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Doncaster Creates - ‘a dynamic arts programme beginning in 2020, will reveal and nurture the creativity that Doncaster has and hosts – developing ideas for the future, talent, skills, new audiences and participants. People from all backgrounds will experience world-class arts that they will remember and act upon: people re-imagining - regeneration through great art’

Mike Stubbs (Creative director) 
Juliet Farrar (Executive director)

Doncaster has been named as The Booker Prize for Fiction’s partner for its regional events in 2020


The partnership with Doncaster Creates, the dynamic arts programme set up to nurture the creativity in the town, will see a series of literary events taking place over the next few months including a search for local writing talent.

Ros Jones, Mayor of Doncaster, welcomed the news for the borough: “I am so proud that Doncaster has been chosen to partner with such a legendary literary giant as The Booker Prize – this is a major achievement for us and I am delighted at the news.

“So many people in Doncaster will be excited about this partnership and I am certain, this partnership will bring such positive and lasting legacy for book lovers and writers alike. I am looking forward to seeing the range of events take place and would encourage the borough to get behind this.”

Following yesterday’s announcement of the 2020 Booker Prize’s much awaited shortlist, Doncaster Creates can reveal three major projects this Autumn that accompany the lead-in to this year’s coveted Booker Prize:

  • In Conversation, Friday 13 November - in a digital co-production with The Booker Prize, Doncaster Creates hosts the regional discussion with the six shortlisted authors, in the lead up to the winner announcement.

  • Open Mic, Friday 20 November - in the days following The Booker Prize announcement on November 17, 2017 Man Booker shortlisted author Fiona Mozley and  2020 Booker judge Lemn Sissay MBE, writer and broadcaster, host a live streamed Open Mic event, reaching both a local and international audience, reading passages from their work side-by-side with Doncaster writers.

  • Doncaster New Writer Prize - as both the finale and legacy of the partnership Fiona Mozley will lead the search for a Doncaster New Writer to mentor - the award will be announced in January 2021.

Juliet Farrar, executive director at Doncaster Creates said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be announcing Doncaster as partner town for regional events for this year’s Booker Prize. “We’re really looking forward to hosting these  amazing events this autumn to celebrate literature and to be working with Booker authors. Doncaster has a strong tradition in inspirational creative writing and reading initiatives with people from all walks of life. These events will build on the fantastic work of our partners Doncaster Libraries and the National Literacy Trust’s Doncaster Stories campaign, which brings the transformative power of reading and high-quality writing to communities”

“Our partnership with The Booker Prize presents a real opportunity for Doncaster talent to reveal some of the unsung narratives – once described to me as ‘the grit and the grandeur’.”

Added Juliet: “Because of the global Covid-19 pandemic our events, that were due to be in person, will now be digital. This presents a unique opportunity to reach more people, for positivity: for people to share and chat with others they wouldn’t have otherwise met – when being able to ‘connect’ is so valuable.

“We’ll be talking to shortlisted authors and sharing their stories with audiences across the globe from our Doncaster base, we’ll be bringing stories to life in The Books That Made Us when local people share their literary gems and we’ll be searching for new writing talent in our town with the chosen winner gaining insight and knowledge from a Booker author as their prize.”

The Rt Hon Ed Miliband stated, "It’s incredibly exciting that The Booker Prize, which is so internationally famous, has chosen Doncaster as its partner this year. The team of people involved put together a compelling case and it shows once again that Doncaster can be at the centre of the most exciting, important arts projects. I know that, despite the restrictions of coronavirus, Booker, Doncaster Creates and Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust have worked hard to develop some brilliant projects. I’m particularly looking forward to hearing more from Doncaster’s new writers because I know there is such talent in the town."

Doncaster Creates will also be running a literary campaign called Doncaster: The Books That Made Us - beginning October 2020, residents and authors are invited to reveal the books that challenged them or changed their lives in an extended online conversation by uploading a video or written anecdotes (participants automatically get the chance to win a copy of one of the shortlisted books).

The Booker Prize

The Booker Prize for Fiction was first awarded in 1969 and was called The Man Booker Prize for Fiction when sponsored by Man Group from 2002 - 2018. The winner receives £50,000. The 2019 winners were The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. The 2020 Booker Prize panel is chaired by Margaret Busby, editor, literary critic and former publisher; and consists of: author Lee Child; author and critic Sameer Rahim; writer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay; and classicist and translator Emily Wilson. The 2020 winner will be announced in November.


The World Through New Eyes

Doncaster Remix is an ambitious & playful programme of arts events and commissions that takes the town as site & surface for new work. Using an open curatorial method, it creates an opportunity for people to propose & make new work. We want Doncaster in the public gaze, locally, nationally and internationally, we want to question how public art is viewed in Doncaster & beyond, to explore the ‘grit & grandeur’ of the town. We want to achieve an impactful project that enables people to feel agency and to present new viewpoints of Doncaster from diverse often  unheard perspectives and new ways of experiencing the town as we consider a new green deal and life after lockdown.

  • TRAFFORD WAY: major mural by Nomad Clan
  • BAXTER PARK: urban art & growing refurbishment of Queen’s Road play area
  • SYMPOSIUM: ‘What is Public Art & When is Art Public? (local to national reach)
  • EXHIBITION at DARTS: Nomad Clan’s work & talent development
  • COMMUNITY WORKER TRAINING: murals, urban art & creative growing
  • MATTHEW ROSIER COMMISSION: exploring challenges of heritage & place



This is a mini feature on the Birdsong Projects as they develop, starting with some that have already begun which respond immediately to our original provocation, ‘Birdsong on the Planet of the Apes’, written in a period of early Covid19 uncertainty, and now as we adjust to ‘distancing’, we tentatively learn new customs, reassess our values along with the practical expressions of what is permissible and safe such as elbow bumps. Beyond these new social codes and customs, how are we feeling our way back into a sense of community?  How are we adjusting and coping with the cracks exposed when change occurs on a radical level ? How will the artists produce relevant new work ?

The artists featured here explore and enact how life is now, helping us on a journey to learn who we are now and what parts of our life we might be happier to leave behind. In asking deeper questions that have been highlighted by Covid19, they capture our condition through different artistic approaches and offering alternatives to how we function through adverse times.

We will bring info on the other projects, opportunities to see them develop in the words of the artists themselves in future posts.

Mikes Stubbs  (Creative Director)

Natasha Clarke


Natasha Clarke is a Doncastrian Street artist and currently researching the site for her Birdsong Commission painting.

I fell in love with street art due to its accessibility. Its ability to engage an audience who would not usually visit galleries or museums. 

Warren Draper
Unbound Arts 

Warren Draper is an artist whose practice has central social and environmental concerns. He writes of his Birdsong commission.

As an industry, the arts have been decimated by the Covid-19 crisis. Many of us are self-employed creatives who could not work and unable to practice that which is both our passion and our livelihood. 

Sarah Smith (Smizz)
Networks of Care  

Sarah Smith is an illustrative-mapper, qualified radiotherapist and is undertaking a practice-led PhD. views. She is better known as Smizz and writes of her approach to the commission.

What does the future look like? Everything we know we’ve had to fight for. For me, I believe the present, and a future involves a better understanding of care: in all of its dimensions. forwards.

Sarah Villeneau 
The Ground Beneath our Feet 

Sarah Villeneau has been a ceramic artist for over 20 years, describes her work and the project and process she will be undertaking.

I’ve wanted to work with Asylum Seekers in Doncaster for some time, so when the Birdsong commissions came along it seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Angela Robson

The Disappearance of Emily Pear.

Angela Robson (film-maker) is a Doncaster-based award-winning creative arts practitioner, journalist and film-maker with fifteen years experience working on creative projects in the UK and overseas.  

This short film tells the story of a teenage artist torn between submission to mental illness and a yearning for an alternate universe.

Amelia Lonsdale

Is a photographic artist, Her work is based around exploring social landscapes and has centered mostly around Doncaster itself. Here she explore Bentley

Residents of Bentley often say, “you could build a wall around it and you would have everything you need”. It’s high-street is filled with local eateries and shops, salons, a post office, chemists, multiple schools and churches

Les Monaghan

A photographer, artist and researcher working nationally for fifteen years. For his commission he will  produce a body of work that points to potential futures

Sacha Gray

A part of The New Fringe art organisation and has directed the organisation toward a more varied membership in terms of art practices and age groups.

Sacha writes, With my Birdsong project, myself and a group of children explore ecological issues through making art with the intention of speaking loudly and playfully through the art we make, in response to the devastating funding cuts to the arts within the education system at a time where children need art to make sense of their world and future.

Mandy Keating

Her background is in Graphic Design and started her freelance career as a book and paper artist. She will concentrate on one very small area of Doncaster, known to her, it is a square in Kirk Sandall, with houses around its edge and a green in the centre.

James Lockey

A filmmaker and musician from Doncaster who has worked with many bands producing music videos, music documentaries and live visuals for tours including Lana del Rey, Editors and Mogwai. 

Through the use of image manipulation software and traditional filming techniques his idea is to create a series of short hallucinatory vignettes featuring Doncasters architecture and people in everyday movements and actions.

Rajnish Madaan

Is a local filmmaker and editor producing work for over ten years. Jodie Williams is an Equality, Inclusion and Diversity professional who has worked across various sectors with the aim of making businesses and services more accessible and inclusive. Jodie is also the Leeds Melanin Festival Director, a series of events celebrating communities of colour and Black history.

For their commission they will create a series of short audio plays from 2-3min in length. Each play will focus on one of the series of illustrations created by Jodie Williams and published by Boujie Media.

Vicky Morris

Vicky Morris is a writer and creative practitioner working across South Yorkshire. She’s the founder of Hive South Yorkshire and co-founded Doncaster Young Writers in 2010. In 2019 she won the Sarah Nutly Award for Creativity and a BBC Creative Champion Award for her 22-year impact on young creatives in the region.

Novelist Arundhati Roy Brave New Words offers a series of creative writing workshop for younger people in Doncaster (in two age groups spanning 15-30), exploring Roy’s idea of stepping into a new way of seeing and being. 

Breaking Beats Ltd Ian Byatt

Breaking Beats is a not for profit venture formed in 2014 working within the Community Arts environment
in the Doncaster area. The main aim is to fill the void that is currently left within sections of the community to engage with disenfranchised members of it, creating diversionary activities. 

They propose to work in the community of Denaby with the young people who reside there to record several one hour radio shows which will be aired on DN1 live. 

Ryan David Harston

URBAN conceptz theatre is a visual and physical theatre company set up by multi-award-winning* artist Ryan David Harston. His work as a theatre director consists of original storytelling, poetry, and spoken word. 

He wants to create a thought-provoking, exciting, and immersive art exhibition in a derelict or unoccupied building in the center of Doncaster. 

Natasha Clarke 

Warren Draper 

Sarah Smizz 

Sarah Villeneau

Press Coverage - click to go to story. 


                        for Baxter Park

Baxter park phase 1

A park in Doncaster is the latest canvas for street artists Craig Evans and Tom Jackson, who work together under the name Static.
The Scarborough duo are working with Doncaster Creates and AOP Projects on their first major paint project in the north of England.  This follows exhibitions in Asia and the U.S as well as a high profile presence on the London street art scene.

The project, that is part of an initiative to breathe fresh life into Baxter Park, has seen the creative pair undertake phase one of an ambitious scheme, starting with an end gable paint which forms part of a wider scheme next year, devised through engagement sessions with the public including local school children, about how best to uplift this park and imagery.

Static write, Like many of the locations we have been invited to paint in the last few years, Baxter Park is a communal space somehow missing a community - a shadow of what it might have been in the past.

There are signs that show some attempt has been made to encourage use of the space, with playground markings for children and gym equipment for adults, but there is little evidence to support either of these things having been well used or indeed still used for their intended purpose in recent times.

From what we learnt by speaking with some of the local residents from Baxter Avenue during our stage #1 paint on the end gable, many people no longer feel connected to the park area, which has become a meeting place and hang-out for drunks and drug dealers, resulting in a space that has been lost and perceived as neglected by the local community and the council.

What we have discovered from working on this project with Doncaster Council, Doncaster Creates and Art of Protest Projects, is that there is a desire to see change and foster a new vision of how spaces like this can be reclaimed. Combined with the integration of re-landscaping and the introduction of growing schemes in collaboration with sculptor Lewis Morgan, a sense of positivity can already be felt about the future of the area.

From the school children who participated in the workshops to the parents and adults that stopped to talk to us and ask about the project - it was apparent that given the chance to reconnect with this space, people of all ages will respond and engage with ideas, inspirations and aspirations regarding the changes they want and need.

By simply 'painting some walls', we have noticed on many occasions that it triggers a response. It demonstrates that there are people (artists like us working with collectives and individuals, councils and places of education) who care and are willing to spend time and energy on transforming places. In turn this may inspire and nurture others with a positive attitude engendering a sense of pride in the places we live and share, with our neighbours and the community as a whole.

This is not something that happens overnight and we realise that each location has its own unique and individual set of circumstances, (we are all learning new partnerships, methods and approaches), but by creating something original and unique for each project, we hope to forge a new identity which can become a focal point for future events and serve as a symbol of a new chapter for those who call that place 'home'.

Local resident, S.Q. of  Baxter Avenue, said:

“it’s pretty! People seem to like it and it has already brought people together, it’s amazing how art can make a difference like this and I hope this stops people drifting away from the area following a bit of anti-social behaviour around here recently.”

The project will finish next spring when the artists complete a colourful horizontal floor mural, Other parts of the initiation plan include a re-landscaping of the park to include rebedding and redesign of the play area, as well as new seating equipment designed by local artist and sculptor Lewis Morgan”.

Nomad Clan are Coming to Doncaster

Trafford Way Artist duo Nomad Clan have been commissioned to respond to local ideas and themes and have developed some initial sketches.

Hayley and Joy’s success has taken them all around the world from New York to Iceland to Bali and many more places, painting one-off pieces and huge murals in collaboration with major festivals, rising to meteoric status along the way.

With the artist duo both having grandparents from Doncaster (their grandfathers worked in the mining industry) it seemed only right to celebrate their success, showing just how ambitious Doncaster is about arts and culture in the town by bringing these world class street artist grand daughters to paint and transform a significant location.

Before the painting content is decided, the artist duo go through a process of research to enable them to put two designs forwards

We are asking everyone in Doncaster - residents, visitors, workers - to tell us about the Doncaster stories, characters and heritage they would like Nomad Clan to know about as they develop their amazing concepts