As the winners wake up to their coveted trophies, we invite you to take a once-around The Journal Culture Awards 2008.
THE JOURNAL Culture Awards have once again had the honour of celebrating and rewarding the achievements of those involved in the arts and heritage in the North East in 2008.
The economic climate may have changed dramatically since we got together for last year’s Culture Awards, but what hasn't changed is the quality, quantity and diversity of cultural activities taking place in this region.
And that has made the judging of winners more difficult than ever before.
The Culture initiative, supported by the Arts Council North East, drives audiences through The Journal's Culture Club, showcases talent through our daily double-page spread in the newspaper and our glossy monthly magazine, and celebrates that talent through these awards.
I want to say a huge thank you to the Arts Council and to our gold, silver and bronze Culture partners. Without their experience, advice, assistance and financial support there would be no magazine or club, never mind these awards – and the North East would lose a unique initiative that is the envy of many other regions in the UK.
We have changed some of the categories this year to make the awards more inclusive, appealing to a broader spectrum of people.
And if entry levels are a yardstick then we have been a success, with a record 312 entries, up 76 on last year.
So our panel of 15 judges – a regionwide group of people with differing areas of expertise who judged all the categories on a majority vote – deserve our special thanks for the diligent and professional way they went about reaching their difficult decisions.
Our friends at Northern Stage have hosted the awards since the beginning and I know they went the extra mile this year, taking on extra responsibilities to bring an even slicker and more polished ceremony to the stage – with North East talent at the heart of everything.
We are proud to be at the heart of this region’s cultural community and are already looking forward to rewarding 2009’s talent, happenings and artistic excellence across the cultural board.
Brian Aitken, editor of The Journal