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Sports, leisure and the Arts Manchester Culture Awards 2022

2021 winners

The full list of finalists and winners of the Manchester Culture Awards 2021 were:

Best Business Partnership. WINNER The Cultural Hardship Fund - Savannah Wisdom Foundation with B&M Retail Ltd, HOME and Manchester City Council 

The fund awarded over 200 grants to Manchester freelancers facing financial hardship because of COVID-19. Musicians, photographers, event crew, actors, DJs, producers, visual artists, and more all received support. Recipients reported feeling valued, as well as positive impacts on their mental health and reduced anxiety around their finances. 

Creative Care in Covid (Individual). WINNER Mark Fisher 

Mark delivers specialised music projects and training in healthcare settings. In response to the pandemic he moved programmers on to digital platforms, creating open online resources for therapeutic use. His work was included in an international health and communication programme and used to help frontline staff in 120 countries worldwide 

Creative Care in Covid  (Organisation). WINNER Afrocats 

Afrocats were quick to respond to refugee and asylum seeker children, adults, and families. Among a number of packages of support, they ran culturally sensitive writing workshops in mother-tongue languages supporting 70 very vulnerable people with their wellbeing. Providing much needed connection between people who were isolated, fearful, and alone. 

Promotion of Culture & Education. WINNER Culture Feast - Manchester Enterprise Academy, Include Group 

With Creative City, students organised their own festival for the Forum Library’s Creative Spaces programme. Students programmed, budget managed, promoted and ran the event on the day. Their idea was to bring people together to celebrate cultures of the world. It was successful, well attended by local communities and a major achievement for the young organisers. 

Promotion of Environmental Sustainability. WINNER Reform Radio 

Sustainability is a key focus for Reform Radio, both as a small organisation and as individuals. They use their passion and energy about it to make meaningful, effective change. Initiatives include: buying locally and sustainably; carbon literacy training for all staff; devoted programming around climate issues - including a 24-hour takeover from 24 countries for Earth Day. 

Promotion of Equality & Social Justice. WINNER Sadia Habib 

At Manchester Museum, Sadia has developed a rich young people’s programme resulting in exciting, meaningful and relevant exploration of heritage, culture, and identity. She set up and supports the Our Shared Cultural Heritage Young Collective who are leaders and change-makers both at Manchester Museum and in the heritage sector more widely. 

Best Event. WINNER Together In One Voice. Created by Rose Marley & Dan McDwyer, with partners the Co-op, Manchester City Council, Manchester International Festival, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority 

Thousands of residents took part in this joyous mass doorstep singalong during lockdown, supported by some of Manchester’s biggest music stars. Accompanied by a specially recorded livestream featuring virtual choirs and musicians, the project combined online connection with real-world involvement to create a sense of community at a very difficult time 

Best Exhibition – joint winners 

Grayson’s Art Club - Manchester Art Gallery 

Grayson’s Art Club encouraged people to seek joy and solace in making art, to express themselves with humour, pathos, and imagination - encapsulating life under lockdown. Artworks by the public, celebrities and artists shown alongside Grayson’s own pieces speak of our shared experiences, demonstrating how art is an essential part of people’s lives. 

The Manchester Open – HOME 

The Manchester Open at HOME is both a celebration and reminder of the often-hidden creative talent within Greater Manchester. Following 2,000+ entries, a selection of 543 artworks by 451 artists aged 5 - 93 formed the first edition, attracting 33,000 visitors and securing a spot amongst the region’s outstanding cultural moments. 

Promotion of Health & Wellbeing. WINNER Halle Workplace Choir 

The Hallé Workplace Choir programme creates and supports choirs in many organisations. During lockdown it was clear that the programme would be an important wellbeing tool, so the Hallé developed a virtual choral option. Workplace Choirs continued throughout the pandemic, helping to combat loneliness, and promoting connectivity in the workplace. 

The Manchester People’s Culture Award. WINNER Reform Radio 

During the pandemic Reform delivered hundreds of on-line creative, digital and employability sessions to young people. Also provided free wellbeing, employment and fundraising support to their roster of over 300 artists and DJs. Their ‘We Out Here’ festival paired artists from Manchester with those around the world to create a brand-new track over Zoom. 

Best Performance/ WINNER. RENT – Hope Mill Theatre 

Officially the UK’s best reviewed production of RENT. Hope Mill Theatre overcame all the odds to bring this ‘life-affirming’ production to Manchester. A powerful rock musical telling the story of struggling artists living in New York during the AIDS pandemic. It brought audiences to their feet night after night. 

Promotion of Talent & Leadership. WINNER Jane Lawson – Castlefield Gallery 

Jane, Castlefield Gallery's Artist Development Coordinator, responded to lockdown by swiftly moving all Castlefield’s artist development programmes online. Over 200 Castlefield Gallery Associates accessed uninterrupted development support as well as online check-ins to keep people connected, as did the gallery’s bolder programmes for artists aged 50+, two graduate support programmes and the Manchester Open award winners. 

Young Creative of the Year. WINNER Princess Arinola Adegbite 

Since publishing Soft Tortures, her debut poetry book at 16, Princess Arinola has won Slambassadors, BBC Words First 2020 and One Mic Stand. She has been commissioned by Ripples of Hope Festival, MIF and BBC. She is a member of Young Identity and an artist on Contact Theatre’s Level Up Programme. 




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