Culture

Danish officials receive Civic welcome at Guildhall

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark have arrived in York to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. They received a formal welcome on 17th April by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, in the Guildhall’s Council Chamber. The speakers responding were His Excellency the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen; the Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, Simon Mellor; for HM Government, Anna Nsubuga and the Director of Development, Region Midtjylland, Kim Kofod Hansen.

The Mid Jutland European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017. It consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region.

The Study Visit comes thanks to a close relationship between York and Viborg in Denmark, which were both designated UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, York in 2014 and Viborg in 2020. The UNESCO Creative Cities network spans the world, with cities collaborating on the creation of new artworks, research initiatives, and placement opportunities, and sharing ideas on how creativity can improve lives in many ways, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and sustainability makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture.

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall was a splendid setting for a series of meetings taking place over three days, and facilitated by the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions saw the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector, about the role of culture and creativity in addressing issues such as the increasing impact of digital technology, how best to ensure that our urban communities are sustainable in cultural as well as economic and environmental terms, and the financial support needed for success.

Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts and the York organiser of the Study Visit says ‘this was an excellent opportunity to talk about the conditions for the success of culture and creative industries in York, and to share ideas about the opportunities for the creative economy in our two countries.’

Kim Kofod Hansen, leader of the delegation and Development Director of Region Midtjylland, said ‘although this was a very short visit, the opportunity to visit cultural organisations, hear about strategic priorities at national and regional level, and to hear about the realities of working life in the creative sector in York, was invaluable. You can be sure many of us will return.’

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “It was really rewarding to meet with colleagues from Denmark this week, to share knowledge and discuss key initiatives and innovations in culture in both York and Denmark. The visit very much supported the Culture Strategy’s focus on raising the city’s profile internationally, through the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.” 

Note: The Guild of Media Arts was established in 2015 to support and promote the creative sector and to act as the Focal Point for York as a UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts, working with City of York Council and Make It York.

Danish officials receive Civic welcome at Guildhall Read More »

York added to Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status

Cultural and natural heritage sites including York’s historic city centre are a step closer to becoming
UNESCO World Heritage Sites after gaining Government backing for their bids.

Five new sites from across the UK and Overseas Territories have been added to the Tentative List
meaning they are now part of a seven site list to be put forward by the Government for inscription
on the illustrious list.

The Tentative List is published around every ten years by the UK Government. It sets out the sites it
feels have the best chance of succeeding and will now work with local authorities and devolved
administrations to develop their bids.

Cultural sites on the list include York which has fantastic civic and religious buildings including its
Minster as well as a rich history left behind by its Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman inhabitants.

UNESCO also awards World Heritage Site status to the most extraordinary natural places on the
planet.

Laura Davies, HM Ambassador to UNESCO, said: “It is great that the UK is contributing to making World Heritage more representative.
“These five sites brilliantly reflect the diversity and beauty of the UK and its Overseas Territories’ natural and cultural heritage, and I look forward to working with them towards World Heritage listing.”

Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said: “We are thrilled with this acknowledgement of York’s world-class heritage and its universal historic and archaeological importance. The various communities in York have worked hard together to achieve this place on the new UK Tentative List of World Heritage Sites and they
deserve the recognition this status brings.
“York is an outstanding example of continuous urban development over 2,000 years since its foundation as a Roman legionary fortress with evidence of every succeeding period on its urban development. The collection of medieval stained glass in York Minster and the historic parish churches in the city centre is unrivalled. York embraces and values this heritage and will manage it sensitively so that the city continues as a vibrant, innovative, living city.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Site system offers a fantastic opportunity for cultural and natural heritage sites to gain international recognition and promote themselves on a global stage. If successful, the seven sites would join the 33 other World Heritage Sites already based in the UK including Stonehenge and Hadrian’s Wall.


ENDS


Notes to editors

UK Tentative List:

Birkenhead the People’s Park [Cultural]East Atlantic Flyway – England East Coast Wetlands [Natural]The Flow Country [Natural]Gracehill Moravian Church Settlements [Cultural, Transnational]Little Cayman Marine Parks and Protected Areas [Natural]York [Cultural]The Zenith of Iron Age Shetland [Cultural]


Full list of current UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK (year of listing in brackets):
Cultural Sites
● Blaenavon Industrial Landscape (2000)
● Blenheim Palace (1987)
● Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey, and St Martin’s Church (1988)
● Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd (1986)
● City of Bath (1987)
● Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape (2006)
● Derwent Valley Mills (2001)
● Durham Castle and Cathedral (1986)
● Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1987, 2005, 2008)
● Gorham’s Cave Complex (2016)
● Heart of Neolithic Orkney (1999)
● Historic Town of St George and Related Fortifications, Bermuda (2000)
● Ironbridge Gorge (1986)
● Jodrell Bank Observatory (2019)
● Maritime Greenwich (1997)
● New Lanark (2001)
● Old and New Towns of Edinburgh (1995)
● Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey (1987)
● Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal (2009)
● Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (2003)
● Saltaire (2001)
● Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (1986)
● Studley Royal Park including the Ruins of Fountains Abbey (1986)
● The English Lake District (2017)
● The Forth Bridge (2015)
● The Great Spa Towns of Europe (2021)
● The Slate Landscape of Northwest Wales (2021)
● Tower of London (1988)
Natural Sites
● Dorset and East Devon Coast (2001)
● Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast (1986)
● Gough and Inaccessible Islands (1995, 2004)
● Henderson Island (1988)
Mixed Cultural / Natural
● St Kilda (1986, 2004, 2005)

York added to Tentative List for UNESCO World Heritage Status Read More »

City of Media Arts to welcome Danish officials to York for cultural visit

A large group of senior cultural managers from Denmark are coming to York, for three days in April, to talk about the role of culture and creativity in our communities. The Danish partnership European Region of Culture was established as part of the European Capital of Culture Aarhus 2017 and it consists of the 19 municipalities in the Central Denmark Region. 

The visit comes thanks to a close relationship between York and Viborg in Denmark, which were both designated UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, York in 2014 and Viborg in 2020. The UNESCO Creative City network spans the world, with cities collaborating on the creation of new artworks, research initiatives, and placement opportunities, and sharing ideas on how creativity can improve lives across many different disciplines, from health to planning, from tourism to social care. The joint focus of Viborg and York on creativity, digitalization and animation makes this a highly relevant visit at a time where working with technology is essential in all fields, not least in culture. 

“We look forward to visiting York with our partnership European Region of Culture. York represents important and successful experiences regarding ideas and creativity and is a role model in many aspects of the cultural and creativity industries. We have an ambitious partnership which right now has a strong and necessary focus on sustainability and digitalization from a cultural perspective and we want to reach out to and learn from the best. To us, York is the optimal place to visit,” says Kim Kofod Hansen, Development Director at the Central Denmark Region and chairman of the European Region of Culture.  

The Danish visitors will be welcomed in the Council Chamber by the Lord Mayor, Cllr David Carr, followed by an address by the Danish Ambassador to the UK, Rene Dinesen. There will be responses Simon Mellor, Deputy Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and from Anna Nsubuga, for HM Government. 

“After the Danish city of Aarhus was selected as European Capital of Culture in 2017, officials from Midtjylland have undertaken regular study visits to explore good practice in other cities. It is fantastic that they have chosen York for this year’s trip, and a testament to the close work between the creative sector in York and our colleagues in Viborg,” explains Owen Turner, Master of the Guild of Media Arts. “Through the Creative Cities network, we have undertaken a number of projects together, including the children’s project ‘Drawings of Hope’, the online artists’ collaboration Immersive Assembly, and we are working actively on the presentation of our shared Viking heritage.” 

York’s newly refurbished Guildhall will play host to a series of meetings, with the generous support of the University of York. Working sessions will see the visitors receive presentations from leading figures in York’s creative sector about the role of culture and creativity in addressing the issues such as the increasing impact of digital technology, how best to ensure that our urban communities are sustainable in cultural as well as economic and environmental terms, and the financial support needed for success.  

“There is a significant difference between the way local government works in the UK and Denmark, with projects that are grant- or privately-funded initiatives here coming under local authority control in Denmark, but the role of creativity – and particularly our expertise in digital technology – is a common thread across both countries,” adds Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts.   

“It’s the vision of the York Culture Strategy that by 2025 York is known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge contemporary approach to creativity, reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. This visit very much supports and furthers the aims of the city’s Culture Strategy: it will be a great opportunity to share learnings, best practice, and discuss ways of working across culture, the creative sector, and beyond. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our visitors and having these interesting discussions together,” adds Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York. 

ENDS 

NOTE: The Guild of Media Arts is York’s membership organisation for the creative sector. The Guild is the Focal Point of York UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts 

Contact: Organiser – Chris Bailey, Clerk of the Guild of Media Arts E: baileychr@gmail.com M: 07920 450201  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising  
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

City of Media Arts to welcome Danish officials to York for cultural visit Read More »

Snooks with Books win public vote to feature in new trail coming to York in 2024 

Almost 2,000 people voted for their favourite character to feature in a new public art trail coming to York in 2024. The votes mean that the bookish Snook, created by Yorkshire artist Sian Ellis, will be the subject of a long form character trail which runs from February 2024.  

Snook is a bookish breed, often found in cosy corners with their faces buried inside the pages of a good book. They’ve been here just as long as even The Norman House (the oldest building in York) but they are a little more hidden away than the historic sights of the city that you are familiar with. However recently Snook sightings have skyrocketed, and it looks like these friendly folk have been enjoying some sightseeing around the city walls. 

Snooks with Books is created by Sian Ellis, a Yorkshire based illustrator and mural artist whose work is playful, fun and full of humour. She is inspired by the bold and the bright, the weird and the wonderful. Sian has created art on a national scale and in a range of mediums, ranging from detailed fine drawing to twelve foot paintings and even a metre long knitted head band for a fibre glass gorilla! Sian has created a number of murals around Yorkshire and has worked on a number of charity sculpture trails across the UK, with which the sales of her sculptures have to date raised over £100,000 for charitable causes. 

Organised by Make It York, with charity partner St Leonard’s Hospice, the trail will see up to 30 Snooks with Books around the city. Each Snook will be sponsored by local businesses, who will be paired with an artist to create a bespoke design for each sculpture. Applications for artists to submit their designs will open in the coming weeks.  

Businesses and organisations interested in sponsoring a sculpture can contact events@makeityork.com for more information. 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re really looking forward to bringing a tribe of Snooks to York in our new character trail for 2024. A huge congratulations to Sian and Snook for winning the public vote, and a huge thank you to our runner-up Christine and Barouse for their support and creativity.” 

Dawn Clements, Director of Income Generation at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “It’s fantastic to hear that Snook has won the public vote and we can’t wait to see the character appear across the city. The trail will be a fun way to help us engage further with our community, not only educating people about our services but also helping to raise vital funds to support people facing life-limiting illnesses and bereavement. We are proud to be partnering with Make It York to represent hospice care in such a unique way and we are also looking forward to working with new supporters and volunteers.” 

Sian Ellis, artist of Snooks with Books, said: “I am over the moon to be teaming up with Make It York and St Leonard’s Hospice to bring the bookish snooks to York in 2024. After years of hiding in cosy corners with a good book these usually shy creatures can’t wait to come out and explore the city’s streets! I’m really looking forward to seeing how artists from across the region transform each one and excited to see the creative ways that the books that the snooks carry are brought into each design. I cannot wait to see these gentle giants brought to life and hope that families in the city have a wonderful time on their very own hunt for snooks next year.” 

Visit www.visityork.org/snooks-with-books to find out more.  

Snooks with Books win public vote to feature in new trail coming to York in 2024  Read More »

Public vote opens to choose new character trail in York

Larger than life, vibrant and bold characters will guide people through York’s cobbled streets and hidden gardens in a new sculpture trail coming to York in 2024. The chosen character for the trail is down to the people of York, who have two designs to choose from, with a public vote open from today until Tuesday 28th February at 5pm.  

Last year, Make It York put a call out for Yorkshire based visual artists, designers and illustrators to create a unique character or creature, bespoke to the city. The brief asked for artists to design a character or creature that represents the city, something new and something different. There were 75 submissions, with Make It York narrowing it down to two final designs. Will it be the friendly monster Barouse inspired by the city’s rivers and bars? Or the bookish Snook, who can be found hiding in the city’s corners?   

Organised by Make It York, with charity partner St Leonard’s Hospice, the new trail featuring Barouse or Snook will launch in early 2024. Find out more about the two final designs and artists below: 

Barouse by Christine Jopling 

“Barouse” is a friendly monster who has a castellated head and a big droplet of a body. It’s battlement-shaped head is inspired by the bars around York’s unique wall, and its rotund frame is like a drop of water from the River Ouse, which runs right through York’s centre. Bringing together these two important aspects of the City – the walls and the river – in a fun and approachable figure. Barouse is a simple, chunky monster, and its friendly features are created to appeal to humans of all ages.  

About Christine Jopling: Christine is a freelance illustrator based in a little studio, opposite a chippy in Pudsey, Leeds. Working as an illustrator since 1995, she’s still noodling and doodling – happy to hand-letter a wedding reading or a wall, paint British Birds or beer bottles, create monsters or maps, or ink in aliens and armadillos. All of Christine’s work starts with a doodle in pencil on paper, using Indian ink, watercolour, acrylic paint, Posca pens, emulsion paint or maybe a bit of digital scribbling to create the finished thing 

Snook by Sian Ellis 

There are plenty of old buildings around the city that you’re bound to have spotted, from the higgledy piggledy shops along The Shambles to Clifford’s Tower to the city walls, but have you ever set eyes on a Snook? They’ve been here just as long as even The Norman House (the oldest building in York) but they are a little more hidden away than the historic sights of the city that you are familiar with. 

A bookish breed they are often found in cosy corners with their faces buried inside the pages of a good book. However recently Snook sightings have skyrocketed, and it looks like these friendly folk have been enjoying some sightseeing around the city walls. 

Old habits die hard though and you aren’t likely to spot a Snook without a book in its hands. It could be a novel, an anthology or a playbook but it might also be a guide to bird spotting, a family photo album, an instruction manual for building a rocket or a travel diary and sketchbook.  

About Sian Ellis: Sian is a Yorkshire based illustrator and mural artist whose work is playful, fun and full of humour. She is inspired by the bold and the bright, the weird and the wonderful. Sian has created art on a national scale and in a range of mediums, ranging from detailed fine drawing to twelve foot paintings and even a metre long knitted head band for a fibre glass gorilla! Sian has created a number of murals around Yorkshire and has worked on a number of charity sculpture trails across the UK, with which the sales of her sculptures have to date raised over £100,000 for charitable causes.  

Vote for your favourite design here by 5pm on Tuesday 28th February. 

Sarah Loftus, Managing Director at Make It York, said: “We’re really looking forward to bringing a new trail and introducing a new character to York in 2024. Our final two artists have done a brilliant job at bringing the characters to life and we look forward to seeing the winning design in our city next year. We’re really pleased to be working with our charity partner, St Leonard’s Hospice, on this project.”  

Dawn Clements, Director of Income Generation at St Leonard’s Hospice, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Make It York and to be part of this exciting activity. It will be a fun way to help us engage further with our community, not only educating people about our services but also helping to raise vital funds to support people facing life-limiting illnesses and bereavement. We are proud that we can represent hospice care in such a unique way and it’s a great opportunity to work with new supporters and volunteers. We are looking forward to working collaboratively with Sarah and the team at Make It York and, of course, either Barouse or Snook.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “York’s latest trail will add more colour and fun to our beautiful city whilst supporting a wonderful cause. I’d like to thank all artists who submitted their ideas as part of the competition, it was extremely difficult to narrow the excellent submissions down to the final two. The final choice is now in the hands of York’s residents who have the difficult choice between these two fun characters.” 

Christine Jopling, artist of Barouse, said: “I’m so chuffed that Barouse has made it this far, I still can’t quite believe it! It was quite a challenge to come up with something that represents York in a fun, approachable sculpture, but when Barouse popped into my head I thought – “That’s it!” If Barouse is chosen I hope it’s a fun form for the artists to let themselves loose on, and that the sculptures bring a smile to the faces of residents and visitors to York.” 

Sian Ellis, artist of Snook, said: “Since 2019 I have been travelling from my studio in Yorkshire to paint sculptures for trails across the UK. I absolutely love being involved with every trail so to get the chance to design a brand new and unique sculpture design would be an absolute dream come true for me! I would love love LOVE to see the Snooks with Books come to life and explore the city and it would be absolutely brilliant to see other artists unleash their imaginations onto each one. I think it could be such a magical addition for the local community to see them pop up on the streets of York.  My menagerie of painted pals currently totals 17 including gorillas, wallabies, elephants and even a T-Rex, and the sales of my painted sculptures have raised over £100,000 to date for local charities. To be chosen as the artist to design the sculpture for the Make It York 2024 trail would be the cherry on top of my work with sculpture trails so far!” 

ENDS 

For more information, please contact: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Communications Team at Make It York 

Comms@makeityork.com 

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

Public vote opens to choose new character trail in York Read More »

Support local creatives and designers with unique York Christmas bauble

This winter, Make It York have collaborated with local artist Emma Feneley to produce a limited-edition bauble celebrating Christmas in York. Proceeds from the baubles will go into a new York Creates Fund, a new micro-fund that will support cultural and creative activity in the city.  

The hand-decorated porcelain bauble is unique to York, with Emma’s design featuring famous York landmark Clifford’s Tower in the festive season. It was commissioned by Make It York as part of the 30th Anniversary celebrations of the St Nicholas Fair, following a public competition to create a unique design for the bauble.  

Proceeds from the bauble will go into a new fund to support artists and makers in York. The York Creates Fund will provide opportunities for local creatives to produce new work through micro-grants, commissions and competitions. The fund will be held by Make It York and administered in reference to the objectives of York’s Creative Future, the city’s Culture Strategy. 

Emma designs are created through unique collages that repurpose wastepaper for her art, and often depict places in the local area. The baubles are high quality white porcelain and hand decorated with Emma’s creation, produced by Foley Pottery.  

The bauble is available to purchase from the Visitor Information Centre in York City Centre. 

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “At Make It York, we’re really committed to supporting the cultural and creative sector, so we’re delighted to be collaborating with Emma to launch this beautifully designed bauble. The bauble not only celebrates and raises the profile of the work of a local artist, but its profits will go towards setting up a fund that can benefit even more creatives across York, so this is a key initiative for us. It’s also really nice to be able to do this at Christmas, to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the St Nicholas Fair.”  

Artist Emma Feneley said: “The MIY competition has been such a lovely, fun opportunity for me to share and develop my artwork within the local area. It’s always exciting to see your work in print or being used for a purpose, and this felt even more special knowing that the profits will go back into the community and support other creatives. As a smaller, ‘starting out’ artist, this really does make a difference and has already helped to build my profile. Outside of making, I also work full time at a local primary school. The children have been so excited to see the finished bauble and it’s really inspired them to experiment with their own art, knowing that there are opportunities like this to make artwork in a meaningful way.” 

About York’s Creative Future 

York’s Creative Future has inclusion and participation at its core, and the commitment to ensure that culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York – regardless of age, background or postcode.  

The Culture Strategy has the ambition to transform York – and by 2025 we believe York will be known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge and contemporary approach to creativity – reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. 

About Make It York 

Make It York is the city’s Destination Management Organisation, with the purpose to develop and promote the city and its surroundings nationally and internationally.  

The company’s remit covers leisure and business tourism, city centre management and Shambles Market, as well as delivering world-class festival and events, including the St Nicholas Christmas Fair, and the city’s ground-breaking Culture Strategy.  

For further information please contact:  

Culture team at Make It York 

Email: culture@makeityork.com 

Support local creatives and designers with unique York Christmas bauble Read More »

York Civic Trust awarded £250k National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for York Trailblazers

York Civic Trust, working in partnership with Make it York and partners across the city, has been awarded £249,999 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the York Trailblazers project.  

Trailblazers will be an exciting and inclusive city-wide programme of events and activities across 2023 – 25, celebrating York’s heritage. Shaped around significant anniversaries, Trailblazers will inspire residents and visitors on York’s collective history and empower new generations to create and discover new interpretations of our heritage.  

The activities funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund will enable York Civic Trust, Make It York and partners to uncover lesser-known heritage stories of York through workshops, sculpture trail, community grant funding, partner events and marketing. 

York Civic Trust and Make It York will develop and deliver the project together, leading on their areas of expertise within culture, community and heritage in York. A mix of 40 organisations, from small voluntary groups to big institutions, supported York Civic Trust and Make It York’s bid to make Trailblazers a reality. The project is made possible by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players.  

Andrew Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at York Civic Trust, said: “Our project York Trailblazers will be a fantastic opportunity for people to discover and celebrate the heritage stories of people who are important to their communities. The National Heritage Lottery Fund’s support of our project is an incredible boost and will enable the project to reach out to all parts of the city.” 

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture & Wellbeing at Make It York, said: “A huge thank you to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and to all the organisations who have come together to support our bid – we’re absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the funding for York Trailblazers. It will make such a difference, and enable Make It York and York Civic Trust to develop a really meaningful celebration of our history and heritage across 2023 – 25, working with partners across the city, and engaging with residents, schools and community groups. We’ve got a lot of activity planned, so watch this space!”   

Anne Jenkins, Executive Director of Business Delivery at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “We are thrilled to be able to support York Civic Trust and Make It York in celebrating and exploring the significant heritage that their city is home to. Thanks to National Lottery players, this project will allow local communities to delve into the varied history of their city and help others discover stories they haven’t heard before. York is home to fascinating heritage and we know it is a great way of bringing people together and creating a sense of pride of place, that in turn can deliver much wider benefits, and we’re excited to see how this project achieves just that.”  

ENDS 

 
For more information: 

Livvy Golby-Kirk, Marketing & Communications Officer at York Civic Trust 

events@fairfaxhouse.co.uk  

Sarah Foster, Communications Manager at Make It York  

Comms@makeityork.com 

Notes to Editors:

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising  
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

About York Civic Trust  

York Civic Trust is a membership organisation open to all who wish to protect and enhance York’s architectural and cultural heritage, to champion good design and to advance the high place which York holds amongst the cities of the world. Founded in 1946, it has the key objectives of “Promoting Heritage—Shaping Tomorrow” at the heart of its work. Since an extensive conservation-repair programme in the 1980s, the Trust has restored Fairfax House on York’s Castlegate to its former grandeur. It is one of England’s finest Georgian townhouses and now a museum and offices of the Trust. 

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund 

Using money raised by The National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk.  

Follow @HeritageFundUK on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund 

Since The National Lottery began in 1994, National Lottery players have raised over £43 billion for projects and more than 635,000 grants have been awarded across the UK. More than £30 million raised each week goes to good causes across the UK. 

York Civic Trust awarded £250k National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for York Trailblazers Read More »

York becomes first city with an elected Culture Executive in UK

A broad coalition of people passionate about culture and creativity have been democratically elected to York’s new Culture Executive from across the sector: together, they will oversee the future direction of the city’s Culture Strategy, York’s Creative Future.  

In 2020, the ambitious Culture Strategy mapping out the next five years of York’s Creative Future was launched. A joint initiative between Make It York, City of York Council and the city’s cultural and creative sector, the strategy aims to create opportunity and make culture relevant and accessible to everyone in the city.   

A key priority within the city’s Culture Strategy has been to create more democratic and open structures: the York Culture Forum opened in December 2021, and it now has over 160 members. They represent a broad range of creative freelancers and members of culture, heritage and creative organisations. As the organisation leading the delivery of the Culture Strategy, Make It York has worked closely with City of York Council and the cultural and creative sector to build this process together and ensure robust engagement with it. 

Over the summer, nominations were open for any members of the York Culture Forum who wanted to stand for a voluntary elected position on the Culture Executive. The York Culture Executive, who will oversee the future direction and implementation of the city’s Culture Strategy, York’s Creative Future, have been democratically elected by the York Culture Forum this September.  

There are seven newly elected members of the Culture Executive group, who will lead on specific Priority Areas of the Culture Strategy, as well as General Members who will support across the breadth of the strategy. They are:  

  • Barbara Swinn, Head of Strategy and Engagement at York Explore Libraries and Archives, as Head of Priority Area – Cultural Engagement, Participation and Relevance   
  • Andrew Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of York Civic Trust and Fairfax House, as Head of Priority Area – Placemaking   
  • Lydia Cottrell, Founder of SLAP and freelance multi-disciplinary artist, as Head of Priority Area – Talent Development and Retention   
  • Sarah Maltby, Director of Attractions at Jorvik Group, as Head of Priority Area – York’s National and International Profile 
  • Rachel Cowgill, Professor of Music and University Research Theme Champion for Creativity, University of York, as General Member  
  • Tom Bird, Chief Executive of York Theatre Royal, as General Member   
  • Rebecca Newman, Soprano and Managing Director of York Proms, as General Member.  

They join the non-elected members:   

  • Chris Edwards, Chair of REACH, the Local Cultural Education Partnership, as Head of Priority Area – Children and Young People   
  • Owen Turner, Master of the Guild of Media Arts, representing the UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts designation   
  • Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, as co-Chair of the York Culture Forum and Head of Priority Area – Culture and Wellbeing  
  • Councillor Darryl Smalley, representing City of York Council, as Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities.   

The Executive will be led by two co-chairs – Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York and a co-chair appointed from and by the incoming Executive. The group will meet bi-monthly to steer the strategy’s future direction. The first meeting of the new Culture Executive will take place in October. 

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York and Co-Chair of York Culture Forum, said: “It’s a really exciting time for culture in York. Through the York Culture Forum, we’ve created a new space for people working across the culture and creative sectors to connect, come together to share knowledge, and develop partnerships – and with the newly elected Culture Executive in place, the sector can now really take the lead in shaping the future direction of the city’s Culture Strategy. I’m very much looking forward to working with the new Culture Executive: they’re an incredible group of people, with so much expertise, passion and energy.     

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities said: “I look forward to working with the newly elected Culture Executive, who will with their experience, creativity and leadership help us bring York’s ambitious culture strategy to life. It’s a really exciting time for culture across the city, and York is leading the way in having an elected executive driving forward the delivery of our culture strategy. I’d urge any interested organisations or people working across the sector to get involved in the Culture Forum and help shape York’s creative future.” 

Andrew Morrison, Chief Executive Officer at York Civic Trust, said: “The Culture Forum is a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved in one of the most important parts of life in York to work together to develop and promote the vibrant and enriching creative and cultural community it is. I am excited to have been elected to join the executive in order to help support this development and in particular to help to ensure that opportunities for everyone to experience York’s kaleidoscope of culture are embedded within the fabric of the city as it develops.” 

Rachel Cowgill, Professor of Music and University Research Theme Champion for Creativity, University of York, said: “I’m excited to be joining the Culture Forum Executive at such a crucial time in the creative and cultural life of the city.  The cost-of-living crisis poses huge challenges, and we all have a part to play, as organisations and individuals working together, in promoting a culture of vitality, inclusion and well-being through creativity, arts and heritage. I’m excited to join as part of the University of York’s commitment as a university for public good to helping create the conditions for all parts of society to flourish.”  

Sarah Maltby, Director of Attractions at Jorvik Group, said: “I am delighted to join the executive group to bring the benefits to York; its residents and visitors, through the new Cultural Strategy. We have huge opportunities to work together to enhance York’s impact on a national and international stage and I am very pleased to be able to play a part in making that happen.”  

ENDS 

 
For more information: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer 

Make It York Communications Team 

Comms@makeityork.com 

Notes to Editors: 

About the York Culture Forum 

The Culture Forum is open to anyone working within the arts, culture, heritage, and creative sectors, including collections, combined arts, dance, libraries, literature, museums, music, theatre and the visual arts, as well as people’s own creative participation in, and interpretations of, culture based within York. Find out more and sign up to join the Forum here: York Culture Forum (makeityork.com)   

About the Culture Strategy 

York’s Creative Future has inclusion and participation at its core, and the commitment to ensure that culture is relevant and accessible to everybody in York – regardless of age, background or postcode. It places culture at the heart of activities from major capital developments, to residents’ wellbeing – and will work to ensure cultural entitlement for every child. 

The Culture Strategy has the ambition to transform York – and by 2025 we believe York will be known as a city where outstanding, renowned heritage comes together with a cutting-edge and contemporary approach to creativity – reflecting the city’s rich history and its status as the UK’s first UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts. 

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.   

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Cultural Strategy 

York becomes first city with an elected Culture Executive in UK Read More »

York Sculpture Trail Character Commission

Make It York is looking for visual artists, designers and illustrators to create a unique character or creature, bespoke to the city, that will be transformed into 3D, larger than life sculpture models as part of a family-friendly city-wide trail in 2023.

Submit your design using this form on the Make It York website by 12 noon on 14 October 2022.

Sculpture Trail Background

The 2023 sculpture trail will see 25/30 large scale sculptures strategically placed around the city to form a vibrant and bold family friendly trail of characters or creatures. Each sculpture model will be customised by being decorated with unique designs (through painting, applique, etc.) from Yorkshire-based artists, in response to a set overarching theme.

It is expected the sculptures will remain in situ for a period of four months and will be complimented with a programme of workshops, talks and demonstrations from our commissioned artists.

While this trail model has been seen widely across the country, taking the form of animals and other shapes in a multitude of formats, we’re looking to create something bespoke for the city – creating our own story and narrative for residents and visitors of York to explore.

About the Character Commission

We’re looking to commission an artist to design a character or creature that represents the city, something new and something different, that we will then turn into the sculpture model for the trail. Not only that, we’re interested in the narrative and why artists have chosen to create this particular design.

Perhaps the character plays on the heritage of York, a concept that is unearthed or has been missed from the city achieves, even a myth brought to life. Maybe this character or creature has found itself misplaced in the city, maybe it’s a fantastical never-seen-before animal, or perhaps it’s another construct entirely.

We are keeping the commission as open as possible to allow artists freedom of interpretation to create this character however, the trail will be family friendly and submitted designs must take that into consideration.

Practically, the selected design will be cast and transformed into a 5/6ft tall sculpture and therefore cannot be overly complex and highly detailed. Once produced the blank sculptures will be brought to life with different artist designs, meaning the shape of the character is key as this will be the defining element across the trail.

Another consideration is to keep designs as contained as possible, loose aspects to the character increase the likelihood of damage to the sculptures once they are in situ. Keeping the sculpture as solid and contained as possible reduces the risk of damage. For example, a long upward tail of a cat would be more prone to damage that one wrapped around the cat.

The selected artist will be decided by Make It York. The commissioned artist will be awarded a £1000 commission fee for the design and narrative of the character alongside an additional artistic fee of £1000 to create one of the artistic designs and bring a sculpture to life as part of the trail itself.

Upon commissioning Make It York will work with the artist and the manufacturing company to tweak designs where appropriate for the most suitable replication in a physical format.

Submit your design using this form on the Make It York website by 12 noon on 14 October 2022.

Commission Criteria

  • Artists may submit a maximum of two entries.
  • Anyone over the age of sixteen is eligible to submit a design.
  • Artists should reside in Yorkshire (including all of North, East, South and West)
  • Designs that do not fit the commission criteria will not be accepted.
  • Only new designs will be permitted – designs which already exist and have been used in other contexts will not be accepted.
  • The artist should submit a visual drawn/designed representation of their concept. This should be in PDF or image format.
  • Artists should also complete the expression of interest form and include details of the character narrative.
  • Designs should be considered practically based on the shape and elements for large scale reproducing.
  • The commissioned artist will be required to make tweaks to the design if needed following selection and consultation with the production company.
  • Entries remain the intellectual property of the artist and will be kept on record for informational purposes only by Make It York. Artists may contact the company to request their design be removed from records.
  • The selected artists commission fee includes a buyout fee of £1000 of the intellectual property of the design, which will become the property of Make It York, who will have sole right to replicate the design for the production of the trail and potential commercial opportunities to run alongside. The artist will not receive a share of sales.
  • An additional £1000 artistic fee will be awarded to the selected artist to create a design on one of the sculptures as part of the trail.
  • Decisions will be made in October 2022, with the winner being notified on or before 4th November 2022.
  • The decision of Make It York on the outcome of the commission is final, although we are happy to provide feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

York Sculpture Trail Character Commission Read More »

Nine Organisations Awarded Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2022

Nine York-based charities, social enterprises, community groups and individuals have been awarded grant funding by Make It York and City of York Council, made available via the Better Care Fund. The Cultural Wellbeing grant funding will support a range of initiatives for York residents, which are designed to support mental wellbeing and reduce loneliness and isolation.  

A total of £30,000 was made available for organisations to help isolated people engage in their communities, combat mental ill-health, improve physical health, enable participation in culture and creativity, or access to employment and learning opportunities. Organisations were invited to apply to grants up to £5,000 to aid initiatives throughout the city, which will be taking place from summer 2022 through to March 2023.  

The projects that will be funded through the Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2022 are:  

  • Singing for all with Jessa‘Singing For All York’ – reducing loneliness and isolation by providing inclusive and informal singing sessions for those living with dementia or other physical/mental health conditions, carers, and those in good health.  
  • New Visuality‘Intergenerational Art: Memories and Hope’ – encouraging the sharing of memories, stories, and anecdotes by elderly people to make them feel more part of their community and more connected with younger people, which will then form various art projects throughout the city 
  • Next Door But One‘A Rehearsal for Life’ – providing young adults with multiple and complex disabilities a safe space to explore feelings of fear, anxiety and safety about real-life experiences through theatre, to help them develop personal resilience and social skills for when these scenarios arise 
  • Thunk-It Theatre‘Enchanted’ – enticing members of the local community to enjoy creative green spaces in our city to reduce isolation and loneliness using craft-making and storytelling 
  • Pilot Theatre‘Creative Connections with Sanctuary-Seekers’ – creating a series of arts, crafts, and dance sessions to welcome sanctuary-seekers into York and provide them a safe space to socialise, including Ukrainian refugees in York 
  • Converge‘An Exhibition of Sanctuary: from the hospital to the city’ – creating works of art with patients at Foss Park Mental Health Hospital to explore ideas of sanctuary in a stressful, busy world which will later form an exhibition in the city  
  • National Centre for Early Music‘Baroque around the Books’ – a tour of musical performances around York Explore community libraries to encourage creative conversations and share musical experiences with members of the community  
  • Bolshee‘Bolshee Women’ – an exploration of contemporary autobiographical performance techniques which will result in a co-created performance that aims to combat social isolation of women over the age of 25 
  • ‘The Artery for Health’ led by heritage and cultural learning consultant Karen Merrifield – establishing a programme to understand how artists and cultural organisations can provide solace, support and comfort for patients and healthcare professionals through art therapy and art interventions. 
     

Helen Apsey, Head of Culture and Wellbeing at Make It York, says: “This year’s Cultural Wellbeing Grants projects reflect the immense breadth and diversity of cultural initiatives taking place in the city to support people’s mental wellbeing, and to reduce isolation. They range from creative activity sessions for sanctuary-seekers in York, to an art exhibition by patients at Foss Park Mental Health Hospital, through to a programme of performance techniques to combat social isolation in women over 25. 

“The Cultural Wellbeing Grants are a really important scheme to support residents’ wellbeing, which is at the heart of the York Culture Strategy. It’s a privilege to be able to support these vital initiatives from Make It York.” 

Councillor Darryl Smalley, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Communities, says: “The Cultural Wellbeing Grants are a really vital scheme, building on our work in tackling isolation and supporting mental health across the city. This is particularly important in the aftermath of the pandemic. Thank you to all those organisations who submitted so many excellent bids, it’s great once again to see how many creative institutions there are across York.   

“The successful projects, from singing lessons to intergenerational art, will all deliver crucial support in bolstering residents’ health and wellbeing. I look forward to seeing these projects deliver a real difference across York’s communities.” 

ENDS 

For more information: 

Sarah Foster and Brittany Guymer, Communications Team at Make It York 

Comms@makeityork.com 

Notes to Editors: 

Further information for the Cultural Wellbeing grants can be found here: https://www.makeityork.com/culture/cultural-wellbeing-grants  

If you have any queries or need support with the grant processes, please email: Carl.wain@york.gov.uk  

About Make It York 

Make It York’s purpose is to develop and promote the city and its surroundings – nationally and internationally – as a vibrant and attractive place to live, visit, study, work and do business. Its mission is to grow the economic prosperity and wider wellbeing of York and its citizens. In practice, this means delivering a range of projects and programmes based around our corporate strategic priorities.  

These are:  

  • City positioning and profile-raising 
  • Ensuring an exciting city centre 
  • Delivering the city’s ground-breaking Culture Strategy 

Nine Organisations Awarded Cultural Wellbeing Grants 2022 Read More »

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