Category Archives: News Headlines

The Matthew Good Foundation Donates A Record Amount To Charities

The Matthew Good Foundation, which was founded by the Hull-based, family-run company, John Good Group has increased it’s giving by 83% on the previous year and supported over 150 causes in 2022, an achievement made possible thanks to a significantly increased funding commitment from the John Good Group.

The Matthew Good Foundation runs an employee giving programme that helps employees of the John Good Group to direct funding to the causes that matter to them. They also have a mission to amplify small or local charitable causes whose work is often unseen and underfunded, yet delivers high social value and impact. Their “Amplify Fund” includes a range of grassroots project funding, plus the “Grants for Good” programme which invites small charities to apply for funding, and most recently “Films for Good” which sees the Foundation and its network of partners offer pro-bono support, promoting charities and projects through the power of film.

The charities supported by the Foundation and its members – who are all employees of the John Good Group – are incredibly diverse, ranging from very small community groups local to the John Good Group’s head office in Hull, to charities working internationally towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Locally, Hull charities CatZero and Downright Special have both received a £50,000 commitment over five years, and North Cave organisation Mires Beck Nursery has received a £25,000 commitment over two years. Globally, Reef World Foundation were granted £20,000 over two years towards a launch of their Green Fins Hub – a world first platform facilitating green marine tourism globally, and a film was funded for the Inga foundation – promoting their tried and tested ways of saving rainforests whilst alleviating poverty through an innovative new farming method.

The Foundation’s “Grants for Good” programme also saw a diverse range of winners, from The Bank – a community hub local to West Hull, to Nurdle – an innovative new organisation based in Cornwall that has invented a range of machinery used to clear beaches of microplastics across the UK and beyond.

Another major way that charities come to the attention of the Foundation is through employees of the John Good Group – who are given exclusive access to apply for grants for organisations that are close to their hearts. This year’s beneficiaries of double-matched employee fundraising include Dove House Hospice and Hull Homeless Community Project, whilst employees that have seen organisations struggle through Covid have received Champion Grants of up to £1000, the beneficiaries ranging from local foodbanks to a maternity hospital in Pakistan.

Michelle Taft, Executive Director of the Matthew Good Foundation said, “Despite the challenging environment of the last two years, we are delighted that 2022 was another successful year. With an incredibly generous commitment from the John Good Group, we have been able to set a clear vision for the future, and we are excited for what’s to come. The Foundation has become a vital resource in linking local people and businesses to the high-impact charities that they really want to support but can be difficult to find and administrate. We would love to help others learn from our unique philanthropy model and invite other local business leaders to come and talk to us about how we can support them in achieving this too.”

The increase in activity from the Matthew Good Foundation is set to continue, as the John Good Group, who recently won an award for Best Social Impact at the Yorkshire and Humberside Family Business Awards, has committed a record level of funding over the next three years to the Foundation, as well as continuing to cover all operational costs.

The extra funding means that, as well as increasing the amount the Foundation is able to commit to their mission to amplify small charities, they have also been able to expand their team, hiring a second employee, and improve their impact by investing in impact measurement, including the use of The Social Value Engine, an impact measurement platform developed in a scheme involving East Riding of Yorkshire Council.

Adam Walsh, CEO of John Good Group describes his passion to be part of an initiatives that delivers positive impact, “I am thrilled to support the Matthew Good Foundation in their mission. Our funding covers all operating costs, as well as funding many of the Foundation’s initiatives. This means that 100% of any additional donations received go to charities in need. At John Good Group, we strive to be a Force for Good in everything we do, and supporting initiatives that prioritise people and the planet aligns perfectly with our values. We are proud to have the opportunity to make a positive impact through the work of the Matthew Good Foundation”.

The Matthew Good Foundation has given over £820,000 to charities and good causes since it was founded in 2011 in memory of Matthew Good. The Foundation has released full details of their 2022 giving in a 36-page Annual Review, available to read on their website now.

Former Apprentice Appears On Top Gear

From an Apprenticeship to the racetrack – former Engineering Apprentice Oliver Hall wows Top Gear viewers with his skills.

Oliver took part in Top Gear’s latest challenge which saw host Paddy McGuiness train a team of young amateur racers up to professional motorsport standard in two months.

Oliver said: “I saw on Facebook that Top Gear were looking for 17-20 year olds with a passion for motorsport to film a segment on the show. We had a number of meetings before I was invited along with 13 others for a test day to see what our driving capabilities were like. Luckily, I was chosen to take part in the episode, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m so appreciative to the team at Top Gear and everyone that made it possible and supported me.”

Oliver studied a Level 3 MOET Apprenticeship at Selby College, where he developed his skills in maintaining the safety, integrity and effective operation of plant and equipment in a range of industries.

“The skill I learnt from my Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technician Apprenticeship which I’m most appreciative of is Tungsten Inert Gas welding. I have always loved welding since my early days of welding race cards, jigs and trailers at home, and this meant I was able to further my skills. My Apprenticeship taught me a lot about the engineering industry, but I wanted to follow my passion for motorsport and to work in the racing car industry, so I decided to explore further Apprenticeship opportunities in this area,” added Oliver.

Securing a second Apprenticeship with RedBull Powertrains, Oliver now spends his working days building and developing engines for the RedBull Formula 1 race team.

A former Junior and Open Champion in national auto-grass racing, Oliver has always had a passion for car racing and motorsports.

He has recently purchased the Mazda which he drove on Top Gear and will compete in the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup Championship this year. He is currently looking for businesses to sponsor him.

Lorraine Cross, Executive Director of External Partnerships and Development at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “Seeing Oliver on Top Gear has been incredibly inspiring for our Engineering students and apprentices and demonstrates what can be achieved when you work hard at something. Oliver has combined his passion and the skills he’s learnt through his Apprenticeship to create a lifechanging opportunity for himself of appearing on Top Gear and working in RedBull’s Formula 1 team.”

“This highlights the benefits of hands-on, work-based learning which Apprenticeships deliver and how they enable learners to develop highly technical, transferable skills which are sought by businesses. That is why Apprenticeships are a fantastic option for those who have a passion or skills in a particular area, providing them with the opportunity to get work-based training in their chosen role or industry,” added Lorraine.

This comes as Selby College celebrates the achievements of its Apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2023, which takes place from Monday 6th February to Sunday 12th February 2023.

Oliver appeared on Series 33, Episode 4 of Top Gear which aired on the BBC on November 20th, 2022.

Find out more about Selby College’s range of Apprenticeship programmes here

Rooftop Worker Scheme

Arco, the UK’s Leading Safety Company, is advising businesses that operate within the telecoms industry to ensure all workers are trained in accordance with the new Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme set out by The Energy and Utility Skills Register (EUSR).

The Energy and Utility Skills Register (EUSR) has released a new training qualification, the Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme, consisting of 15 units and containing both theoretical and practical assessed elements. The scheme recognises the knowledge and skills required to access flat roofs with a variety of personal fall protections systems.

The new scheme has been developed in collaboration with the Mast & Tower Safety Group (MATS), which consists of organisations that own or manage masts and towers where there are specific and significant work at height and occupational radio frequency (RF) hazards.

Although designed for anyone wanting to work safely at height and understand the dangers of working on rooftops, the scheme will become the recognised qualification for those working on telecommunication infrastructure, with leading telecoms companies stating that completing the scheme is now mandatory to work on their sites.

New training or refresher training, since the 1st of January 2023, must now be completed to the new EUSR syllabus and conducted by an EUSR accredited training provider. Certificates attained prior to this date will remain valid until they expire, including the Arqiva Rooftop Worker training, meaning that the 1st of January 2026 will mark the first time that the only certification in use across the industry will be the new scheme.
According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), a total of 123 workers were killed in work-related accidents in Great Britain in 2021/22, with falls from a height being the biggest contributor, accounting for 24% of these (29 people).

As experts in safety, Arco is encouraging businesses that work in the telecoms industry, to take note of the new scheme and to ensure their staff receive the correct training to best protect those working at height.
Steve Dawson, Manager – Working at Height Training at Arco Professional Safety Services, said: “Falling from height is still one of the most common work-related accidents and is proportionally the largest contributor of work-related deaths, therefore it is vitally important that those who work at height receive the proper training and are undertaking their work in compliance with the necessary regulations and are adhering to industry best practice.”

“As experts in safety, we are pleased to announce that we have become an approved provider of the EUSR (MATS) Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme, with the training becoming an integral part of our course portfolio to help keep workers safe. Furthermore, we will be offering this training scheme at our new, state-of-the-art training facility in Bracknell, Berkshire.”

Arco Professional Safety Services offer the one-day Rooftop Worker – Safety & Access Scheme course, at its safety training centres in Linlithgow (Edinburgh), Trafford Park (Manchester), Eccleshall (Stafford) and Bracknell (Berkshire).  For more information about the training available, click here.

AI Could Speed Up Delivery Of New Medicines

Artificial intelligence that could reduce the cost and speed-up the discovery of new medicines has been developed as part of a collaboration between researchers at the University of Sheffield and AstraZeneca.

  • University of Sheffield researchers in collaboration with AstraZeneca have developed artificial intelligence (AI) that could reduce the cost and speed up the discovery of new drugs
  • Technology improves drug-target prediction – the measurement of whether a new candidate medicine can interact with important protein molecules in the human body to fight disease
  • AI has the potential to inform whether a drug will successfully engage an intended cancer-related protein, or whether a candidate drug will bind to unintended targets in the body and lead to undesirable side-effects for patients

The new technology, developed by Professor Haiping Lu and his PhD student Peizhen Bai from Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, with Dr Filip Miljković and Dr Bino John from AstraZeneca, is described in a new study published in Nature Machine Intelligence.

The study demonstrates that the AI, called DrugBAN, can predict whether a candidate drug will interact with its intended target protein molecules inside the human body.

AI that can predict whether drugs will reach their intended targets already exists, but the technology developed by the researchers at Sheffield and AstraZeneca can do this with greater accuracy and also provide useful insights to help scientists understand how drugs engage with their protein partners at a molecular level, according to the paper published today (2 February 2023).

AI has the potential to inform whether a drug will successfully engage an intended cancer-related protein, or whether a candidate drug will bind to unintended targets in the body and lead to undesirable side-effects for patients.

The AI is trained to learn the substructures of proteins in the human body as well those of drug compounds. The technology then learns how these substructures can interact with each other, which it draws on to make predictions on how new medicines will likely behave.

Haiping Lu, Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Sheffield, said: “We designed the AI with two primary objectives. Firstly, we want the AI to capture how drugs interact with their targets at a finer scale, as this could provide useful biological insights to help researchers understand these interactions on a molecular level. Secondly, we want the tool to be able to predict what these interactions will be with new drugs or targets to help accelerate the overall prediction process. The study we’ve published today shows our AI model does both of these.”

Key to the AI’s design is how the model learns pairwise substructure interactions – the multiple interactions that can take place between substructures of drug compounds and proteins in the body. Whereas most existing drug prediction AI on the market learn from whole representations of drugs and proteins, which don’t capture their substructures and so provide less useful insights.

In the next stage of the AI’s development, the team plans to use more in-depth data on the structure of compounds and proteins to make the AI even more accurate.

Dr Bino John, Director of Data Science, Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Sciences (CPSS), at AstraZeneca, said: “A key novelty of DrugBAN is its reliance on a bilinear attention network that allows it to learn interactions from substructures of both drugs and their targets simultaneously. We have also made the source code freely available to the public, which hopefully will support more AI approaches that will continue to accelerate drug discovery.”

Drug discovery and development using traditional methods can be incredibly difficult, with lengthy development times and huge sums of money in expenditure. However, drug discovery processes have the potential to be significantly accelerated; with advances in AI and digital technology, researchers are finding new ways to pinpoint which proteins a drug may interact with in our body.

Nick Brown, Head of Imaging and Data Analytics, CPSS, AstraZeneca, said “I am really excited to see this paper, particularly because unlike other approaches, DrugBAN simultaneously learns from candidate drugs and their targets using a bilinear attention network, and is explicitly designed to generalise the problem.”

Professor Guy Brown, Head of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Computer Science, added: “Our research at Sheffield is strongly motivated by a desire to make a positive difference to people’s lives, and we see interaction with industry leaders such as AstraZeneca as crucial to that mission.”

“This is exciting research which will hopefully allow significant advances in the design of therapeutics. The approach is also distinctive for its focus on interpretability, enabling human experts to benefit from insights generated by the AI system.”

Bulls Pass Junior Season Ticket Milestone

Bradford Bulls are delighted to announce we have passed another milestone in our Kids Go Free campaign – with over 15,000 FREE Junior Season Tickets now distributed.

Over 250 schools have been visited in the Bradford area, alongside over 120 businesses – all receiving one message. KIDS GO FREE.

Bradford Bulls Media & Marketing Manager Luke Mawson said: “Kids Go Free was, and remains, the cornerstone of our 2023 marketing campaign.”

“We are incredibly passionate about engaging with juniors in Bradford and beyond and making watching rugby league at Odsal Stadium affordable.”

“We have distributed 15,000 free season tickets, having visited over 250 schools and over 100 businesses in Bradford, but our work is by no means done.”

“We invite people of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs to our safe, fun and welcoming environment.”

“Plans are well underway to make the match day experience more enjoyable for juniors and all fans alike, and we will constantly be engaging with our local community with all things rugby league.”

“Our mission was to let every child under the age of 18 – in and around the Bradford area – know they can come to our matches for free, and we will not stop until we achieve that goal.”

UK’s Largest Research Streaming Platform Launched

The UK’s biggest research streaming platform has been launched by the University of Sheffield to enable anyone, anywhere to discover and explore its pioneering research.

The University of Sheffield Player, officially launched this week (Monday 30 January 2023), brings together videos, podcasts and digital exhibitions all about University of Sheffield research, which anyone, from anywhere can access at anytime – making the University’s research more accessible than ever before.

From art to artificial intelligence, climate change to cutting-edge medicine, food security to societal issues, there is something on the Player to feed every curiosity.

The unique platform offers a curated library of quality, evidence-based content that showcases the work of Sheffield’s internationally-recognised researchers – who are leaders in their fields, working to tackle many of the problems that affect us all. The Player makes this research accessible, engaging and freely available to all, in one place for the first time.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City and Culture at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our vision at the University of Sheffield is to deliver life-enhancing research that not only transforms the lives of our graduates, but shapes the world we live in. A key part of this is sharing our research with people outside of the University – making the breakthroughs our academics achieve accessible to people throughout Sheffield, the South Yorkshire region, the rest of the UK and around the world.”

“By launching the University of Sheffield Player we are making our research more openly available than ever before. It’s bringing our research into one single place that anyone, anywhere can access and explore, which we hope will mean even more people will benefit from the discoveries our academics make every day.”

The Player has been specially designed to be easy to explore and access.

You can start by scrolling through the Homepage to discover featured items on a range of different subjects.

Or, if you are interested in a particular theme or topic, you can take a look at Channels and Categories using dropdown menus at the top of each page. There is a curated selection of videos, podcasts, exhibitions and playlists within the Player’s four Channels: Arts & Culture; Environment & Sustainability; People & Place; and Science & Technology.

To find content relating to more specific topics, you can click on one of the 20+ Category headings in the dropdown menu. The Categories cover everything from Poetry, History and Well-being, to Engineering, Nature and Sustainability.

The Player enables anyone to explore University of Sheffield festivals and playlists, through its Series list. This includes: Highlights from 2021, the Sounds of the Cosmos video series, Festival of the Mind, Off the Shelf Festival of Words and Understanding Society.

Alternatively, a search of the A-Z listings opens up a world of content from Sheffield research such as Age of Love, a light-hearted, sensitive look at sexuality in older age to Zoomshock, a dynamic animated video into the societal effects of remote working.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, added: “The launch of the platform opens up a world of possibilities for us to further develop how we share our research and make a difference to people’s lives. At launch, the Player has over 250 videos, podcasts and exhibitions, but this is just the start – new content will be added every week and we’re looking forward to exploring how we can use it to share our research with the public.”

Professor Koen Lamberts, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “The launch of the University of Sheffield Player marks a key milestone in how the University shares its research with the public. We have long made our research open and accessible, such as through the many different public events our academics take part in throughout each year, the expert commentary they provide to the world’s media and the outreach work they do with schools and groups in our local communities.

“Now the Player brings our public engagement activities together in one place, so that anyone can access it from anywhere at anytime. This provides a platform for our research to reach more people than ever before.”

To start exploring the Player, visit here.

Young & Old Come Together For National StoryTelling Week

A group of pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School joined residents at not-for-profit organisation, Harrogate Neighbours for an afternoon of reading and reminiscing to mark National Storytelling Week (30th January – 5th February).

The year four children were excited to read and share their picture books, school reading books and a few of their personal favourites, including Kitchen Disco, Tear Thief and The Enormous Turnip with the residents at The Cuttings, Harrogate Neighbours’ extra care living scheme.

Talking about the visit, one pupil said, “it was really fun and so nice to see all the older people happy – we were laughing and giggling as Alan read a funny story to us.”

92-year-old, Alan added, “I loved it – I used to read stories to my grandchildren who are now in their 20s!.”

“I used to be a chemist and I have a PHD, but that doesn’t change anything – I like children, I think most people do, and I will do anything to take part, it’s great fun.”

This isn’t the first time the children have visited The Cuttings, the relationship between the school and Harrogate Neighbours was formed during lockdown when pupils were recorded reading stories to residents which were then played at The Cuttings to help with social isolation.

The recent visit forms part of Project CARE – an initiative Richard Taylor Primary School is involved in which seeks to raise awareness for primary aged children of the challenges the aging process brings so they can gain a better understanding and appreciation of older people.

Andrew Symonds, headteacher at Richard Taylor Primary School said, “Our partnership with Harrogate Neighbours is such an important one for Richard Taylor School; bringing the elderly and young together and building friendships and understanding between the two groups is such a valuable project and I hope that it can continue to flourish.”

CEO of Harrogate Neighbours, Sue Cawthray said, “It’s always so wonderful welcoming the pupils from Richard Taylor Primary School. They lift the spirits at The Cuttings and it’s lovely to see them interacting with the residents.”

“Reading and storytelling is a fantastic form of reminiscence therapy, particularly for the residents living with dementia. – we are really grateful for the relationship we have formed with Andrew and the fantastic staff at the school and we’re already looking forward to their next visit.”

To find out more about Harrogate Neighbours, become a volunteer or fundraise, visit here:

Yorkshire Pair Finish Snow Sculpture

Two Yorkshire men have been competing with artists from all over the world in their second snow sculpture competition this month, completing their creation in record time.

Fitness coach Martin Sharp, from York, and tree surgeon Justin Scott, from Driffield, were pitted against sculptors from Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, France and the United States in the Kiruna International Snow Sculpture Competition 2023. The pair completed their sculpture, known as Figurative Animate X Three, in just two days, which was the new record for the event, which is held 140km north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland.

The creation – an abstract human figure with three sides – was the second snow sculpture created by the team in January. They had already competed in Shapes in White, an international snow sculpture competition in Austria, where their snow boat called Unsinkable 2 was awarded ninth place.

Martin, who runs the fitness and lifestyle coaching business Sharp Fit For Life, said it was the first time they had entered the Kiruna contest and the experience had been completely different.

The 45-year-old said: “In Austria, we were working on top of a mountain at high altitudes, whereas here we were sculpting in a city with everyday life going on around us. As it was lower altitude, we didn’t get tired as quickly so it felt easier and we were delighted to be the first to finish our sculpture in just two days.”

“It took us about 15 or 16 hours in total – the snow was very soft, which meant we could pile through it quickly but the finish wasn’t as crisp as we’d hoped. There has also been a great sense of camaraderie between the sculptors with people sharing ideas and borrowing tools.”

“The thing we have really enjoyed is that lots of people have been coming to watch the sculptures take form, including lots of children. There have been school parties coming to take a look and have a go at creating their own smaller snow sculptures and high school students worked with two sculptors to create a play park made out of snow.”

Although the pair weren’t named as the winner or runner-up, they were proud of their efforts and celebrated finishing with some traditional Lapland activities including dog sledding, a skidoo ride and a visit to an ice hotel.

Howarths Advise Northern Bloc On Employee Transfers

Yorkshire based HR, employment law, and health & safety consultancy, Howarths, has advised vegan and plant-based ice cream maker Northern Bloc on the employee transfer element of its acquisition of Criterion Ices.

Jonothan Scollen, employment solicitor at Howarths, said: “Howarths has worked closely with Northern Bloc to deliver strategic HR and employment law consultancy in line with the company’s ambitious growth plans since 2021, when the company secured seven-figure growth funding.”

“As part of this latest acquisition, we supported with the transfer of employees from Criterion Ices to Northern Bloc to ensure all employment law and contractual obligations were met.”

“Strategic acquisitions involving employee transfers give rise to a number of legal and contractual employment law obligations to ensure they are completed correctly, and it was our pleasure to support Northern Bloc to manage these efficiently and in a timely manner.”

Gavin Howarth, managing director at Howarths, said: “Northern Bloc is a breakthrough Leeds brand that has enjoyed exceptional growth since it was founded in 2014 and has ambitious plans to grow further, driven by the increasing popularity of plant-based food.”

“With growth comes an ever-increasing workforce and more complex employment law challenges, plus a team of people whose skills and knowledge are key to driving performance across the business.”

“We are delighted to be able to support Norther Bloc with easily accessible expert HR and employment law advice delivered with a personalised, no-nonsense approach, while balancing commerciality with compliance to help the business achieve greater success through its people.”

Dirk Mischendahl, co-founder at Northern Bloc, said: “Our people and culture are important parts of what makes Norther Bloc a great place to work, and when we bring new people into the business, we work hard to make sure we get it right. Working with Howarths has enabled us to do this, ensuring our new team members feel welcome and comfortable from the off.”

Yorkshire To Host New Commission From Leonard Drew

Brooklyn-based artist Leonardo Drew is presenting some newly commissioned, site-specific work at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) this spring.

Living and working in Brooklyn, New York, Leonardo Drew’s abstract works, made from an outpouring of chaotic elements, create installations that express immense tension and turbulence. The artist’s new work, Number 360 (2023), commissioned for YSP’s 18th-century Chapel, is a powerful reflection on the weight of collective experience, memory, and the cycles of life and death, decay and regeneration. This resonates within a historic building where many lives have been played out for centuries – unknown to us, yet somehow conveyed by the atmosphere of the space.

Drew joins several artists in responding to the Chapel, which was built in 1740 and is a singular, contemplative place. Projects here set out to connect emotionally with a wide humanity and to be welcoming to everyone. Previous artists include Ai Weiwei, James Lee Byars, Kimsooja, Rachel Kneebone, Shirin Neshat, Yinka Shonibare, Chiharu Shiota and Bill Viola.

The basic material of Number 360 is plywood, either blackened or covered with textured coloured paint, which has been ripped apart and splintered to form the building blocks of a conical monolith that surges to over five metres in height. Unusually for Drew, Number 360 is a vertical installation, responding to the height and width of the chapel nave.

Like an explosion held in time, Number 360 conveys ferocious energy as well as trauma and rupture. Drew’s fractured surfaces create their own language, embodying the laboured process of writing the artist’s experience into history. An African American artist born in Tallahassee in 1961 and raised in public housing in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Drew has often alluded to socio-political issues in his work, using such symbolically charged materials as cotton, rope, rags and rust that relate to the antebellum South, the African American experience, and America’s industrial past. He is, however, adamant in his resistance to impose explicit meaning, and chooses to title his pieces only with numbers in order, ‘to give the viewer enough room to find themselves in the work.’

In his youth, Drew excelled in draughtsmanship yet gave it up so that he could discover his own, true visual voice. Although both Marvel and DC comics were interested to recruit the young artist, by this time he had come across the work of Jackson Pollock and the impact was sufficient to compel him into taking a radically different path. In 1982, he stopped drawing and painting to remove the possibility of reverting to the habitual, and to allow himself to forge ahead with unfamiliar materials.

Drew began working with the bones and skins of dead animals: the matter and remnants of death held so much residual potency and poetry as materials that they set the tone for all that was to follow. His seminal Number 8 (1988), which he describes as ‘the mother,’ steered his practice. Featuring an abundance of objects held within a dense mass of black rope – detritus, wood, birds’ wings, skulls, animal hides – it is emotionally heavy and black as though weathered by experience itself.

The overpowering sense of writhing decay, of an inevitable process in temporary stasis, undoubtedly feeds into Number 360. Although the materials have changed, that same pervasive language remains.

Drew is driven by relentless curiosity, which he feeds through travel. From 2015, for four years, he made numerous visits to Jingdezhen in China, known for over 1,700 years for porcelain production, where he was fascinated by the ‘alchemy’ of the making process. Inspired by, but also working against the tight parameters of the tradition, he experimented with abstracting from conventional ceramic forms by smashing them into fragments and firing them together to see how the pieces fused in the kiln. These shattered pieces informed his work in other materials and directly contributed to the treatment of the plywood seen in Number 360.

Critically, through his experience of ceramic glazing, surface design and working with different types of clay and earth in Jingdezhen, colour began to seep into Drew’s previously largely monochrome work. In Number 360, the coloured elements are covered with acrylic paint mixed with sand to give a rough, dry texture. Persian rugs provide the visual origins for the work’s colour palette and its painted patterns.

Often Drew repurposes material from previous pieces to make new ones and much of the wood for Number 360 at YSP comes from Number 341 (2022) made for Art Basel: Unlimited in Switzerland. There is an overwhelming sense of accumulation and revisiting in the way he works, of avid collecting and recycling, both through lived experiences and the tactile experience of materials.

“Leonardo Drew’s new work will have an incredibly impactful presence in YSP’s Chapel, creating a magnetic relationship between the meditative character of the space and the emotionally charged nature of the piece. This intensity and poignancy of the installation will resonate deeply with the often troubled times in which we live,” concludes Sarah Coulson, Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.