Culture's vital role comes under spotlight at Great Northern Conference

A MAJOR conference which acts as a sounding board for the North of England will take place online in response to the latest Government initiatives to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Professor Katy ShawProfessor Katy Shaw
Professor Katy Shaw

The Great Northern Conference will include speeches from leading politicians and informed debate about topics ranging from education to transport and technology.

The event, which is due to be held on 22nd October 2020, had originally been planned as a hybrid event, with an audience and speakers in the Cutlers’ Hall, in Sheffield and also an audience watching the conference virtually from the comfort of their homes.

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However, the organisers have decided to hold the entire event online in response to growing Government concerns about the spread of Covid-19.

The event follows the stunning success of the inaugural Great Northern Conference in 2019, which was staged in Leeds and attracted speakers from the worlds of religion and commerce.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership and JPIMedia are joining forces again to continue the debate on how best to grow the economy and develop opportunities in a sustainable and meaningful way across the North of England.

The speakers will include Professor Katy Shaw of Northumbria University, who will participate in a debate about the importance of cultural strategy.

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A Cambridge graduate who grew up in Newcastle, her father Mike worked as a shipbuilder until he was made redundant after the miners’ strike.

Professor Shaw is the author of a number of books, including Crunch Lit, in which she argues that we should make capital our servant, in a financial system that is tightly regulated and jargon-free.

Professor Shaw has also written a book about the cultural representations of miners during the strike of 1984/85.

The event has attracted a host of impressive sponsors including Northern Gas and Power.

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The impact of COVID-19 has created unprecedented economic and social consequences globally, significantly affecting all aspects of life, including the energy sector.

Fortunately, there are tentative signs of an economic revival after businesses resumed operations, although challenges still remain.

A spokesman for Northern Gas and Power said: “Businesses should review their energy management systems now. Assessing energy behaviour and consumption patterns could lead to long-term savings on energy bills.

“Investments in energy software are becoming ever-useful, as a global drive towards clean, green energy emerges.

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“The benefit for businesses now and over the long-term are huge. The opportunity to quickly measure, control and plan energy through remote online systems has a huge impact on cutting costs, consumption and carbon.

“Northern Gas and Power’s energy lab – ClearVUE Systems - has developed from ground-up an energy software-as-a-service (eSaaS) which is fully cloud-based and accessible remotely, without the need for intrusive site visits or expensive hardware.”

The eSaaS - ClearVUE. Lite - puts businesses in control of their energy, helping them cut energy waste and identify inefficiencies within minutes of an easy online sign-up.

The spokesman said: “As we all work towards a net zero carbon economy, it is vital that businesses grasp the opportunity to become more efficient, embracing new innovation that gives them unparalleled insight.”

For more information visit:”

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To book tickets for the Great Northern Conference, please visit:

The keynote speakers at the conference will include Dan Jarvis, the Mayor of Sheffield City Region , who will deliver an address to welcome people to Sheffield.

In the morning, there will be three concurrent breakout sessions, which will consider the importance of a cultural strategy, the need to reinvigorate our cities and towns, and the importance of creating a health agenda for the North.

In the afternoon, Gavin Opperman, the group business director, of Virgin Money UK PLC, will be among the participants at a debate which focuses on the key economic role played by small businesses.

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