The Civic Gallery

Northern Town

Northern Town

It can be a home, a place you love, a place you visit or maybe just a place you’ve experienced in film and/or television. A place made from post-industrial pasts built on rolling landscapes and economic migration. A place now working hard to be redefined; part of a burgeoning devolution of power wrapped in promise.

Northern Town visually explores the realities and mythologies of life in the hinterland communities of the north. It offers personal interpretations of changing spaces, places and people over a fifty year period. The exhibition references how the north has been defined in writing, film and television during the 20th century, and questions what has changed, what remains and what the future holds.

The artists would like to acknowledge the kind support of Barnsley Archives and Local Studies for permission to use certain images within the exhibition.

Exhibition installation photographs courtesy of ©Anton Want


Patrick Murphy

“What is it to be Northern? I’m not really sure. To paraphrase Billy Joel, maybe it’s a state of mind rather than a matter of pure geographical placement; a way of thinking, a warmth, a humour, a collection of memories forged and held close in these economic and socially challenging times.”

Patrick Murphy is a British artist and designer. He uses familiar objects and themes to depict and examine our culture, history, and sense of place. He works across a wide range of media and projects from commissions for large scale art installations and interventions to print and sculptural work. 

Anton Want

“I’d always been proud of where I was from, the people that influenced that, and the  strength of character it had given me at a young age but it was always just an abstract feeling, a sense of being from something larger than yourself”.

Anton Want is a British artist and photographer based in Barnsley. His current practice and writing is primarily concerned with the nature of change in British society through the portrayal of people, place and interpretations of identity.



Play Video

Interview with Patrick Murphy and Anton Want

Play Video


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