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Northern architects celebrated by UK Prime Minister

Press Release

On 8 May 2018, two of the north west’s most exciting new architectural practices joined a select group at 10 Downing Street reception for the creative industries.

Naomi Kelsall of Kelsall Architects and John Bridge from StudioJB joined renowned architect Thomas Heatherwick, Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and Carol Bell, executive director of The Great Exhibition for the North at an event to mark the launch of a £3m social investment fund for creative community organisations in the north of England.

Prime Minister Teresa May celebrated our country’s rich artistic and creative heritage, thanking the creative industries.  The Prime Minister said: 

“Every day, our creative industries are flying the flag for Britain on the global stage.  Every year our creative industries contribute £92 billion to the economy, providing work for more than two million people right across the country.”

The £3m fund forms part of the legacy for the 2018 Great Exhibition for the North.  It is part of a wider £150m national investment in the creative industries.

Andrew Ruffler, Regional Director of RIBA NW explained:

“The NW is a hot-bed of architectural talent.  We have 270 Chartered Practices and more than 2,000 students across five Schools of Architecture.  The RIBA North West Awards shortlist regularly demonstrates just how northern-based architects are leading the way in creating great spaces for life, culture, work and wellbeing.  Naomi and John represent the future of architecture: values-led practices that understand their responsibility to leave the built environment better than they found it.”

Naomi Kelsall, Director at Kelsall Architects said, “It was a surprise to be invited by Prime Minister May to join such a distinguished group.  I learnt that success comes from focussing on your passions and strengths, and doing things differently takes perseverance.  I hope that more creative northern talent catches the eye of Westminster – great things are happening in the north-west.”

John Bridge, Director at StudioJB said, “It was an honour to walk through that famous door at 10 Downing Street.  As I shared stories with the other guests I realised that, regardless of background, we all have the same aim: to be creative!  Architecture is leading the creative industry, embracing technology and collaboration with the enthusiasm and competence that we embrace as a profession.  The UK is well known for its creativity and I’m excited to be part of it.”

RIBA NW is championing better buildings, communities and environment; smaller practices such as Kelsall Architects and StudioJB are leading the way, which national government has clearly recognised.

Find out more about the £3m fund for creative and cultural organisations:


Paul Kelsall