Hartlepool Rovers Ladies Rugby Football Club and Cumbria-based artist led company Eden Arts have teamed up to announce a new creative opportunity for artists, fashion designers or anyone with inspiration to create a new team kit for Hartlepool Rovers Ladies RFC.
Supported by Hartlepool Borough Council, the competition is looking for new exciting and iconic designs which will be shortlisted by a panel of judges including former Exeter Chiefs player, Garnet Mackinder and Hartlepool Ladies Rugby Team Captain, Danielle Jeffreys-Coulton.
Get Shirty is part of Eden Arts’ #66 project funded by Arts Council England that sees a number of projects delivered that focus on supporting the region defined by the A66 that runs east to west from Cumbria to Teesmouth. Great things are happening across the region as it becomes more culturally diverse and successful, greener and more digital and progressive. The #66 projects celebrates the region and its arts and culture and its heritage and proposes a new strategy to ensure that it is seen as the most liveable place in the UK, especially for its younger generations.
The competition launches today 3 March and closes on 31 March with an aim to create a kit which is both unique and that the team is proud to wear.
Anyone can enter the competition following the specification on the Get Shirty website with a prize fund of £1000 for the successful design, plus £1000 towards an official female sports group of the winner’s choice.
Four final shortlisted designs will then be put to a public vote from 18 May before the winning design is announced on 22 May. The winning design will then be produced and showcased at a special event in early September.
The five judges who will shortlist four final designs from the competition are:
Garnet Mackinder is currently employed as Head of Equality at Sport England and has recently retired from playing rugby in the women's Allianz Premier 15s, having played for Saracens, Wasps and Exeter Chiefs. Garnet played rugby for over 15 years; was part of the England U20s squad and was capped for England 7s. Garnet is a co-opted member of the RFU Council with the aim of increasing diversity in rugby and driving forward the women and girls game.
Chelsea Power is Commercial and Operations Director for Emilia Wickstead, the London based Fashion Designer, she works on collection development of the brand. Having worked on various projects, with new designers and consulting she brings a wealth of industry fashion knowledge.
Danielle Jeffreys-Coulton is Hartlepool Ladies Rugby Team Captain and has been playing rugby for 15 years since attending Teesside University. She previously played for Darlington Ladies and has represented both Durham County and the North-East. Danielle has been a member of the club for six years, she sits on the committee and also coaches the U12 and U14 girls teams at the club.
Charles Quick is Professor of Public Art Practice at the University of Central Lancashire, is founder co-curator of art-led research project In Certain Places which brokers connections between people and places. He has played, coached and helped administrate as a volunteer at his local community rugby club, Roundhegians in North Leeds, for over 25 years.
Adrian Lochhead is the director of Eden Arts, an artist led company dedicated to creating and facilitating change through culture and arts activities. Adrian’s early career encompassed theatre, TV and Radio as a performer, director and writer, as well as with educational arts companies. He is passionate about the relevance of art and culture in enriching all of our lives.
Launching the competition, Director Eden Arts, Adrian Lochhead has said: “We saw what happened with Boaty McBoatface and we’re opening Pandora’s Box once again! Our competition is open to absolutely everyone and we’re looking for imaginative kit designs from anyone who sees the world a little differently! I am really looking forward to being surprised by what people come up with and showcasing innovation, passion and creativity that will do the rugby team and the area proud.”
Councillor Bob Buchan, Chair of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult and Community-Based Services Committee, said: "As a key supporter of the project we are really pleased to welcome the launch of this new opportunity which celebrates women in sport in Hartlepool. Research shows that many women are put-off from taking part in sport for varied reasons, so we are really keen to encourage everyone, no matter how good your art or design skills are, to enter the competition, as you will have the opportunity to raise awareness of women in sport and inspire more women to become more active.”
Jen Cleary, Director North, Arts Council England said “I am so pleased that we have been able to support Get Shirty - the project truly embodies Let’s Create! This unique project is a fantastic opportunity for the entire community to get creative and celebrate women’s sport. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!”
Judge, Chelsea Power Commercial and Operations Director for Emilia Wickstead said: “I’m thrilled to be involved in the panel for this exciting project. Helping the panel choose a shortlist for the new kit for Hartlepool Rovers Ladies Rugby team sounds like a fun challenge and I am looking forward to bringing my design trained eye to the mix!”
Judge, Garnet Mackinder, Head of Equality at Sport England and co-opted member of the RFU Council has said, "I'm honoured to be involved as a judge in Hartlepool Rovers' kit competition. I played rugby for over 15 years and have seen the kit evolve, and understand how important it is to have a kit that fits well, which in turn boosts confidence and makes women feel good playing in it. I'm excited to see what designs are submitted!”
Judge, Charles Quick of Uclan and In Certain Places commented, "For someone who has a lifelong passion for art and community rugby this is a dream gig. Playing in a uniquely designed kit has got to be worth a 5-point lead to any team. I am expecting lots of very imaginative and inventive designs. I am sure it will be hard to make a selection. I am glad that we don't have to make the definitive choice and that the public are going to choose the final winner."