starring in children’s programme Wolf Blood, Turnbull also began voiceover work and can be heard in well-known adverts and Sky television channels.
Newcomer of the Year: Chris Ramsey
When local comedian Chris Ramsey won Newcomer of the Year at the 2010 Culture Awards he had only been in comedy for three years and his career was just taking off.
Five years later Chris has become a household name, starring in BBC2 sitcom Hebburn as one of the main characters, Jack.
He has performed three sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, one of which was nominated for the Fosters Comedy Award in 2011 and went to become a national tour throughout 2012.
Chis is currently previewing his next tour, following an extended run of The Most Dangerous Man on Saturday Morning Television. You can catch Chris on a selection of television comedy panel shows throughout the year for a taste of his work if you’re in need of a laugh.
Performance of the Year: Building Palaces
Gateshead-based Unfolding Theatre asked 100 local people the question: if you could build your own palace, what would it be? Their answers – and those of a collection of performance artists – informed, illustrated and shaped a series of stunning promenade performances in The Stephenson Works, Newcastle, where Robert Stephenson built his world-changing Locomotion. Singer/songwriter Beccy Owen, percussionist Brendan Murphy and actors Jane Arnfield, Alex Elliott and Pady O’Connor were among the performers who invited audiences into their palaces of dreams and entertained them while they were there.
Unfolding Theatre continue to develop and produce exciting theatre productions. A 2016 show, Putting the Band Back Together is currently in development with Ross Millard from The Futureheads and the Cultural Spring, encouraging people to blow the dust off their never used instruments and share the stories as to why they stopped playing in the first place.
Writer of the Year: Chris Mullin
Former MP turned author and public speaker Chris Mullin received the Writer of the Year award in 2010 after the success of the first two volumes of his political diaries, the second of which was published that same year.
He has since released the third and final book, A Walk On Part, his diaries from 1994-1999, detailing the rise and fall of New Labour.
The success of the book led to it being adapted for the stage in 2011, transferring to Live Theatre and London’s Soho Theatre the following year.
Mullin does a lot of public appearances and is currently touring with Tony Benn: An Appreciation.
Best Arts and Business Partnership: The NewBridge Project
Since opening in 2010, the year it was awarded Best Arts and Business Partnership, The NewBridge Project has gone from strength to strength.
An artist led community, the initiative aims to support emerging local talent in a shared workspace and collaborative environment.
The project now includes over 80 artists, hosting monthly exhibitions, talks and events with a wide range of subject matter. In 2015, The NewBridge Project has showcased Urban Organisms, an exhibition looking creatively at sustainable food sources in cities and encouraging new ideas from participants.
Events included film screenings, Edible Food Walks in Newcastle city centre and City Growing workshops, among many other talks and opportunities.
North East Museum Award: Culture Shock
The winner of 2010’s North East Museum Award incorporated not one, but four different regional museums, which were all part of the Culture Shock! project.
The scheme aimed to change how museums contributed to cultural identity and showcased the largest digital storytelling initiative in the world, collecting photographs from local people to demonstrate the history and citizenship of different areas. The project has gone on to have more than 550 people participate with their photos and memories and created their own festival at the end of 2010, with special events in Durham, Tyne and Wear and across Tees Valley.
Best Event Tyneside: Jenny Holzer at BALTIC
Artist Jenny Holzer showed off her illuminating talents in the North East in 2010, with her exhibition at the Baltic in Gateshead.
A textual artist, Holzer has exhibited work throughout the world, projecting words from found materials such as government releases and her own slogans onto buildings and in galleries.
Events featuring Holzer’s work have taken place in cities internationally consistently in the time since her win, including For Krakow at the Art Boom Festival in Poland in 2011, Endgame in her home city of New York in 2012, 2013’s Light Stream in Hong Kong, The Progress Trap at 2014’s Dutch Electronic Art Festival in Rotterdam and one of her current shows, the self-titled Jenny Holzer in Venice, to name a few.
Best Event Teesside: Temenos and Amish Kapoor exhibition at mima
The long-awaited launch of Temenos, a giant artwork designed by world-renowned duo artist Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond did nothing to disappoint. The £2.7m artwork, which was built by Balfour Beatty, and drapes the skyline around Middlesbrough’s Middlehaven regeneration area, was unveiled in June, towering 164ft above the ground (that’s 99ft higher than the Angel of the North). The official welcome for Temenos came just a few weeks after the duo had been chosen to design the centrepiece for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the five years since he has gone on to create many more exhibitions internationally and received a knighthood in the birthday honours in 2013 for services to visual arts. Kapoor was also given an honorary degree from Oxford University in 2014, as well as the Premium Imperiale in 2011. His piece Leviathan was installed for the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011 while Dirty Corner was exhibited in Milan.
Best Event Sunderland: The Glass Delusion exhibition at the Winter Gardens
This impressive exhibition brought together an eclectic and fascinating selection of art, artists and artefacts.
Highlights included scientific glass maker Alan Bennett’s Klein bottles; an exploration of the Mobius strip in three dimensions; Beryl Sokoloff’s film, My Mirrored Hope, which immortalised Clarence Schmidt’s House of Mirrors; notebooks from the National Science Museum, belonging to mathematician, inventor and mechanical engineer Charles Babbage; Attila Csörgö’s Magnet Spring which consisted of a series of aligned, but not touching, glass panes held in balance purely by magnectic force; and Michelangelo Pistolleto’s Cubic Metre of Infinity.
The exhibition featured artefacts from national collections such as the Science Museum and Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. Historic objects were placed alongside contemporary artworks. Co-curated by Italian curator Alessandra Pace with National Glass Centre creative director, Grainne Sweeney, the exhibition also included The Glass Music Programme; a unique performance of the legendary Glass Harmonica by Alasdair Molloy, inspired by the exhibition.
Best Event Durham: BRASS: Durham International Festival
The streets of Durham were filled with music as performers from 20 countries were involved in concerts around Durham, Sunderland and Darlington, with the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra, Jazzie B and Batucada Sound Machine to name a few sharing their music with local people.
Highlights included the Streets of Brass opening weekends The Miners Hymn, a year-long collaboration between American and Icelandic artists.
Brass continues to offer a must-see programme of performances and events in Durham during its slot in the summer calendar. The 2015 festival (July 16-19) includes classical performances for the first time as well as Alternative Brass, an exciting new event, hosted by BBC6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq, which will see live performances from nine fantastic bands at the Gala Theatre and a Big BRASS Bash tour, headlined by a the New York Brass Band, which brings outdoor extravaganzas to Consett, Shildon, Trimdon Village, Seaham and Spennymoor.
Best Event Northumberland: Illuminating Hadrian’s Wall
The lighting up of Hadrian’s Wall attracted more than 50,000 people to various points across its 84-mile expanse and exposed its glowing charms to an estimated global audience of 855 million.
If you missed it, the one-time event involved the lighting of torches at 250-metre intervals along the entire wall. It was made possible by the efforts of more than 1,000 volunteers.
Special events at Carlisle – which included a spectacular show organised by Lakes Alive – and Segedunum in Wallsend alone attracted more than 31,000 people.
Speaking at the time, Kathryn Desborough, marketing executive at Hadrian’s Wall Heritage said:“We are very proud of all of our partners along the Wall and the 1,000 volunteers who made this incredible event happen.
“Working in partnership with local people, we’ve done something really quite extraordinary to bring to life Britain’s longest and greatest World Heritage Site. We are delighted that this event caught the imagination of so many people.”
Arts Council Award: The Miners Hymn
A collaborative commission for BRASS: Durham International Festival resulted in a moving performance at Durham Cathedral, which documented and remembered the struggle of the miners during the strike of 1984-85. The hour-long piece was the work of American filmmaker Bill Morrison, who used archive images from the time, and Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and was performed by the NASUWT Riverside Band.
The performance made up part of the ever-popular Durham Miners’ Gala, which regularly attracts more than 50 marching bands to the Cathedral for the blessing of the banners.
Following its debut, the The Miners’ Hymns Coalfields Tour, funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme, kicked off in the summer of 2013 and culminated with a number of live performances in the UK and internationally in Spring 2014.
The cinema version of the film was released in 2011, and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York before receiving its UK premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest. Both the cinema version and live concert performance have toured subsequently to venues and festivals around the world.
Special Contribution Award: The People’s Theatre, Newcastle
The People’s Theatre has been entertaining for over 100 years after staging its first performances in 1911, including The Bishop’s Candlesticks and Potluck.
The amateur theatre company is one the largest in country, producing around 12 productions each year, directed, produced and acted by its own members.
The company boasts numerous household names and performers among those who have been involved in the wonderful plays and events enjoyed at The People’s Theatre very early in their career including Andrea Riseborough, Ross Noble and Kevin Whately.
Since being honoured at the Culture Awards 2010, The People’s Theatre has gone from strength to strength: you can see Beauty and the Beast, Three Sisters, Murder on the Nile and The Fifteen Streets performed in summer 2015.