Issue 116/05, p15, 01.05.2016
What stories should the Great Exhibition of the North tell?
Emerson Mayes, director, New Light visual arts charity

“At New Light, we believe the Great Exhibition of the North should shine a light on the wealth of talent, excellence and variety of the visual artists working in the north of England today.

While there are some high-profile artists from the north, we hope the Great Exhibition will dig a little deeper and reflect the breadth of highly skilled artists that live and work in the north.

There is a multitude of public and private galleries across the region telling these stories every day, ready
to visit and explore now.”

01052016-mike-bensonMike Benson, director, National Coal Mining Museum for England

“Where to start? Always a powerhouse, a centre of creativity, innovation, community can-do and activism.

Let’s have the Codex Amiatinus, the work of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworh, Scoresby’s crows nest and
Captain Cook’s.

Who wouldn’t be moved by the miners’ banners – the values of community, valuing work and playing a role in making the world a better place for all.

Best mention the north’s shaping of popular music, from the Beatles to the Artic Monkeys.

And the warmth of the folk, part of our intangible heritage for me, 28 years a steelworker.”

01052016-jane-whitakerJane Whittaker, head of collections, The Bowes Museum

“The north’s rich history, architectural, industrial and entrepreneurial heritage, unique landscape and culture, and its strong sense of identity, are stories worth the telling.

Think Romans; St Cuthbert’s posthumous journey to his final resting place, now the majestic Durham Cathedral; Bede, the Father of English History; the grittiness of railways and mining; Metrocentre, Europe’s largest shopping/leisure centre; and the Angel of the North.

The story of The Bowes Museum reflects the pioneering northern spirit; a similar vision and philanthropy is woven into the north’s many stories.”

01052016-peter-murrayPeter Murray, executive and founding director, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

“It should tell the story of the making of our landscape: how this has been defined by our medieval past, industrialisation and artistic interpretation.

Making has shaped our view of our environment, from agriculture, industrial revolution and coal mining to today’s cutting-edge technology.

Artistic endeavour, from Moore to Hockney, continues to shape our view of the landscape, as does literature, from Auden to Armitage.

The exhibition should be a celebration in words, dance, music and the visual arts, paying homage to the influence of the land on creativity.”