Our definition of the north is based upon the Arts Council’s North East, North West and Yorkshire regions which themselves are coterminous with standard English regions used, for example, by the ONS.
To be nominated for the Northern Art Prize an artist must have a permanent address within one of these regions. We don’t define how long they must have lived here, neither do we exclude artists who have a second address elsewhere (as long as their primary and permanent residential address is in the northern boundaries as defined above).
On this years’ shortlist we have an artist who has spent the majority of their career based in the north and an artist who has recently relocated. Should the former be considered more ‘northern’ than the latter? Well, it depends on your criteria. But our criteria say ‘no.’ We are interested in a north that is interconnected and part of a wider arts economy, not a north that is protective and parochial. We seek a north that is a place artists want to stay (if they were born here or study here) but also a place that artists want to move to. We want to counter the typical narrative of students who graduate from the many great arts courses at northern colleges or universities who then move to London, Glasgow or Europe because of an actual or perceived lack of opportunity for those who stay.