‘York’s cultural scene is really exciting – but I fear for the makers and artists in the city’

Best Visual Artist winner 2017 - Emily Sutton

Culture? York has it in abundance.

And the best of the best is celebrated in the York Culture Awards. Free to enter, there are 15 award categories, open to all. The closing date is September 28.

The winners will be announced at a November ceremony. In the run up to the deadline we are asking York Culture Award judges for their thoughts on the artistic scene in the city.

Today it’s the turn of Lotte Inch who is lead judge in the Outstanding Visual Artist category.

‘We need a new music venue’

Illuminating York in 2013. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
What makes York’s cultural scene special?
York’s cultural scene is in a really exciting stage of growth at the moment and it’s really great to see some grass roots and below-the-radar projects emerging thanks to the pure determination and creative drive of the people behind them, whilst also watching the more established cultural spaces up their game in response to this and to the general nature of our times.


What are you looking for in an outstanding visual artist?
Someone with passion, drive and obviously talent. Someone too that is really down to earth whilst challenging the norm.


What culture in York have you most enjoyed this year?
Bloom! was of course, brilliant! It was great to see so many people get involved and get creative. I’m really excited about the York Mediale too!

York Open Studios also deserves a huge round of applause. It grows bigger and better each year and attracts people from far and wide over the two weekends in April.



What is the strangest or most memorable cultural event you have ever seen in York?
Some of the displays in St Mary’s have been amazing over the years. For all-time impressive and memorable though, it has to be the early Illuminating York festivals and the brilliant light shows on the Castle Museum.


What do you think York’s cultural scene is missing?
York desperately needs affordable studio space and workshops in order to encourage creative and talented young individuals to stay in the city. I also think that York is really missing a high-end music venue.


What are your hopes and fears for York’s cultural scene in the future?
I fear for the makers and artists in the city. That they will be forced away from York through high rates and lack of exhibition space and support in making their dreams a reality. That goes for music too really.

I am excited to see how the long-term cultural strategy for the city, which is currently being put together, can shape the future and the inclusion of culture and the arts into the everyday environment in York.


Lotte Inch runs the Lotte Inch Gallery on Bootham, and was curator of Bloom!

York Culture Awards

The York Culture Awards celebrates excellence in the arts and culture sector and rewards outstanding innovation, creativity and quality.

They are an opportunity to showcase our city-wide cultural achievements and future plans, as well as to inspire and motivate organisations, businesses and educational institutions to make York’s cultural offer stronger.

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