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  • Writer's pictureClaire Venus


Two Northumberland based artists have been shortlisted for the North East emerging artist award. Read on for the full press release from National Trust and please consider sharing and supporting all of the artists and their work.

· Eight shortlisted artists for award’s second year are revealed

· Two will be chosen to create artwork at Seaton Delaval Hall

· The winning artworks will be showcased at the Hall in spring 2024.

Eight artists have been shortlisted for the second North East Emerging Artist Award, a collaboration between the National Trust at Seaton Delaval Hall and independent curator, Matthew Jarratt.

From submissions for this second year, the eight artists have been presented with bursaries and mentoring to research and develop their proposals. These proposals will be displayed in Seaton Delaval Hall’s grand stables in April and May of this year with visitors encouraged to vote for their favourites. The winning three proposals from the first year of the award are now being developed and will be exhibited in the spring of 2023.

The eight shortlisted artists are:

· Sunderland-based Annabel Blackett a print and ceramics specialist

· Gateshead’s Rachel Blackwell, a sculptor working primarily in metal and stone.

· Richard Eyers, a photographer from the Borders.

· Jacob Goff, a Northumbria University fashion graduate and designer

· Wambui Hardcastle, a Newcastle-based performer, writer and director

· Amy Jowett from Newcastle University, uses new media to reimagine heritage sites.

· Luke McTaggart, Amble-based painter and graduate of Northumbria University

· Stevie Ronnie, based in Corbridge, uses a diverse range of media and materials to explore language.

The award provides opportunities for emerging and early career artists and creative practitioners in or from the North East. It is open to artists from all artforms including music/sound, theatre, film, fashion, literature and design as well as fine art. Its aim is to showcase site specific contemporary art in an historic context and to encourage emerging artists to develop proposals at Seaton Delaval Hall, one of the region’s most distinct historic settings.

Throughout its history Seaton Delaval Hall and its inhabitants have been synonymous with artistic support, from commissioning painter Arthur Pond to produce views of the Hall, the backing of erotic novelist, John Clelland, and the patronage of William Bell who produced family portraits and tutored Rhoda Delaval through to the 21st Lord Hastings’ support of The Royal Ballet.

The eight shortlisted proposals will be on display at Seaton Delaval Hall from Wednesday 19 April until Sunday 14 May. This will closely be followed by the exhibition by the first year’s three winners from Wednesday 17 May – Sunday 11 June. On these dates the Hall is open Wednesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm during term time and seven days a week during Northumberland school holidays. Last admission is 4pm. Standard admission applies.

Picture attachment:

· Seaton Delaval Hall © Colin Davison Photography

· Richard Eyers, Matthew Jarratt (Curator), Luke McTaggart, Wambui Hardcastle, Amy Jowett, Emma Thomas (Seaton Delaval Hall General Manager), Jacob Goff, Annabelle Blackett, Rachel Blackwell


About the National Trust

The National Trust is a conservation charity founded in 1895 by three people: Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley, who saw the importance of the nation's heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. Today, across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we continue to look after places so people and nature can thrive.

The challenges of the coronavirus pandemic have shown this is more important than ever. From finding fresh air and open skies to tracking a bee's flight to a flower; from finding beauty in an exquisite painting or discovering the hidden history of a country house nearby - the places we care for enrich people's lives. Entirely independent of Government, the National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 780 miles of coastline and 500 historic properties, gardens and nature reserves.

The National Trust is for everyone - we were founded for the benefit of the whole nation. We receive on average more than 26.9 million visits each year to the places we care for that have an entry fee, and an estimated 100m visits to the outdoor places that are free of charge. Paying visitors, together with our 5.6 million members and more than 53,000 volunteers, support our work to care for nature, beauty, history. For everyone, for ever.

About Seaton Delaval Hall

Seaton Delaval Hall was commissioned by Admiral George Delaval and designed by Sir John Vanbrugh, the architect behind Castle Howard and Blenheim Palace. Partially destroyed by fire in 1822, it is considered to be one of the finest examples of baroque architecture, having had little subsequent intervention.

The hall was home to the larger-than-life Delaval family, known as the ‘Gay Delavals’ due to their high spirited and flamboyant lifestyle. In an age notorious for extremes of behaviour, they stood apart as the most notorious of all Georgian partygoers and pranksters. The Delavals loved a performance, staging events from rope dancers and sack races outdoors to masquerade balls and even their own theatrical productions, which earned rave reviews at the time.

Following the death of the 22nd Lord and Lady Hastings, the National Trust acquired Seaton Delaval Hall in 2009, achieved in part as a result of extensive fundraising support from the local community. Since then, the Trust has undertaken much needed conservation work at the hall including rewiring the West Wing; connecting to mains drainage and sewerage, relaying the Central Hall floor and stabilising its statues and reroofing the East Wing.

Thanks to the generous donation from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, between 2018 and 2022 the Curtain Rises project introduced improvements to visitor facilities, extensive conservation work and the re-presentation of Seaton Delaval Hall’s colourful stories.

Matthew is based in North East England, and has worked across the UK, Europe and China on arts commissioning, curatorial projects and cultural policy.

Matthew worked as an artist from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s and then spent 15 years at Arts Council England as a creative broker helping to shape the North East’s culture led regeneration, working on many new arts buildings, artist’s commissions and opportunities for new artists across the region. Between 2008/10 Matthew represented the cultural sector at the North East England Office in Brussels.

Since 2013 he has managed the North East Culture Partnership, curated visual arts projects across China, established and curated Cheeseburn Sculpture Gardens in Northumberland (2014-2021) and worked with private sector clients to commission over 30 public artworks within new capital developments in England and Scotland. In autumn 2019 Matthew was appointed as an Associate Professor with Newcastle University to develop closer links through arts and culture between Newcastle and East Asia and exhibitions addressing Climate Change.

Matthew has a longstanding commitment to encourage opportunities for early career artists. Through his work at Cheeseburn he mentored over 50 young fine art graduates and is currently managing new commissions for 11 young photographers, sculptors and poets within new private sector capital developments across the UK, Matthew’s work in China has twice included judging the Art Nova 100 prize which supports 100 young Chinese artists each year in Beijing and was the international judge for the Earth Art competition for young environmental architects and designers in Changchun.

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