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True North: The State of the Arts in the North of England

Helen Pheby (Head of Curatorial Programme at Yorkshire Sculpture Park) and Dr Vanessa Corby FHEA (Associate Professor of Theory, History and Practice of Fine Art at York St John University) lead a public discussion about the pivotal role that artists play in the Yorkshire cultural economy, the infrastructure that is in place to support artists in the North of England and the future of creative/arts based opportunities in the North.

They explore the trajectories taken by Northern artists and those who have made the North their base and pose the questions ‘do Northern born artists have to leave their homeland before they can make-it in the world of contemporary art?'

Guest panelists include installation and colourfield artist Liz West and acclaimed urban artist and illustrator Kid Acne.

This event is open to professional and practicing artists and creatives, arts education providers and those studying the arts from National Diploma Level 3 to PHD.

Please submit a question for the panel, when you book your ticket(s). A selection of those submitted will be answered and discussed during the event.  

Originally from Barnsley, installation and colourfield artist Liz West studied at The Glasgow School of Art, graduating with a BA (Hons) Sculpture and Environmental Art in 2007.

West’s process is intensely research-based, and her work is frequently displayed at museums as well as art galleries. She researches the way we see colour and makes art that makes tangible her findings. By creating vivid environments that use variety of mediums and fuse luminous colour and radiant light, West invites the viewer to explore how sensory phenomena can invoke psychological and physical responses that tap into our own deeply entrenched relationships to colour. 

Large-scale works have included Your Colour Perception in Manchester, An Additive Mix at the National Media Museum and Our Colour Reflection at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre in Scunthorpe, Broadgate London and Kraftwerk Berlin. Most recently, she has exhibited in France, Italy, Dubai and had her first ever retrospective here at The Civic.


Kid Acne is a UK-based artist, illustrator, print-maker and emcee.

His formative years were spent writing graffiti, self-publishing fanzines and making experimental hip-hop – invariably designing and printing the record sleeves by hand. 

A stalwart of the international Street Art movement, Kid Acne has painted large-scale murals across continents and exhibited extensively over the past two decades. In 2011, Museums Sheffield hosted the first comprehensive retrospective of his work, attracting over 50,000 visitors.

Rendered in a distinct illustrative style, his art explores a variety of themes from colloquialisms and typography to mythology and architecture. Most notable however, are his depictions of a self-realised tribe of enigmatic female warriors known as Stabby Women.

Kid Acne’s work can be seen throughout the globe; from wheat-pastes in Melbourne, to gallery shows in Los Angeles, murals in South Yorkshire and animations online. 


Tickets £5

Please note, tickets purchased seven days in advance can be posted to you, but may incur a small fee. Alternatively tickets can be collected from the Box Office during opening hours or prior to the event or performance.