INSP Awards: Best Cultural Feature Nominees for 2017

What does a Nobel-prize winning playwright, Game of Thrones, Jon Bon Jovi and a street cat named Bob have in common?

They’re all topics covered by our nominees for the Best Cultural Feature in this year’s INSP Awards!

The nominees for the Best Cultural Feature come from the hundreds of contributions we receive to our unique News Service.

This free wire service allows street papers to share content with their international peers and makes hundreds of articles available for free to INSP’s member street papers.

Our Best Cultural Feature award will go to the best feature, interview or story focusing on arts, entertainment and culture. Judges will consider a range of elements, including: original approach; incisive interviews; and excellence in writing style.

The features below are our top ten nominees for this category. They will now go through to our international editorial panel who will pick our five finalists, and these will be announced in early August.

The winner will then be revealed at the Global Street Paper Summit in Manchester.

Keep checking back over the coming days as we announce more nominees for our other categories, including Best Photo, Best News Feature and Best Vendor Contribution.

The Nominees:

Big Issue North, UK

Big Issue North

Long player: an interview with evergreen singer Petula Clark

By Sophie Haydock

She’s been covered by Frank Sinatra, danced with Fred Astaire and caused unexpected controversy by being the first white women to touch a black man on U.S. television in 1968 – but 84-year-old Petula Clark has no plans to quit her long career any time soon. Following the release of her new album, From Now On, the singer shares a life of fighting shyness and depression to shine onstage.

=Oslo, Norway


Street Cat Bob visits Norwegian street paper =Oslo

By Even Skyrud

Now a genuine movie star, Street Cat Bob and his owner, former Big Issue vendor James Bowen, recently visited the Norwegian offices of street paper =Oslo. James talked to staff and vendors about how his life has changed thanks to the ginger moggy.

Scarp de’ tenis, Italy

Scarp de' tenis

Nobel prize-winning playwright Dario Fo on six decades of creating firebrand theatre

By Daniela Palumbo

Italian actor, playwright and theatre director Dario Fo won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Literature. His famous creation, Mistero Buffo, is still recognised as one of the most controversial and popular pieces of post-war European theatre. Its broadcast in Italy prompted the Vatican to denounce it as “the most blasphemous show in the history of television.” At 90, Fo is still having fun on stage. The Nobel laureate “jokester” speaks with Italian street paper Scarp de’ tenis in a breakneck monologue covering his childhood memories, taking the “powers that be” to task, his Nobel prize win, his late wife Franca Rane and his latest book Dario and God, in which he shares his judgement on Pope Francis.

Street Sense, USA

Street Sense

Prophets of Rage: “elite taskforce of revolutionary musicians” take on homelessness

By Ronald Dudley and Eric Falquero

“Homelessness is a crime. It’s almost a war crime,” says guitarist Tom Morello, formerly of Rage Against the Machine and now rocking again with supergroup Prophets of Rage. Featuring members of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy, the revolutionary band was formed in response to the 2016 presidential election cycle. Their performances are about taking power back from the system – and helping people experiencing homelessness. Street paper vendor and self-produced rapper Ronald Dudley (a.k.a. Pookanu) sat down with them just before the first show of their tour, which aims to Make America Rage Again.

Surprise, Switzerland


Invisible People: artist documents where Greek homeless people sleep

By Michael Gasser

Swiss artist Eva Borner’s latest photography project reveals the sleeping places of homeless people in Athens. Shocked by the increasing numbers of people sleeping rough in the Greek capital, Borner set out to document their lives – with a little help from Shedia vendor Michalis.

The Big Issue, UK

The Big Issue

Finding Dory: an environmental disaster waiting to happen?

By Lucy Sweet

With the release of Finding Dory, another Hollywood-fuelled pet craze is around the corner. But blue tangs can grow to up to a foot long – and have a poisonous sting. Campaigners worry they’ll have to deal with abandoned animals again, as happened after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-fuelled terrapin craze. Meanwhile, fish are being illegally harvested from the wild, with no thought for the ecosystem. The Big Issue asks, are animal films heroes or villains?

The Big Issue, UK

The Big Issue

Game of Thrones in Northern Ireland: the gift that keeps on giving

By Andrew Burns

The Big Issue’s Andrew Burns recently took a tour of Northern Ireland’s stunning landmarks – the backdrop for TV sensation Game of Thrones. On location, he talks to the people who became part of the country’s most lucrative opportunity. The programme has brought £166m into the province’s economy, and continues to bridge old divides. “Landowners, neighbours, councils, environmental agencies – they used to be afraid of Game of Thrones. Now they love it,” explains location manager Naomi Liston.

The Big Issue, UK

The Big Issue

Jon Bon Jovi: “It’s not rock and roll to start a foundation that feeds homeless people”

By Terri White

Jon Bon Jovi has sold more than 130 million records. He’s also a one-man anti-poverty movement. In this interview with the Big Issue, Bon Jovi talks candidly about his music legacy, the shock departure of guitarist Richie Sambora from the band, and his charity work tackling homelessness and hunger. Speaking ahead of the US Presidential election, the strong Democrat supporter also predicted that Trump did have a chance of winning. “I’m not defined just by the music, that’s a calling card. I’m very proud of the foundation’s work,” says the 54-year-old.

The Curbside Chronicle, USA

The Curbside Chronicle

The art of healing: facing bipolar using abstract art photography

By Ranya Forgotson

Curbside Chronicle vendor Chazzi Davis lives with bipolar disorder. Twenty year ago, he lost everything due to mental health issues. He can never have his old life back, but has found that taking abstract photos – and selling the paper – is like therapy. “I love Curbside so much,” he says.

The Curbside Chronicle, USA

The Curbside Chronicle

No seconds: the photographer humanising death row inmates by capturing their last meals

By Whitley O’Connor

Rooted in religion, superstition and compassion, the final meal of U.S. death row inmates dates as far back as capital punishment itself. World renowned photographer Henry Hargreaves aims to humanise inmates via their last meal requests, captured in his book, A Year of Killing. “As I read about their requests, they became people in my mind and not just statistics,” Hargreaves tells The Curbside Chronicle.