Winning Great Northerners Added to Exhibition

Posted: 22nd Dec 2020


Four new Mancunians have joined the Great Northerners exhibition with the new additions comprising footballer Marcus Rashford, poet Lemn Sissay, Professor Erinma Bell and boxer Phil Martin.

Portraits of the four inspiring individuals are now displayed in our Warehouse foyer alongside the existing images.

The exhibition extension was announced as part of Black History Month, with the site keen to better represent and honour the contribution black and ethnic minority communities have made to Manchester. A call for nominations was made to the public and the four winning figures have now been immortalised by artist Stanley Chow.   

Commenting on the extension exhibition, Mark Schofield, Centre Director at the Great Northern Warehouse, said: “We are proud to announce the new additions to our Great Northerner exhibition and are thrilled at the positive response from the public, who have selected four truly inspirational locals to join our line-up. Not only do they allow us to better represent the diverse communities who have contributed to Mancunian life, they also represent a diverse range of sectors, including sport, poetry, academia and activism.

“As an organisation, the Great Northern is committed to being anti-racist and to creating a culture that is equal and inclusive for all visitors and staff. We’re proud that the diversity of our region is quite rightly now represented on our walls, not just for Black History Month but all year round – which is why this exhibition and its extension is so important to us.”

The Great Northern has gifted the artwork to local charity Forever Manchester  meaning the full Great Northerners range can also be bought as posters, postcard sets, mugs and coasters at, raising money to support and fund community activity across Greater Manchester.

Lemn Sissay MBE (1967- present)

An English author and broadcaster. He was the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics and has been Chancellor of the University of Manchester since 2015. In 2019 he won the prestigious PEN Pinter Prize which recognises the work of writers who take an “unflinching, unswerving” view of the world.

Professor Erinma Bell MBE DL (1964-present)

Bell, a community peace activist, is the first woman in 150 years to have a statue of herself unveiled in Manchester Town Hall and is also Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Greater Manchester. She has been recognised as one of the 100 Inspiring Women in Manchester, listed as one of the 250 Most Influential People in Greater Manchester, recognised as one of the Top 100 Nigerians in UK and was the 2014 Ambassador for Moss Side. Bell is also a Rotary Peace Fellow.

Marcus Rashford MBE (1997-present)

A Manchester United and England footballer and political activist, Rashford publicly campaigns on the issues of homelessness and child food poverty in the United Kingdom and has been praised for using his platform to drive societal change. He has received an MBE for his activism and been presented with a City of Manchester Award for his ‘outstanding and exceptional contribution to the city.’

Phil Martin (1950-1994)

An English professional light heavyweight boxer and the first black person in Britain to become simultaneously a registered professional boxing coach, manager and promoter. He famously set up his own Boxing Club for local young people in a disused building in Moss Side after the riots in 1981, where he guided numerous boxers to British, European and Commonwealth title contests.

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