And just like that, the season of glad tidings and great joy is upon us. Is it just us, but how quickly did 2018 go by? We’re convinced this year only had seven months and have real concerns about where the missing five went.
As we approach 2019, our tidings are very glad thank you very much and we couldn’t be more joyful.
You see, over the past 2 weeks we have brought together a seriously talented group of artists to launch our Represent North online directory to tell the world what we already know – that they’re utterly amazing.
We’ve worked with the amazing food blogger, social media influencer and all round lovely soul Freda Shafi to deliver a Make Social Media Work for You masterclass for our artists. Algorithms? Hashtags? Isn’t it funny how things work better when you understand how they work?
And at a time when funding for the arts is under more pressure for ever, our guest panel of funders – Arts Council England, Leeds Inspired and Heritage Lottery Fund – shared top tips and priceless advice on developing strong projects and bids.
As for our Winter Warmer Showcase which introduced our listed artists to some lovely folk from the region’s cultural sector who took the time out to join us for a small but perfectly formed exhibition at East Street Arts’ Union 105 Studio – it was a great night which we’re sure will result in new collaborations and relationships. (Note to self, there’s nothing like great food and drink to bring people together – mini Yorkshire puds with Caribbean spiced pulled beef in gravy washed down with ginger rum punch are a revelation).
We’re here because the artists of colour from the worlds of Caribbean Carnival, music, theatre, writing, media and more we have listed here and those that will join them next year have talents, dreams and ambitions that are far too under-represented in the Yorkshire cultural sector.
Just this week Sir Lenny Henry said “It’s the epitome of madness to keep fishing from the same narrow pool and serve only the same narrow demographic.”
We agree. So Represent North’s ambition is to boost our artists’ appeal, presence, entrepreneurial and artistic skills and to forge new connections with the wider arts and cultural scene. We want the arts to reflect what our cities truly look like, for the talent pool to be bigger and more representative of what’s really out there – for the ‘diversity’ buzz word to be genuinely representative and inclusive too. This is what we’ll be about in 2019.
As the Jamaican proverb goes, ‘One hand can’t clap.’ In other words we can’t do this alone so we’re grateful for the support of our funders Arts Council England, Leed Inspired and Leeds 2023. We’re looking forward to expanding our roster of partners who have helped us get this far including The Tetley, East Street Arts, The Geraldine Connor Foundation and RJC Dance.
So to our artists and artists everywhere, here’s to big ambitions and realised dreams; to collaborating with artistic soul mates and learning from the best; to light bulb moments illuminating the project of a life time; and the sound of pennies dropping as the world realises just how fabulous you are.
Wishing you glad tidings and great joy throughout 2019 and beyond.
Winter Warmer Images by Nick Singleton