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mychael PIONEERS Nigel Cabourn


PIONEERS is a portraiture photography exhibition.

It toured several venues around the North of England in 2019.

PIONEERS is a Michael Owen and Paul Lancaster concept, Art Directed by Michael Owen.

The word PIO(NE)ERS quietly anchoring the subjects in their hometowns in the North East (NE) of England.

20 Portraits.

PIONEERS portraits are deeply personal.

Many reveal aspects of the subject not normally shared.

Those chosen as sitters are from.

Or have impacted positively.

The North East of England.

They are achievers.

Considered by many to be adventurous.


And inspirational.

They are known for their fearless creativity and often-unpredictable approach to doing business.

They dare to be different.

And they are as generous and supportive as they are successful and memorable.

Photographers: Reece James Morrison and Alex Wright.

Nigel Cabourn - AWR Pioneers
01. Nigel Cabourn.

A true, authentic Local Hero, Nigel has worked in fashion for over 50 years. He studied fashion design at Northumbria University between 1967 and 1971 and his studio and business is still based in the North East of England (Jesmond). This is where we visited him, his pose in this portrait triggered by conversations around England’s performance in the 2018 Football World Cup. Nigel launched his eponymous label in the 1970s, triggered by a book that Paul Smith gave to him. Nigel’s key influences are military clothing and vintage clothing, using fabrics such as Harris Tweed & Ventile. The Army Gym is the Japanese arm for the Nigel Cabourn brands and in September 2014 he opened his first standalone UK flagship store at 28 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London.

John Miles - AWR Pioneers
02. John Miles.

John Miles, born in Jarrow, is a man with stories to tell. John was Tina Turner’s Director of Music for many years and has worked with Elton John, Jimmy Page and Grace Jones. John, a rock music vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and keyboard player is perhaps best known for his 1976 Top 3 UK hit single, “Music”. It’s a song that almost everybody will recognise after the very first line (‘Music was my first love, it will be my last…). When we met, he revealed that this globally recognised anthem was written by him, in his hotel room, in minutes. John won the “Outstanding Musical Achievement” award at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards. The ‘SINGER’ sewing machine in the portrait, in the garden of The Black Horse Pub in East Boldon was a real gift!

Pete Zulu - AWR Pioneers
03. Pete Zulu.

Pete Zulu was the original lead singer of The Toy Dolls, the enigmatic punk rock band formed in 1979. Leaving behind the anger so often associated with punk rock, The Toy Dolls worked within the aesthetics of punk in a fun way with songs such as “Yul Brynner Was a Skinhead” and “My Girlfriend’s Dad’s a Vicar”. These days, Pete is a wonderfully unique photographer (Insta: petezulu3), writes books (‘Willsdiamonds’ and ‘Triggers’) and is one of life’s true, natural creatives. Also a talented chef, Pete now owns and leads the team at the superbly memorable Black Horse Pub in East Boldon with wife Sarah. This photograph was taken at his home, in his outside ‘office’.

Chi Onwurah - AWR Pioneers
04. Chi Onwurah.

Chi is from the North East and for the North East. She has always campaigned for the causes she believes in. Chi has campaigned against the Federation of Conservative Students at Imperial College and was very active in the Anti Apartheid Movement. Before being selected as Labour’s candidate for Newcastle, Chi was on the Advisory Board of the Open University Business School, reflecting her belief in educational opportunity at every stage in life and for every level of ability. Outside of politics and work Chi enjoys music, reading and long walks in the countryside. And here Chi is – out amongst the people, near Newcastle’s Central Station.

Harriotte Lane - AWR Pioneers
05. Harriotte Lane.

Harriotte overcame numerous challenges including bullying in her early years. As an aspiring model, Harriotte has attracted attention from agencies around the world since her early teens and works tirelessly alongside her studies to learn the fashion industry. Significantly, Harriotte supported by mum (and friend) Sarah, has raised many tens of thousands of pounds for charities along the way. Harriotte has also supported pageants for many years too – so here she is in Newcastle’s Malmaison hotel in full attire.

Debbie Owen - AWR Pioneers
06. Debbie Owen.

Debbie has written for the BBC (TV and Radio), for ITV and for Independent Production Companies across TV, Film and Theatre. Most recently (2018 – 2020) Debbie is writing episodes for the BBC TV series, Casualty. Debbie also uses her unique storytelling skills to help businesses and organisations to communicate memorably and with authenticity. “Debbie Owen is a talented and innovative writer, producing very strong drama. Having had the privilege of reading her work, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Debbie!” Lynda La Plante 2015. Here Debbie is, at home, writing.

Spencer Davey - AWR Pioneers
07. Spencer Davey.

Spencer is the Founder of STORM Fitness. He also holds numerous qualifications as a nutritionist and is a speaker and writer in his specialist fields. STORM is the North East’s premium expert fitness facility specialising in bespoke, results-driven, one-on-one personal training. The team includes proven, seasoned, experienced athletes alongside former professional rugby player Spencer. Spencer has a laser-like commitment to quality, consistency and his own unique beliefs around how professional fitness should be explored and delivered. Ethical, precise, friendly, inclusive and totally results-driven, Spencer’s overall approach is a guiding light for how personal development and effective, authentic physical and mental development should be conceived and implemented. An obsessive surfer, Spencer lives in Tynemouth alongside the other loves of his life, wife Shirin – and the sea.

Sarah Waddington - AWR Pioneers
08. Sarah Waddington.

CIPR’s President for 2018. On the Northern Power Women Power List. Featured in the PRWeek UK Power Book. One of Lissted’s top North East England digital influencers. On the Athena40 Global Committee. Sarah’s PR-related blog is one of the top ten in the UK (Vuelio). Sarah’s PIONEERS portrait is taken in Whitley Bay, a few miles from where Sarah lives with her two boys. The penny arcade’s CHANGE neon – in the context of Sarah’s pioneering approach to business and life – was a gift.

Paul Lancaster - AWR Pioneers
09. Paul Lancaster.

Paul Lancaster (lordlancaster) is a multi award winning Super Connector and super well-known mover and shaker within the North East business community. Paul has almost 20 years experience helping people to start and grow businesses and started his own venture – Plan Digital UK – in 2016. Paul is Founder & Event Producer of the annual 5-day ‘Newcastle Startup Week’ festival and 1-day ‘Newcastle Scaleup Summit’ – the increasingly popular festival that now attracts over 1,000 people to attend and, on social media, gets the attention of tens of thousands more. Paul was voted ‘Collaborator of the Year’ at Dynamo North East’s Dynamites awards in 2016 and 2017 and recognised by social media analytics company as the ‘Most Influential Person in Digital’ in the North East in 2017. Paul is also co-author of the ‘Small Business Marketing For Dummies’ book published by Wiley. Here is Paul’s tongue-in-cheek homage to Northern life.

Lesley Middlemiss Lister - AWR Pioneers
10. Lesley Middlemiss Lister.

Lesley’s ability to build bonded and enduring teams is just one of the things that has kept her at the forefront of her field in the North of England for a quarter of a century. Tyne Tees Models provide best-in-class models and performers across the North of England and Scotland – and in key cities globally. Lesley has been matching models to missions since 1994, delivering brand messages with power and precision. Endlessly ethical and charitable, Lesley has also raised tens of thousands of pounds for good causes. Here Lesley is in her Newcastle City Centre offices.

Simon Bourne - AWR Pioneers
11. Simon Bourne.

Simon is a driven, self-made businessman. Simon’s social media narrative and relationships underpin his new and expanding Hand Dyed Shoe Company as his lively, personal interactions with customers has built a large and and engaged audience. Simon is also an advocate for, and storyteller around the subject of mental health. Particularly in relation to Entrepreneurship. So we used this photo opportunity to capture how entrepreneurs can sometimes feel. The ghostly figure of another you, lurking in the background, can often emerge to distract or derail. The Hand Dyed Shoe Company is a great and much loved brand.

Angela Metcalfe - AWR Pioneers
12. Angela Metcalfe.

Angela is a globally recognised expert in wines and many other high-end alcoholic beverages. An Academie du Champagne member since 2013 and Sherry Educator that has consulted on, amongst others, the development of Masons and Dyfi Pollination Gin. Drinks editor at La Di Da Magazine, Angela describes herself as an unapologetic flavour diva, obsessed with good taste – both literal and objective. This image captures Angie with her much-loved car. A ‘Thelma and Louise’ homage? Maybe.

Jim Mawdsley - AWR Pioneers
13. Jim Mawdsley.

Jim describes himself as, “a Creative Digital Music and Live Event business strategist who likes a little challenge now and again.” One of the North East’s best known and loved characters, Jim is a ‘do-er’ – operating as a prolific, independent music promoter in the North East of England since the mid eighties. Jim has promoted indoor events that range from 50 capacity pub gigs to arena events attracting many tens of thousands of people, and has also built Generator into the UK’s leading Music Development Agency. His latest challenge involves leading a team in the creation of the Salt Market Social, North Shields. Here is Jim in his favourite spot in Newcastle’s Town Wall Brewpub.

Julia Austin - AWR Pioneers
14. Julia Austin.

Julia took the adventurous step from Chemical Engineer to Brewery Founder in 2011. Tyne Bank Brewery, one of the most respected and well known breweries in the North of England, is based close to the banks of the river Tyne. A brand determined to combine local passion with global reach, at the heart of Julia’s brand is a focus on delivering optimum depth of flavour across everything. In 2016 Tyne Bank expanded and relocated, creating a vibrant and uniquely beautiful open view taproom, bar and event space inside a fabulous Victorian warehouse in Newcastle’s Ouseburn.

Michael Owen - AWR Pioneers
15. Michael Owen.

Michael has created eight businesses here in the North East since 2000. His business communication businesses won 70 awards around the world and onebestway represented the UK in a World Web Festival in 2003, placing 3rd globally. Violet Bick was the first pure Brand Consultancy ever to be created in the North of England, assembling a team of world class brand thinkers from Saatchi & Saatchi, Nike and Sage. Nowadays, Michael leads Always Wear Red, a young and constantly evolving clothing brand, alongside actor and writer Ralf Little. Michael also leads ANGELFYSH, a Brand Communication agency where every team member is not only a seasoned theorist, but is a proven brand leader too. And his daily blog – one blog per day for 10 years – is building an expanding community. Here Michael wears his homage to hard work – the AWR Fuck Luck 100% silk tie.

Kate Rose - AWR Pioneers
16. Kate Rose.

Kate is a designer, a stylist and the founder of Tutti & Co. Kate’s passion is to surround herself with beautiful, often very simple, carefully chosen things. And she encourages Tutti & Co customers to do the same. Tutti & Co. is a thriving studio, perched on a cliff by the sea in the North of England. Kate is super-proud of her local community and beautiful environment – endlessly inspired to support and refine it. Here Kate is, in the open air at the coast. A place of inspiration and reflection.

Dan Prince - AWR Pioneers
17. Dan Prince.

Dan is one of the North UK’s best known and most admired photographers. Not a prolific self-publicist, Dan prefers to let his work do the talking. Dan is a great storyteller. A capturer of important and significant moments. Most notably portraiture and is this year (2019) a finalist in Fashion category of the AOP (Association of Photographers) Awards. Dan noted: “It’s nice to see a different take on Fashion being represented. My Kes series for Always Wear Red with Riverside Falconry was shot in a great location near Newburn.” As part of Dan and Always Wear Red’s ‘Kes’ (Ken Loach 1969) adventure, Dan filmed BAFTA winning David Bradley (Billy Casper, Kes) flying kestrels with Riverside Falconry founder John Kirtley.

Kate Dawson - AWR Pioneers
18. Kate Dawson.

Kate is an award winning entrepreneur that has been manufacturing bespoke customised All-in-One Onesies in the UK since 2008. Kate also helps start up companies, working closely with Northumberland College and Northumbria University linking business to student coursework projects and offering internships. A proud member of NEW Network, inspiring young women to find their future. Kate values kindness and respect and loves living in Northumberland and spending time at the beach – with Ebony.

Nick Birss - AWR Pioneers
19. Nick Birss.

Nick Birss is Director of Northern Espresso Limited and leads the team at one of Newcastle’s best loved coffee shops – LANEWAY. With great focus on customer relationships, Nick prides himself on the fact that LANEWAY is not just a place to go for coffee – it is a place to go for ‘your usual’. Nick’s ideas for LANEWAY come from his time in Australia. He returned from Oz determined to deliver coffee in England with a great degree of influence from what he’d learned on the other side of the world. A risk. But one that is paying off as LANEWAY has become the go-to place for great, consistently created coffee in a cool, light and calming space. Here Nick is in LANEWAY, High Bridge.

Janine Hunt - AWR Pioneers
20. Janine Hunt.

Janine has been an inspirational presence within the fashion design faculty at Northumbria University for 30 years. Formerly Head of Fashion, Janine is now Associate Professor of Fashion. It is impossible to fathom how many young designers Janine and her teams have nurtured and inspired over the years. It seemed fitting that Janine should be photographed in her greenhouse at home – another place for growth and inspiration.

AWR Pioneers Video: Always Wear Red.

By Dan Prince.

AWR Pioneers Video: Simon Bourne, Hand Dyed Shoe Co.

By Dan Prince.

AWR Pioneers Video: Julia Austin, Tyne Bank Brewery.

By Dan Prince.

AWR Pioneers Video: Nick Birss, Laneway & Co.

By Dan Prince.

AWR Pioneers Video: The 4 Businesses.

By Dan Prince.


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