Weavers Factory awards print prize to MMU grads

Five graduates from the Manchester Metropolitan University’s illustration with animation course have been awarded in the 2021 Weavers Factory Print Prize. Their work will be sold via the gallery’s new print shop later this summer

The Weavers Factory, a gallery based in Greater Manchester, worked with MMU to compile a shortlist of 15 students from the course for its annual print prize. Five have been chosen as winners: Lucy Morris, Sam Wagstaff, William Dobbs, Caitlan Hargreaves, and Dylan Woodall.

As part of the prize, the gallery founders – Julian Bovis and Nigel Durkan – will work with the illustrators to curate a set of prints to be sold on the gallery’s new online print shop later this summer.

The calibre of both the winners and shortlist (which can be viewed in full here), is exceptionally strong, covering a wide range of styles and approaches. “They each displayed a unique and original take on the world, combined with a clear understanding of their subject and perfectly executed technique,” say Bovis and Durkan. The five winners of the prize can be viewed below.


“My practice explores and researches the values of the working-classes, as represented through traditionally higher-class cultures,” says Morris. “Recently this has taken the form of print to respond to films and literature made for, and by, the working-classes within mid-century Britain.

“Looking at writers such as Shelagh Delaney and the director Ken Loach, my aim was to re-introduce the issues examined within the 1960s to today’s working-classes audiences. I wanted to allow the mass of working-class people to realise the culture and significance of working-class academia and art.”



“I am an illustrator from north Yorkshire with a background in photography and graphic design. My practice explores translating pre-written narratives into the form of a graphic novel,” says Wagstaff.

“Illustration is how I communicate with the world and by methodically interpreting textual narratives into visual imagery I can provide others with an alternate perspective on an existing narrative using my visual language. In doing so, I hope to engage an audience to texts they may never have considered reading otherwise, using the dual-narrative track of the graphic novel.”



“My work embodies the concept of ‘genius loci’ in that it pays homage and respect to personal memories, moments and places in my life that have resonated with me in an impactful way,” says Dobbs. “I take inspiration from my experiences of adventure, travelling and exploring the world.

“My work draws on my deep-rooted passion for figurines, collectables and relics and in particular my passion for ancient civilisations, and how drawing and mark making is rooted in different cultures and mythology. In addition, it draws upon my profound love of the wilderness and exploration; resonating with my own experiences.”



“As an aspiring tattoo artist my personal practice takes inspiration from traditional stylised artwork, featuring bold lines, heavy shading and bright colours,” says Hargreaves.

“University projects have also given me a chance to engage in deeper research to the culture of tattoo art; resulting in the creation of my final outcomes to further educate others on its importance. I have worked with a variety of mediums but I take a particular preference in creating ink and gouache paintings alongside digital pieces.”



“My work is a reflection of the subtle and unique narratives we can find in our day-to-day. Through personifying inanimate objects and depicting the relationships we form with nature, I like to create new stories within my practice; often introducing elements which can be open for the viewer to reinterpret,” says Woodall.

“I am particularly intrigued by the imperfections found when using different printing methods and recently have worked primarily with Risograph printing. I have found that the unpredictable idiosyncrasies which this medium brings can act as a new characteristic within my work.”


All the shortlisted artists for the prize can be viewed at weaversfactory.co.uk/2021printprize; @theweaversfactory