Culture Awards

York Culture Awards

York Culture Awards Finalists Revealed!


Thank you to everyone who has entered the York Culture Awards 2015/16. We received over a 100 entries and our judging panel met on 14 October to shortlist finalists and choose the overall winners for each award category.

Finalists have now been contacted and have been invited to attend the awards ceremony on 1 December at Central Methodist Church.

The finalists are:

Cultural Partnership


Launched in May 2015, emerging from a partnership established by York@Large, York Theatre Royal and Make it York and led by York Archaeological Trust, Vespertine is a series of 18 monthly events. Its aim is to stimulate the early evening economy, each Vespertine event brings together two or more of the twenty cultural organisations involved. With innovative and accessible programming at its core, Vespertine champions unique experiences for all, which so far has included; music, performance, light projection and art installations.

English Heritage

Two experiential music and film events (2015 & 2016) were held at the Bunker in partnership with Vespertine. This was an appealing opportunity to reach new audiences who wouldn't ordinarily visit or be aware of the bunker, by programming arts activity outside of normal museum hours. Both events have an on line legacy in the format of three videos and the interest generated on social media is unprecedented for the site.


The International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) was founded in 2011 by York Theatre Royal and York St John University to construct a new creative partnership between the two institutions. The objective was to bring together the research specialisms of the university with the creative skills of the theatre, and develop projects that investigate how people use stories in arts, education and community settings.  Since its formation the Centre has engaged diverse communities as collaborators in its arts workshops, seminars and research.  It has had a significant impact locally and its research has been disseminated internationally.

Community Project or Event

New Visuality– ‘Text’

York’s contemporary gallery, According To McGee, straddled the worlds of analogue and digital with the art exhibition, ‘Text’, in late 2015. Curated via this Tower Street gallery's charitable arm, New Visuality, ‘Text’ showcased posters of tweets and slogans written by the public and learners with disabilities at the Blueberry Academy.

The Fleeting Arms

The Fleeting Arms was run as a temporary pop up arts space from March to December 2015. It was conceived to keep an empty building open on Gillygate and to offer that space as an artistic and community hub. The space offered rehearsal space, making space, performance space, exhibition space, social space and events space for local artists, makers, movers and shakers. All of this was offered for free to any groups who wanted to use it.

York Museums Trust

York Museums Trust’s community engagement project actively introduced young people to York Castle Museum's collections and the Shaping the Body exhibition through art based activities. Curators and the educational team from York Museums Trust worked with around 15 young people at Howe Hill Hostel (Acomb) in an engaging programme on a weekly basis, from September to October 2015 looking at identity, the body uncovered and health and well-being.

Cultural Education

Acomb Primary School

Acomb Primary School aims to educate children through an exciting, creative curriculum that makes meaningful connections across the subjects and that takes full advantage of the cultural, historical and creative learning opportunities in the City of York. To extend children’s experiences beyond the curriculum they have initiated an “Acorns” Project that creates diverse opportunities that we feel are important and relevant to their pupils.

Fulford School

Fulford School have a strong record in the arts, particularly in extracurricular practice. Art, music and drama provide opportunities to shine and develop in and out of lessons. There are regular productions and an active music academy, which encompasses evening tuition and an extended curriculum offer that engages and inspires a range of students.

York Independent/State School Partnership

York ISSP run a programme of summer masterclasses across the city with the aim of delivering creative and innovative projects to challenge and inspire year 7-9 pupils in a range of subjects. Their most recent challenge was to create an 8 foot tall iphone with 28 interactive apps and a map of York, which really captured the imagination of the group.

Cultural Equality and Diversity


Converge is a partnership between York St John University and Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust delivering educational opportunities to people overcoming mental health difficulties. Converge offers courses in sports/exercise, music, theatre, dance, fine art, creative writing, psychology, life coaching and business start-up. They run a choir with over 50 members and a theatre company, Out of Character.

City Screen

A core aim of City Screen is to build customer loyalty by offering different strands that serve different groups; in autumn of 2015 they recognised a deficit in their programme, and began to research and plan their Dementia Friendly Cinema screenings. Dementia Friendly Cinema enables people living with Dementia and their family and carers the opportunity to attend the cinema in a safe and comfortable environment, giving them the chance to get out and socialise. The screenings are open to everyone, but are enhanced to suit the needs of those living with Dementia.


Accessible Arts & Media – IMPs Project

Accessible Arts & Media (AAM) is a charity which create arts, digital media and training programmes that are tailored to the needs and aspirations of the people we work with. The core aim of IMPs is to bring together disabled and non-disabled children and young people as equals. All IMPs members get the chance to make music, develop new skills and build confidence and mutual understanding.


York Shakespeare Project

York Shakespeare Project is committed to performing all of Shakespeare’s plays over a period of 20 years. To improve gender balance and to give more roles to female actors, YSP staged Henry V with an all-female cast in October 2015. This was their first all-female cast production and received very positive feedback from its audience and was chosen as York Play of the Year 2015 by York Press, describing it as “…moving, political and potent”.


Sue Lister

Sue has coordinated the York 50+ Festival for 12 years and is the coordinator of Free to be Me in Care /in the Workplace created by the York LGBT Forum older people’s subgroup. Sue is the Artistic Director of a women’s theatre group - Real People Theatre Company, which has created 17 productions on social issues for York International Women’s Week and she has also started AWOC York (Ageing without Children) which meets monthly. Sue has become a Dementia Champion and spends a lot of her time touring care homes, conferences and workshops with the production Dementia & Me. 

Cultural Event or Festival

TakeOver Festival

TakeOver 2015/16 was a multi-arts festival coordinated entirely by 12- 26 year olds across York. 2015 saw TakeOver take on the National Railway Museum’s busiest week- October half term, replacing all of its ‘usual’ activities. The festival immersed itself and its audience at the heart of York’s heritage. TakeOver’s return to York Theatre Royal in July 2016 represented young people’s desire for a voice in society; with the program addressing issues from racism to homelessness.

Festival of Ideas

The Festival of Ideas is the largest collaborative festival in York and, through its innovative ‘programme partnership’ model, exemplifies an ethos of collaboration, accessibility and cultural dynamism that is the hallmark of our great city. The festival sees events across the city and the University to deliver an eclectic programme including poetry in the Duke of York, Anglo-Saxon bread-making in All Saints Church, talks in Bettys and storytelling in York Art Gallery.

York Open Studios

York Open Studios is a selected arts event open to applications from visual artists living or working within 10 miles of York. All artists are selected anonymously by a panel of experts to ensure quality and fairness. This year there was over 90 artists exhibiting in over 70 venues. This year Open Studios welcomed approximately 7500 visitors attending across 15th, 16th 17th and 23rd, 24th April. The venues are free to attend and many artists host demonstrations and tasters.



Ben Porter Filmmaker - Spotlight Jonny Long and the Vale Skate Mag

The first film in the Spotlight series focuses on local skateboarding filmmaker, magazine owner and volunteer at The Zoo Skatepark, Jonny Long. Jonny shares his story, discussing the importance of supporting your local community, persevering through your struggles, and figuring out how to build a career around something you love. Jonny has a powerful story, and after hearing it Ben knew it had the power to inspire others. Working with Jonny and music producers Ryan Noble and Josh Latham, the four created a powerful 6 minute film, which has since been shared far and wide.

Catherine Mason – We are only human

We Are Only Human is a series of webisodes or very short films aimed at the online market, and helping to open people’s eyes to the different ways in which movement helps people to ‘escape’ their possibly mundane lives and recreate themselves.  Through the use of coloured powder paint during their performances, the film-maker wanted to show expressionism and freedom.

Sam Lawrence – Steady Past Your Grandma While She’s Dancing

'Steady Past Your Grandma While She's Dancing' is a film directed by Sam Lawrence, produced in collaboration with film makers Carolyn Mendelsohn and Craig Goode and sound artist Jonathan Eato. A maternal family portrait uncovering the tender yet powerful unity between four generations of women in Sam's family, capturing a rare and precious moment in time and highlighting its Yorkshire roots, the film pays homage to the rhythms and routines of a relationship united by a love of dance

Performing Artist

New York Brass Band

New York Brass Band is a 7 piece New Orleans 2nd line band. Formed in 2010 with early performances taking the form of busking on the streets of the city. Very quickly the band started to pick up gigs at weddings, festivals and theatres. In March 2012 the band performed at The Lord Mayor of York's Charity Gala Concert at York Theatre Royal which led to Taylors of Harrogate signing up the band to work for them as the Yorkshire Tea Band which has taken them all over the country promoting Yorkshire Tea.

Joshua Burnell

In 2013 Joshua Burnell began playing folk music in York pubs producing the EP Lend An Ear.  2015/16 saw the act become a seven-piece progressive folk-rock band performing at The Basement, Snickleway Inn, Fulford Arms, Victoria Vaults, Black Swan and York’s Little Festival of Live Music. Joshua’s debut album Into The Green features some of York’s finest musicians.  The album has received national radio airplay and an impressive 7/10 review in Classic Rock magazine.

Mad Alice

Alicia Stabler assumes the guise of Mad Alice for The Bloody Tour of York. Alicia began acting in 2006 having had no formal theatre training and took on work as an actor at The York Dungeon. In 2013, Alicia decided to brave the streets in an entertaining and historical fashion and became Mad Alice, a Wench leading visitors around the streets of York with The Bloody Tour of York on a weekly basis throughout the year.


York Theatre Royal – Pantomime

York Theatre Royal pantomime welcomes around 45,000 audience members every year. When the theatre’s capital redevelopment project was delayed due to archaeological finds in the auditorium, a decision had to be made to either cancel the annual pantomime or move it elsewhere.   The team decided to stage a pantomime like no other, in the Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum. This was the world's first traverse pantomime, with audiences seated either side of a railway track. 

York Minster – Mystery Plays

This summer saw York Minster transformed into a vast auditorium as the Mystery Plays returned to its spiritual home. True to traditional it was essentially a community production, featuring just one paid actor working alongside a vast army of Mystery Makers. Over the course of the 5 week run they played to over 26,000 people. It was a critical success, achieving 4 out of 5 star reviews in both the Guardian and the Observer.

Pilot Theatre/York Theatre Royal – The Machine Stops

Co-produced by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal, 'The Machine Stops' based on E.M Forster's story of the same name ran from 13th May - 4th June 2016 as the first show in the newly refurbished Studio at York Theatre Royal. This short story masterpiece published in 1909 is astoundingly prophetic and poignant in 2016, a chilling prediction and exploration of our increasingly complex relationship with technology.

Visual Artist

Emily Harvey – York Panorama

The work, commissioned by York Explore Libraries and Archives, is a coloured textured panel made from plaster; the design is laid out as an ancient stone wall, inspired by the city walls. The stone blocks contain images illustrating aspects of everyday life in York today, as well as an impression of the life of the city continuing from the earliest inhabitants and on into the future.

Lauren Roberts

Lauren Roberts has been tattooing since April 2013 and specialises in Watercolour Tattooing and uses her watercolour paintings as inspiration for her tattoo designs; replicating paint to skin to the finest detail. Lauren has been awarded within the Avant-Garde category at The Great British Tattoo show, been a 'Tattoo Industry Awards’ finalist for ‘Best UK Newcomer to Tattooing 2016’ and Lauren’s work has featured within magazines.

Mark Hearld - The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures

Mark Hearld was born in York in 1974. While York Art Gallery was closed Mark was York Museums Trust’s Artist in Residence and given access to the extensive collections in store. The result is The Lumber Room: Unimagined Treasures which sees Mark curate a wide variety of objects and create new work in response to them. The exhibition included spectacularly miscellaneous pictures and objects carefully selected from the stores of York Art Gallery, the Yorkshire Museum and York Castle Museum, many of which had not been on show for some time.



Oz Hardwick – The House of Memory

The House of Memory is a based upon a sequence of poems by Oz Hardwick, each of which has been published individually in journals and anthologies. Oz has published five poetry collections, most recently The Ringmaster’s Apprentice (Valley, 2014), has performed internationally, and was shortlisted in two categories at the 2015 Saboteur Awards.

Carole Bromley – The Stonegate Devil

The Stonegate Devil is Carole Bromley's second collection. The book has a strong York flavour and explores local places and the stories associated with them as well as the poet's Yorkshire childhood, coming of age and relationships. There are poems sparked by travels to Ireland, Japan and Australia and others whose subjects are closer to home. This remarkable collection demonstrates Carole Bromley's widely acknowledged mastery of her craft and a wide variety of poetic forms.

Don Walls – The Beggars of York

Don Walls’ Play: "THE BEGGARS OF YORK", a play in verse is based on the experiences of his son, Peter, who suffered from schizophrenia and lived on the streets of York where he made many friends. Don gives personality and distinction to a group of people who live on the margins. Don shows it is society which has failed a group of people who are living on the streets through no wish of their own.  This play was performed at The Studio, York Theatre Royal, 12th and 13th July 2016.

All winners will be announced at the York Culture Awards ceremony on the evening of 1 December 2016.

All of the 32 finalists of the #YorkCA16 awards can be viewed on the website! #York #Culture
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