The Northern School of Art is backing a major event that is celebrating one of the world’s best known sci-fi films which was directed by one the School’s most famous former students, Sir Ridley Scott.
In November the Teesside Cyberpunk Convention is holding a series of events to mark the profound importance that the industrial landscape of Teesside and the rain of the North of England had on the young Ridley Scott and his subsequent vision for the 1982 dystopian masterpiece Blade Runner.
A four-day marathon of screenings, outdoor cinema, keynote addresses, talks, debates, workshops, markets, dystopian music nights and even bike rides will take place across Teesside from 7-10 November.
An outdoor screening of Blade Runner at Wilton, the chemical plant that inspired the opening sequence of Blade Runner, a re-enactment bike ride from Scott’s old house to Hartlepool and an outdoor screening in the town of Scott’s first film that was shot entirely in Stockton, Seaton Carew and Hartlepool all feature as part of the event’s packed programme.
Appearances are scheduled by leading figures from the world-renowned sci-fi epic including Golden Globe winning actor Joanna Cassidy, who played Zhora Salome in Blade Runner; Katy Haber, Production Executive on Blade Runner; and Paul M. Sammon, author of Future Noir: The making of Blade Runner, regarded as the world’s leading authority on Blade Runner.
A range of talks, debates and keynote addresses will take place from a wide range of academics, journalists and cultural critics, includingDr Robin Bunce from Cambridge University and author of ‘Blade Runner 2049 and Philosophy’ and Iain Suiter, from the world’s leading Blade Runner Facebook fans group.
International, national and local music acts that address the dystopian narratives of Scott’s classic and the wider apocalyptical cyberpunk terrains are lined up to perform and a number of world premieres will take place including an experimental Teesside adaptation of Philip K Dick’s source novel ‘How many electric sheep does it take to change a lightbulb?’ by Scott Turnbull.
The Teesside Cyberpunk Convention is being organised by Static Gallery, a not-for-profit arts organisation based in Liverpool.
Convention Director Paul Sullivan said that the project is designed for the fans of Blade Runner and Cyberpunk and an attempt to bring a diverse group of people together to discuss, view, listen and party in all things Blade Runner and Cyberpunk as well as being for the Teesside area itself.
“I recorded Blade Runner on VHS in the mid-eighties when it was first screened on TV and it seeped into my own memories after being paused, rewound, studied and replayed on a seemingly endless nocturnal loop.
“As the fictional date of Blade Runner was becoming real, it was imperative that in November 2019 something had to be done. I have been visiting Teesside in order to develop the project and have been blown away by the hospitality and encouragement of the people of Teesside and everyone associated with the project.”
Pat Chapman, Vice Principal at The Northern School of Art said: “It is great that Paul and Static Trading have worked to develop this celebration of all things Blade Runner and that the events in Hartlepool celebrate the talent and vision of both Sir Ridley and Tony Scott both of whom studied here.
“Our students are inspired by the very same landscape that has excited the imaginations of millions through Ridley Scott’s interpretation of it as the setting for Blade Runner. The School is delighted to support this very special event.”
The Northern School of Art is the only specialist provider of creative courses in the North East with a rating of Gold in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework which means its students receive some of the highest quality teaching in the UK.
In 2019, the independent survey of student satisfaction, the National Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS), reported that 92% students were satisfied overall with their experience at the School, the highest score of all similar arts institutions across the UK and an increase from 90% in 2018, against a backdrop of a decline in student satisfaction in almost half of the UK’s universities and colleges.
The full programme for Teesside Cyberpunk Convention is available at www.cyberpunkconvention.com/
Further information about the range of course at The Northern School of Art is available at www.northernart.ac.uk