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Nominations are invited for our culture accolades

Nominations are invited for our culture accolades It’s time to get your nominations in for some of the most coveted awards in the region.

Nominations are invited for our culture accolades It’s time to get your nominations in for some of the most coveted awards in the region. David Whetstone reports.

LESS than one month remains for you to get your nominations in for the Culture Awards 2007. This is the opportunity to bring a smile to the face of someone who has moved or impressed you with a great performance, event or exhibition over the past year.

We live in a region where the arts are thriving. Everybody says so and it’s not only those with a vested interest in the arts.

Take this quote from a football report in one of the weekend’s Sunday newspapers: “Not since 1949, when Arsene Wenger was being carried around in his mother’s tummy and the idea of Newcastle becoming a cultural capital seemed about as likely as a woman prime minister, have the Hampshire side managed a win here.”

The circumstances are unfortunate – Newcastle United’s mauling at the hands of Portsmouth in the Premier League – but the writer makes his point with reference to the city’s undoubted status as a cultural capital.

Such status actually spreads beyond the bounds of Newcastle to include the whole region, with Gateshead, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and their hinterlands all fertile grounds for creativity.

In our inaugural Culture Awards 2006, the award winners came from all parts of the region. The accolades – along with the special awards designed by blacksmith artist William Pym – were gratefully received at a lively ceremony at Northern Stage, the Newcastle theatre. The organisers of the Stockton International Riverside Festival were incorporating their Best Event of the Year accolade into their promotional material within days of receiving the award.

Can Stockton International Riverside Festival do it again? No doubt there was even more sweating and straining in 2007 to make this year’s festival better than the last. But has there been another stupendous event in 2007 to better it? An awful lot has been happening. Springing to mind immediately are the Picture House exhibition at Belsay, with its eye-catching installations by film-makers, fashion designers and artists; the BBC Proms in the Park concert in Middlesbrough’s new Centre Square; and the year-long, inaugural Dott 07 festival which has been taking place all across the region. Then there are the red letter regulars – the Durham brass and literature festivals, the Sunderland Air Show (the 19th took place this year) and the winter festivals which lighten up the dark evenings at the turn of the year. There are categories for rewarding an outstanding artist (defined in its broadest sense to mean visual artist or performer) and performance. And also an award for the Newcomer of the Year. Last year’s recipient was glass artist Kathryn Wightman.

The Culture Awards 2007 have been sponsored again by The Journal’s Culture partners and also by Newcastle College and the Sponsors Club for Arts & Business.

Categories are: Artist of the Year; Newcomer of the Year; Performance of the Year; Best Arts & Business Partnership; Arts Council Award; Renaissance North-East Museum Award; Culture Club Event of the Year; and Best Event in (respectively) Tyneside, Northumberland, Durham, Sunderland and Tees Valley – with an additional award for the Best Event Overall.

Nominations are invited for any cultural event, exhibition, performance or activity taking place in the North-East between December 15, 2006, and November 30, 2007.

The awards will be presented on March 31, 2008, at Northern Stage, Newcastle.

Send your nomination, along with your contact details and, if possible, the contact details of your nominee (name, address, telephone number, email address) no later than Friday, November 30, to: FREEPOST NEA 1676, Regional Events & Exhibitions, ncjMedia Ltd, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1BR.

Alternatively, you can email your nomination to julie.moorhouse@ncjmedia.co.uk or tel (0191) 201-6119 to request a nomination form.

For a closer look at some of the award categories, read The Journal on Thursday.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer