Bruntwood unveils stellar judging panel for Trafford landmark mural competition

The Director of BBC North will be among leading figures from the fields of art, culture and property who will select the winning mural design to transform Greater Manchester landmark Trafford House as part of a UK-wide competition run by regional property company Bruntwood.

Bruntwood opened entries for the competition earlier this year, to artists from all backgrounds across the UK. Their brief is to create a beautiful 38 metre high mural on the East-facing building, which looks onto the major arterial route of Chester Road and Manchester City Centre. Artists who are not used to working on this scale will be supported through the process.

With days to go until the competition closes on August 12th, Bruntwood has announced the stellar judging panel who will choose which talented artist will  put their mark on Manchester.

Packed with Northern cultural heavyweights, the panel will include the BBC’s Director of the North and Director of Children, Alice Webb; the Dean of Manchester School of Art, Penny Macbeth; Ben Barksy, creator of City of Hope festival; Louise Sutherland, Chair of the Pankhurst Trust; and Bruntwood’s Director of Culture Kate Vokes.

The artwork will mark the centenary of the female vote – taking direct inspiration from legendary suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, who was born just metres from the building, close to Old Trafford tram stop and Old Trafford football ground.

Celebrating art and creating spaces which inspire and enliven communities is an important aspect of Bruntwood’s vision, and the resulting mural will be a key addition to Manchester’s growing collection of iconic murals and street art pieces – which bring colour and spirit to everyday spaces.

Kate Vokes, Bruntwood’s Director of Culture, said: “We’re delighted to be announcing this brilliant line up of talented judges from various fields who have generously agreed to give up their time to ensure we select the very best talent to adorn this prominent building.

“Bringing colour, life, and character to everyday spaces is an important part of art’s role and our ambition for this piece is that it will bring inspiration to people living in Trafford and brighten the commute of thousands of people who pass by the building every day. We can’t wait to see all the entries and are looking forward to the challenge that will face us as we look to choose between the fantastic concepts that people have created in response to the brief.”

Ben Barksy, Creator of City of Hope Festival, said: “Street art at its most vital is a vehicle for personal and social expression. It provides a voice for the voiceless and draws attention to issues that are otherwise easy to avoid. Just like all art forms, there is a wide range of styles, techniques and subcultures. Not all works are immediately accessible but they should, however, always be honest and from the heart. For this project we’re looking for something to celebrate the life and work of Sylvia Pankhurst. It should be engaging, enrich the surrounding area and be true to the power of the subject matter.

“It’s easy to see street art now as a sanitized product, but its roots are rebellious and throughout history it has been used as a tool to force witness to issues that would otherwise be censored and suppressed by those in power. Street art therefore is an ideal medium to celebrate the work of Sylvia and the wider Suffragette movement. These were strong and single minded women fighting for their voice to be heard in society. The used direct action and civil disobedience where needed to overturn injustice and inequality. The fact the Sylvia was a keen artist provides the perfect link between the two worlds.

“The fact that this project is open to all is a testament to Bruntwood’s passion for helping and nurturing talent. It may well be an established street artist that delivers the winning vision but if it’s someone less experienced or from a different field, then the tools and support will be provided to help them deliver their vision. It’s an opportunity to work at a scale that few could achieve without this support.”

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