Winners announced - Manchester Culture Awards

The winners of the first Manchester Culture Awards were announced last night at a special awards ceremony hosted by actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Nihal Arthanayake.

The awards recognise the very best of culture in the city over the last year and were established by the council to recognise both the massive contribution culture makes to the city's economy, and the role of culture in helping make Manchester a vibrant place people want to live, work in, and visit.

Following a phenomenal response to the call-out for nominations earlier this year that saw nearly 300 nominations received, judges had the difficult task over the summer of whittling all the nominations down to just five finalists in each of the twelve different award categories.

Choosing the final winners in each category was an even harder job for the judges given the exceptional quality and uniqueness of all those who reached the finals.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Schools, Culture, and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said: "What has been so fantastic about all the entries we had is that they have really showed off the incredible range and quality of cultural activities that have taken place in Manchester over the last year.  

"They also highlighted the numerous partnerships that exist across the city - many of them behind the scenes and under the radar of most audience members -  that help make all this great culture happen.

"Here in Manchester culture is far from being an optional extra.  We recognise it as something that delivers real social and economic benefits - one of the very bedrocks of the city, and what helps make our city a place that people want to be.    

"We've always punched above our weight in terms of our cultural offer, and the calibre not just of this year's winners, but of all those who were nominated for awards, shows that we continue to do so."    

List of winners:

Best Event 

What is the City but the People? - Manchester International Festival 2017 Commission

Promotion of Health  and Wellbeing

Streetwise Opera

Best Business Partnership

Bruntwood with Manchester School of Art and the Royal Exchange

Young Creative of the Year

Dominic Bennett

Promotion of Talent and Leadership


Best Exhibition

Never Going Underground: The Fight for LGBGT+ Rights - People's History Museum

Promotion of Environmental Sustainability

MAST ( Manchester Arts Sustainability Team)

Inspiring Innovation


Promotion of Equality and Diversity

Olympias Music Foundation

Best Performance

This is the Place - Tony Walsh

Outstanding Contribution

Manchester International Festival

Manchester People's Cultural Award - in association with the Manchester Evening News

Video Jam

In addition to the main award categories two Special Recognition Awards were also made.

The first award went to Maria Balshaw, Director of the Tate, for her work and commitment in her former roles here in Manchester as Director of Culture for the city and also Director of both Manchester Art Gallery and The Whitworth, 

The second Special Recognition Award was presented by Alison Clark from Arts Council England North to Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, for his vision and continued belief in the power of culture and the fundamental part it plays in the life and prosperity of the city.

The judges of this year's Manchester Cultural Awards were: Sara Todd, Deputy Chief Executive Manchester City Council; Alison Clark, Director North & National Combined Arts Director, Arts Council England; Mags Bradbury, Associate Director Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, Central Manchester University NHS Trust; Keisha Thompson, Manchester writer, performance artist and producer; Mark Dobson, independent cultural consultant; and Councillor Luthfur Rahman.



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