ARTiculation, the national public speaking competition, which promotes and supports young people to Look, Think and Speak about art, held its North West Regional Final at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Over 1,000 students enter The ARTiculation Prize in England every year and has reached over 20,000 young people since it was established 12 years ago. The competition champions students, aged between 16 – 19 regardless of background and experience, providing a platform on which students can develop their confidence and ability to express their opinions, thoughts and ideas, through the arts and public speaking. The Regional Final saw students aged 16 – 19 deliver a ten minute-presentations about a work of art, architecture or an artefact of their choice in front of an audience and an adjudicator.
Xaverian College entered Charles Lee to the competition. His presentation was on the topic of architecture, specifically looking at the Proud Trust centre on Sydney Street, which is a post-modernist building that was erected in the 1980s and purpose built to be an LGBT+ centre. It is to this day the only such purpose built community centre designed for the LGBT+ community.
Charles said, “Alongside being mentored by Whitworth workers who helped me with the organisation and academic language of my presentation the actual content of my talk was gathered thanks to the work of architect Emily Crompton, who had access to historical files about the centre and had been researching it in preparation for designing a new centre building, as the old building will be demolished. I read through the documents she sent me, which consisted of newspaper cuttings, surveys conducted by the centre staff and her own research of the pre-construction history of the building such as the difficulty of finding a building site. I also sought advice from workers of the centre who were present for all this history to make sure I wasn’t misrepresenting historical facts.”
Roger Harding, Chief Executive, RECLAIM; and Dr Niccola Shearman, Lecturer in History of Art, University of Manchester adjudicated this event. Following a discussion amongst the panel the winners was announced – our very own Charles Lee! He will now go through to the Grand Final at Clare College, Cambridge. Upon awarding Charles with the day’s top prize, the adjudicators praised Charles for his original and bold presentation and social interests.
Charles added “I’m overjoyed that I’ve won as I put masses of effort into putting together my presentation and rehearsing to ensure my performance was the best it could me, so I’m glad my effort has yielded an amazing result. I’m also happy to be talking about a building very near and dear to me, and I’m grateful for this chance to represent an important but frequently overlooked part of Mancunian history. So while I am nervous about the final round and I’m aware the competition is going to be tough I’m just glad I’ve got this far and have a chance to speak about something I’m passionate about. Though of course I hope I win the overall contest.”