Artists of the Year

An Accelerator of Tees Valley Talent

Five local artists from a range of creative backgrounds have been named as Tees Valley Artists of the Year 2024, following a highly competitive application and shortlisting process. 

All made in Tees Valley, each artist will receive a career changing £30,000 investment and a year-long programme of strategic support to accelerate their development and help them reach a crucial career tipping point. 

Together with the wider creative industry, we have a shared ambition to establish Tees Valley as an engine room of content production and to make our region a vibrant and well-supported place to make creative work. This programme celebrates those making exciting, high-quality work here, helping them develop and build (inter)national recognition and sustainable careers. 

Meet the Artists

Lisette Auton

Lisette Auton

Lisette Auton is a disabled, neurodivergent, working-class, Tees Valley multidisciplinary artist working in the field of literature as a novelist, dramatist, activist, filmmaker and performer.

Based in Darlington, Lisette is the author of three middle grade novels published by Puffin/Penguin Random House The Secret of Haven Point, The Stickleback Catchers, and Lights Up which have been shortlisted for five major awards, achieved Sunday Times Book of the Week, Observer book of the month, and a Guardian Book of the Year. Her fourth book is forthcoming in 2025.

Lisette is the lead author for 2024 Imagine a Story, Southbank Centre, London – writing/editing a book with 2515 school children; touring Summer 2024 nationwide.  

She has made regional and national appearances at book festivals and school tours. In 2019 Lisette was awarded the Early Careers Fellow for Literature at Cove Park. She is also a graduate of Write Now, the Penguin Random House development programme for underrepresented writers and received an Arts Council Developing your Creative Practice grant which enabled her time to write her debut novel.  

In 2018 Lisette won a Creative Future Award and was featured on the TSS Publishing list of Best British & Irish Flash Fiction. She is an Associate Artist with Blue Cabin, and has been Crossing the Tees festival poet in residence, commissioned by and shown in galleries including MIMA, the Courtauld Institute, DASH Arts, and Kirkleatham Museum. She wrote, directed, produced and starred in the Writing the Missing water trilogy series of short films, commissioned by Durham Book Festival over three years. She was Winner of The Journal Culture Award 2021 for Performance of the Year for WRITING THE MISSING – A RIVER CYCLE.   

Lisette has been commissioned to write for four full length plays with runs of performances over the last two years, from Live Theatre Newcastle, Alphabetti Theatre Newcastle, Unfolding Theatre at Arc Stockton, and Queen’s Hall Arts Centre with a 4-star review in the Stage.  

Lisette’s live art includes a major national commission from DASH and the Ampersand Foundation for WAIWAV - We are Invisible, We are Visible, achieving national press coverage in the Guardian and featured in a publication distributed at Tate Exchange museums nationwide.

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Claire A Baker

Claire A Baker

Claire A Baker is a Stockton based visual artist working with textiles and mixed media. Claire’s work has been exhibited in the UK, Ukraine, Russia, USA, Belgium, Germany and Portugal.

Claire’s creative practice is a shared dialogue with communities. Through her artworks, materials, and the blending of digital and hand-rendered techniques she shares messages of love and legacy, heritage and hope. Through stitch, her small acts of activism bring unseen things to light.

Claire recently completed a practice-led PhD at Northumbria University where her research was focused on communicating through embroidery, with a tiny community of Babushkas (aged women) who still live in the isolated Chernobyl zone, digitising, contemporising and extending the life of some of their traditional embroidery motifs. This work built her national and international profile, where she undertook opportunities in other countries and with many different audiences, including both public and academic, the youth, the elderly, women, military groups and charity organisations. Claire has had six articles published in research journals to date and had textile artworks included in specialist books by major authors. 

Two of Claire’s major pieces have been acquired by MIMA for The Middlesbrough Collection and the Baltic Archive Permanent Collection holds work by the 26:86 Collective. Claire was a finalist in the North-East Culture Awards: ‘Visual Artist of the Year’ Finalist, 2022, The Dover Prize Finalist in 2019, Dorothy Waxman Textile-Design Prize Finalist, 2018 Acquisition Prize, Contextile Winner in 2012.  

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Andy Berriman

Andy Berriman

Andy is a filmmaker, writer and director from Stockton on Tees. He has wanted to make films since he was 15 years old after seeing the Lord of the Rings.

After graduating from the Met Film School in 2008 he returned to Stockton and started to film festivals, such as SIRF, gigs and music videos. In 2015 he was commissioned by BFI Network via Creative England to make his first short A Six and Two Threes, which was shot in stockton on a budget of £7000. The film went on to play in multiple film festivals around the world, won awards and was long-listed for a BIFA for best short film.

Andy wants to tell authentic, funny, touching and illuminating stories that shine with the unique grit, humour and heart of his homeland.  In 2018 he received further funding from Creative England to make Elsewhere and this year he is directing another BFI funded short Giants. He has also been commissioned to direct a BBC Three Laugh Lesson, comedy sizzle reels from BBC Comedy and Fulwell 73 and a number of music videos for artists such as Saint Savoir which have had hundreds of thousands of views.   

His film Mortal won the Northern Film prize in 2023. He is also a well-established commercial filmmaker focusing on capturing the region’s local festivals, events and cultural attractions.

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Amelia Coburn

Amelia Coburn

Amelia Coburn is a singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough. One of her earliest compositions, Song of the Sea Rover, a cautionary tale of pirates, launched Amelia to the final of the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards.

She received acclaim from pundits Mark Radcliffe and Tom Robinson, both of whom continue to champion her music to this day.

Amelia has performed at notable venues such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Costa del Folk in Ibiza. She has opened for artists as diverse as The Wedding Present, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, The Breath, Trial of Cato, Ashley Campbell and Saint Saviour. This is not just on a national level – she has performed at festivals across Europe in France, Germany, Finland, Austria and more.

She has had sell-out headline tours organised without the help of a booking agent, and the audiences who turn up to each gig exemplify the loyal fanbase Amelia has cultivated over the years.  She has been awarded ‘Best Newcomer’ by readers of the respected UKE Magazine and been selected for prestigious programmes like the English Folk Expo Artist Mentoring Scheme 2021/22 and the Glasshouse (formerly known as Sage) Summer Studios 2023 which have provided invaluable opportunities for professional development and networking within the industry. 

She has just recorded and released her first debut album, produced by Bill Ryder-Jones (co-founder of The Coral and producer for Brooke Bentham and Michael Head). The singles from this album have already garnered acclaim from a variety of radio stations and publications (BBC Radio 2, 6Music, Radio Scotland, Radio Ulster and Radio Wales, Radio 3’s, Radio 4’s  and Radio 5 Live, and coverage from Shindig! Magazine, Clash Magazine, Far Out Magazine, KLOF Mag, NARC, and Louder Than War.

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Scott Turnbull

Scott Turnbull

Scott Turnbull is a Theatre-maker, actor and illustrator developing multi-platform work for theatre, television and online.  Scott Turnbull started his professional career as an actor on Byker Grove.

He went on to have roles in The Bill, The Royal Today, Wolfblood and Vera to name a few. 

His love though was theatre and Scott has performed on stages across the UK including Northern Stage, Almedia, and The Old Vic. In 2016 Scott won the Journal’s North-East Actor of the Year Award for his role as Adam in award winning play Apples by Richard Millward.

Scott wanted to be a theatre maker and in 2017 he wrote and performed Where Do All the Dead Pigeons Go. He performed a sell-out run at ARC and embarked on a national tour of England, a 3-week run at Edinburgh Fringe and an international tour of Netherlands.  

Pigeons highlighted his potential as a theatre-maker and he became an associate artist at ARC, Stockton.  

In 2018 he wrote and designed a multi-disciplinary piece of work called Tales from the Smog – a supernatural Si-Fi noir set in Teesside 2049. The work included podcasts, live performances and exhibited artwork that explored the world of Teesside 2049.  

In 2019 he was head animation designer in Northern Stage’s adaptation of Johnny Longstaff, written and performed by the Younguns.  

He was then commissioned by Northern Stage to write a semi-autobiographical tour of Stockton high street – Chewing on a Brick was an absurd, heartfelt love-letter to his hometown. Recently he wrote and directed An Illustrated History of the Parmo which won best animation in Tees Valley International Film Festival. In 2023 has was awarded a bursary from BBC Comedy Creator Fund to develop his writing skills for TV and develop an idea called Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area. 

“A unique interdisciplinary artist who defies categorisation - combining performance, with drawing, visual storytelling, innovative use of lo-fi multimedia, and a self-deprecating satirical sense of humour that is infectious and truly accessible.” Kate Craddock Festival Director GIFT.

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Tees Valley Artists of the Year 2024 has been launched by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, will be overseen by the Tees Valley Business Board. The programme is part of a wider £20.5m programme of investment to grow the region’s creative and cultural industries and visitor economies. Funding provided through the Artist of the Year comes via the UK Government and its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF).  

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