The world has gone competition crazy. From (lowbrow) Britain’s Got Talent to the (highbrow) Turner Prize, talent shows are spreading across Britain’s creative consciousness like they’re catching.
In Manchester, Cathedral Gardens is gearing up to host the 24-hour ‘conversation’ that is the Tony Wilson Experience. On Midsummer’s Eve, a clutch of young creatives will get the chance to debate, learn and question big-name media, music and design stars. This lucky, lucky audience of 200 only got in on the action by uploading their ‘inspired moment’ via the TWE website. (Presumably, whoever was most inspired woke up one morning to find an invite sitting suggestively on their doormat.)
There are, as yet, no plans to release the winning inspired submissions, and what arrangements there are for the event itself remain deliberately sketchy. But that’s the point: interesting, experimental things need space to grow, and TWE is simply a space, some time and a group of people who may or may not come up with something profound to say.
Elsewhere, the Noise festival, a bi-annual creative shindig with roots in Manchester, is well underway.
And then, of course, there are the Best of Manchester awards. Possibly the only creative talent show not aimed solely at the youth of today, it’s designed to showcase the talents of those who’ve spent a few years or more grafting at the coalface of the creative industries. (And to give people whose work is impossible to categorise a place where their creative endeavours can shine.)
So what links these creative competitions? Peter Saville. It was he who dreamed up the Tony Wilson Experience and he’s a judge for both Noise and the Best of Manchester. Peter is also creative director to the city of Manchester, runs his own studio, is creative consultant to Manchester International Festival and, oh, a million other things. Suffice to say, he’s a busy man. So lucky us that he’s made the time to preside over the Best of… competition, and lucky you if he ends up judging your work.
(For the record, Peter doesn’t have anything at all to do with Britain’s Got Talent or the Turner Prize, but if Simon Cowell or Nick Serota would like his email address we’d be happy to oblige…)
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