Hunt on for future David Hockney, Vivienne Westwood or Henry Moore with final of major new arts competition in Barnsley

11 August 2010


Barnsley is proving it is a thriving centre for creative talent in the north with a major new arts competition.
The final of the inaugural Northern Futures Award will be held on August 17th at Barnsley arts venue, The Civic, which is already hosting an exhibition of some of the submitted work. The categories covered by the award are fine art, 3D design, fashion and film.
The judges for Northern Futures10 are leading industry figures and include Eddie Berg, the artistic director of the British Film Institute, Donna Loveday, of the Design Museum, Helen Pheby, curator of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and Katie Bain, of the British Fashion Council.
Northern Futures was open to anyone between 21 and 40, living in the north of England. Hundreds of entries came from all points north, from Birkenhead to Barton upon Humber and Chesterfield to Newcastle.
Ann Bukantas, head of fine art at the National Museums Liverpool, one of the judges, said the standard was very high.
“Northern Futures has brought to light an exciting group of up-and-coming fine artists whose work stood out for its invention, quality and its presence within the gallery space,” she said.
“The competition has succeeded in highlighting new talent and hopefully will bring the work of these artists to the attention of a far wider public.”
Patrick Murphy, Northern Futures director, said he started the award not just to champion the arts in the north, but also to help regenerate the area and highlight the good work at The Civic.
“The aim of Northern Futures is to discover the new Damien Hirsts, Danny Boyles and Vivienne Westwoods. Nearly all creative awards are based in the south and don't seem to recognise the enormous cultural impact the north has made to this country from the Beatles to David Hockney. “Through Northern Futures I wanted to draw attention to the enormous potential of the north and its future creative pioneers. The 22 shortlisted artists, designers and filmmakers represent a dynamic selection by the four judging panels and offer a diverse overview of the best in contemporary art, design and film from the north of England.”
“The Civic is a great venue to host Northern Futures. Barnsley is a forward thinking and progressive town that supports perfectly the aims and ambitions of Northern Futures.”
Caroline Cooper Charles, head of creative development, at Warp Films, said she was delighted to be involved in judging the film section.
“So many events and awards fail to recognise the wealth of creative talent that exists outside London and seeing so many fantastic films shortlisted together was a great reminder of what they are missing,” she said.
The competition has won international backing, with one of the judges being Hester Swaving, policy manager of Dutch 4 Design 4 Fashion 4 Architecture, which promotes Dutch creative industries.
She said: “International success of creative industries starts with talent and it’s great to see a project like Northern Futures at The Civic supporting young UK creatives.”
The exhibition at The Gallery@ The Civic, which opened at the end of July and runs until September 10th, showcases shortlisted entries, ranging from furniture and handbags to light installations and short films. Visitors are even able to vote for a “People’s Choice” award, which will be presented at the awards ceremony.
On the evening of the ceremony there is a chance to meet the judges at a networking event. The event is backed by the Enterprising Barnsley programme, which offers business support in the town and is supported financially by the European Union. Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Martin Beasley, of Enterprising Barnsley, said: “It’s a great opportunity to get some creative brains together and show that Barnsley really is at the heart of creativity.
“Supporting the creative arts is part of supporting the redevelopment of Barnsley. It’s about raising the profile of creativity in Barnsley and raising the profile of The Civic as an arts venue for the north.
“We are delighted that Northern Futures chose Barnsley as the place to launch this major new initiative.”
At the awards evening a winner and two runners-up will be chosen from each of the four categories, with each winner receiving £1,500.
The winners and runners-up will also have their work included in the Northern Futures Awards 2010 catalogue, which will be distributed to leading curators, galleries, fashion houses, film production companies, design companies and manufacturers.
The Northern Futures exhibition runs until September 10th at The Gallery@ at The Civic, Hanson Street, Barnsley, S70 2HZ. Opening times: Mon- Sat 10am – 5pm, Sun 10am – 4pm.
Contact: David Sinclair, The Civic exhibition curator on 01226 327011 or at
The awards ceremony will be held from 7pm to 9pm on Tuesday August 17th. Journalists wishing to attend should contact Patrick Murphy at or on 07958 367808. Patrick is also available for interview and/ or photographs.
The Northern Futures logo and images of entries can be downloaded from
The networking event from 6pm until 7pm on the night of the awards ceremony, which is organised by Enterprising Barnsley, can be booked at
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre, University Campus Barnsley and Barnsley & Rotherham Chamber of Commerce. It is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to provide an integrated programme of business support.
Additional media contact: Kate Betts on 01226 766900 or 07910 165 444 or at

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