About TPYH

Turning Point Yorkshire & Humber is a project investigating and recommending ways to strengthen our region’s Visual Arts sector.

We are creative practitioners, independent professionals and members of visual arts organisations within the region.

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Culture and well-being - make your views count

I have heard hollow laughter when the phrase ‘evidence-based policy’ is mentioned. Perhaps the ‘dodgy dossier’ that got us into the Iraq war has much to answer for here, but the fact is that all policy these days relies on statistical data about us and our lives. As a quick visit to the website of the Office for National Statistics will immediately confirm the amount and depth of data held by Government is stunning, and growing in sophistication with every year that passes. It is also very open to public scrutiny in a way that our personal supermarket shopping preferences are not.

The pursuit of a national well-being index is an important part of the picture for all policy-makers, who need to understand the connection between their decisions and the opportunities and challenges we face in daily life. How surprising it is, then, given the acknowledged importance of culture in all societies, that culture is not included as a domain in the draft index. Reliable indicators exist. Access to culture and opportunity to participate is measured robustly through the DCMS Taking Part survey of arts and cultural participation, and through questions within the Active People survey on sport and leisure.

Compare the omission of culture with the inclusion of the ‘fear of violent crime’ indicator from the British Crime Survey, which will certainly find a place in the index. What an upside-down view of well-being it is that defines it as a reduced likelihood of being murdered in our homes rather than an enhanced opportunity to express ourselves and our ideas in the company of others! Not surprisingly most of the groups involved in the consultation process to date also rank culture relatively high on the list of indicators of well-being making its omission seem doubly perverse. There is a full report of the responses to date on the ONS website. You can take part in the consultation yourself by completing a questionnaire by 23 January. This can be found at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/index.html

Chris Bailey

Chair, Turning Point Yorkshire & Humber


North Yorkshire Open Studios - EARLY BIRD DEADLINE

North Yorkshire Open Studios are offering a reduced application fee of £10 for all applications received by 5pm, 16 December 2012. The 2012 Open Studio dates  will be 9/10 and 16/17 June 2011* (possible additional date to be added) and the final deadline for all applications is 5pm, 6 January 2012. Visit http://www.art-connections.org.uk for more info.


North Yorkshire Open Studios - Early Bird Deadline

North Yorkshire Open Studios are offering a reduced application fee of £10 for all applications received by 5pm, 16 December 2012. The Open Studio dates for this year will be 9/10 and 16/17 June 2011* (possible additional date to be added) and the final deadline for applications is 5pm, 6 January 2012. This year we will continue to feature some of the very best artists in North Yorkshire through the open studio event, exhibitions, workshops and commissions. One of the main attractions for visitors is the chance to visit artists where they work, however applications are also welcomed from artists who need to find a suitable venue and organisers (Art Connections) will offer assistance in that area. For more info on how to apply please visit http://www.art-connections.org.uk


Are we there yet? 

Personal ruminations about the national Turning Point network and Turning Point Yorkshire and Humber by Steve Manthorp, Co-ordinator, TPYH

There is a slip road off the M621 in Leeds that seems to go full-circle several times before finally ejecting you into Hunslet.  Turning Point feels a bit like that to me.


What I mean is, the visual arts regionally and nationally seem to have been at this Turning Point forever: surely we should have actually turned by now?

The slip road formerly known as Turning Point

The name begs an important question.  Whence is the visual arts sector turning, and what is it turning towards?  For me, the answer is a harsh one.  The national Turning Point network has come into being because the visual arts sector has historically punched below its weight in terms of audience and markets, in terms of advocacy, in terms of its critical importance to the world we live in.  It’s a sorry position that very few who work in the sector, whether as practitioners, administrators or stakeholders can claim no part in.  That is the past that we are rejecting.

What we are turning towards is a sector that speaks with a coherent, collective voice; a sector which maximises its potential to change lives for audiences and participants and to enable its professionals to make a good living; a sector that celebrates excellence, and in which the excellent seek to help others achieve it too.

It’s clear to me that in Yorkshire and the Humber we have made a start.  13.7% of the total regional NPO spend 2012-15 has been allocated to Y&H visual arts clients, up from 11.9% of the total RFO allocation in the final year of the previous funding regime.  It may not be spectacular growth – and NPO funding tells only one part of a complex story - but it’s growth, nonetheless.

I believe that the regional visual arts sector is in a position to make further strides. I would not have taken up the role of co-ordinator of Turning Point Yorkshire and Humber if I did not believe that was the case. 

Beacon organisations and initiatives (it would be invidious to list some exemplars and risk omitting others) have done a great deal to raise the profile of the visual arts and to develop audiences with an appetite for it.  Those beacon organisations are now in a position to offer the support to the rest of the region’s visual arts sector that their pre-eminence - and the conditions of their NPO funding - demand.  Whether and how they do that will set a road map for the future direction of the visual arts sector in the region.  Knowing their officers and their collective dedication to sector and to region, I believe we have every reason to expect a bright future – but if any fail in that responsibility they can and should be held to account.

At the creative grass roots, several exemplary artist-led initiatives have inspired practitioners to work collectively in developing ambitious proposals of their own; and to seek project funding at levels that, historically, only ‘the usual suspect’ large organisations would have had the confidence to apply for – or inspired the confidence to be awarded that funding.

So have we turned the corner yet?  Perhaps we have.  There is a move within the national Turning Point network to change its name.  Maybe this is just a distraction, or maybe it’s a recognition that we have moved beyond ongoing crisis to a phase of growth and maturity. 

Any suggestions for a new name, gentle reader?  My offering – Round the Bend – fell on deaf ears.


Steve Manthorp

Co-ordinator, Turning Point Yorkshire and Humber


This post represents my own opinion and is, more than anything, an invitation to dialogue.  If you have any thoughts about what Turning Point should be doing to support the visual arts in Yorkshire and Humber, please share them via this site or if you prefer, email them to me privately – or just collar me at the next private view or event you see me at.


Compass Festival of Live Art starts this Friday

Compass Festival of Live Art 25-27 Nov

Pop along to the Leeds this weekend for the Compass Festival of Live Art: cake, storytellers dressed as Kings, a radio orchestra, 12 hour speech making, an inspiration exchange, artists on Leeds Bridge, in Leeds Museum, Leeds Market, Queens Square, the Town Hall Courtroom and The Light - where the cake is.

The full programme and map is available on http://www.compassliveart.org.uk/