The arts project that asks: Is it really grim up North?

‘These Northern Types’ is a project where having gravy with your chips is an equally important topic of conversation as social division.

An exhibition and soon to be a book, ‘These Northern Types’ celebrates Northern identity through selected works and written contributions from some of the region’s leading talents, including 2018 Walter Scott Prize winning author, journalist and poet Benjamin Myers, and musician Boff Whalley. The culture of the region is delineated by posing questions about the perception of the north, with a focus on the exploration of social division, class, racism and globalisation.

Created by Oli Bentley, creative director of Leeds-based design studio, Split, the book and exhibition is the culmination of two years of development. Alongside a team of writers, makers, printers, metal workers and engineers, sociologists, poets and musicians, Oli and his team worked with a cross section of the city’s multi-cultural community to shape the works.

Speaking about the project, Oli said: “I became fascinated by this vague, community-owned thing we call Northern identity, which was my inspiration for this project. ‘These Northern Types’ explores these themes, as well as our relationship to place more generally, from a variety of angles and in a variety of styles. I hope it asks some interesting and timely questions about not only what it means to be from the North, but what it means to be from anywhere in today’s globalised world.

The perception of what it means to be from the North is explored, exposing Northern tropes as a thought-provoking topic of discussion. Through the opportunity to engage with visual depictions and literary introspection, an insight into northern identity is formed, which acts as an almost anecdotal autobiography. We are encouraged to examine our own place within a globalised world, and what better way to start than by engaging with the cultural heritage of the powerhouse that is the North of England.

The exhibition ‘These Northern Types’ will be on display at Colours May Vary and The Gallery at 164 in Leeds between 23 August and 15 September 2018

The book launch is at 6-8pm on Friday 24 August 2018 at Colours May Vary in Leeds and will include DJs from The Leaf Label, drinks from North Brewing Co and printing on one of the key works from the exhibition, the giant ‘People Powered Press’, built by local engineering firm JKN Oil Tools. Buy tickets here

The book will be available to buy from Colours May Vary and online from 24 August 2018