Just like Halloween, Bonfire Night and the ice rink at the Centre for Life... the little reminder which signals it’s time to put the call out for Culture Awards nominations never fails to catch me by surprise.
This is partly to do with the fact that we tend to hold the previous year’s ceremony in the Spring, and if I’m honest, the applause for all that was great, good and downright wonderful about 2012 has only stopped ringing in my ears.
And rightly so.
Held in the world heritage site confines of Durham Cathedral, the ceremony, presented masterfully by actor Chris Connel, gave out 15 well-deserved awards across a categories such as Performance of the Year, Writer of the Year and Best Event of the Year in Northumberland, Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham, and Teesside respectively.
We also enjoyed performances by The Unthanks, The Lindisfarne Story, Bad Taste Cru and The Futureheads.
But the biggest buzz of the night was the knowledge that amidst all the financial uncertainly the cultural sector has had – and continues – to deal with, we were able to shine a big old light on some truly great work from this region and give it due credit. And next Spring, we’re going to do it all again.
Now while the details of the actual ceremony remain tightly under wraps, what we can tell you is that the only way we can be sure of rewarding the absolute cream of the North East’s cultural crop, is if you promise to nominate all the stuff and the people you’ve seen, experienced or been to... and loved.
As usual, we are relying on your help in finding the finalists who best illustrate the wealth of talent we’re lucky enough to have in the North East when it comes to all things cultural. Past winners have spanned the arts and entertainment spectrum.
They include musician Kathryn Tickell, comic and writer Jason Cook, musician Hannabiell Sanders, comedian Sarah Millican, Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, artist Laura Lancaster, Durham lighting festival Lumière, authors David Almond, Chris Mullin and Richard Milward, and The Durham Book Festival.
We can’t wait to find out who will be added to this list next Spring.
RECOGNISING THE REGION'S BRILLIANT NAMES
HOW TO NOMINATE
The awards are open to anyone who has made a significant contribution to the North East cultural landscape during the current year.
Anyone can nominate an individual or an event for consideration. Nominations will be considered from audience members or even from performers or arts organisations themselves.
Once the nominations are collected (the closing date will be January 31, 2014), a judging panel will select a long list, and then a shortlist, before choosing the winner and two finalists in each category, except the Special Contribution award which has only one recipient. Fifteen bespoke trophies will be presented in the following nine categories for The Journal Culture Awards 2013:
VISUAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
This award recognises a North East-based artist whose work has left a lasting impression on you in 2013. This nomination could be for one particular piece of an individual’s work or an exhibition/showcase of their talents.
PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
This award is for a group or company who you have seen or heard in 2013. Has a performance in the North East raised the hairs on the back of your neck, moved or inspired you? If the answer is yes we want to hear about it. Examples could include dance, music, stage/theatre or comedy productions.
PERFORMING ARTIST OF THE YEAR
This award will recognise an individual performer who has stood out during 2013. We’re welcoming nominations for actors, dancers, musicians, singers and comedians. Nominations can be for one stand out performance which got your attention or for a collection of performances throughout the year.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
This award is to recognise any North East based writer, artist, performer or visual artist who has exhibited, performed or been brought to the public’s attention for the first time during 2013.
WRITER OF THE YEAR
This award will recognise an author, playwright, screenwriter or poet who has had some outstanding work published or performed during 2013.
NORTH EAST MUSEUM OF THE YEAR AWARD
This award recognises innovative and excellent interpretation in a project developed by an accredited North East museum or gallery in the last year. In particular, judges will be looking for projects that reveal collections in a new light and inspire and delight visitors.
ARTS COUNCIL AWARD
The Arts Council Award will be awarded to an artist or organisation based or working in the North East who has produced a truly excellent piece of work in the last year. A piece of work that continues to inspire, influencing other artists and audiences and spurring them on to unleash the creativity in themselves; a piece of work that equals and surpasses work taking place nationally and internationally.
BEST ARTS & BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP
This award is to recognise an outstanding business/arts partnership, which has demonstrated an innovative way of working together to achieve their respective goals.
Have you been to a locally organised event in 2013, which made you proud of the local area?
This award recognises large and small events within the following sub-regions: Teesside, Sunderland, Durham, Tyneside and Northumberland.
We want to hear about any great cultural event in these areas.
The winners of each category qualify for the overall North East Event of the Year award.
SPECIAL CONTRIBUTION TO ARTS AND CULTURE
This award will reward an individual who has made a significant contribution to the North East’s cultural scene.