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Manchester Culture Awards - finalists announced ahead of awards ceremony later this week

This week sees the return of the annual Manchester Culture Awards that are being held for the first time in two years after the pandemic meant they couldn't take place last year.

Launched in 2018 by the council to acknowledge Manchester's rapidly growing reputation for culture and the arts, the awards recognise the very best of culture and arts in the city.

After a two-year gap since the last awards in 2019 the call-out for nominations back in June drew a massive response.  Nearly 300 nominations were made, recognising the exceptional contributions made by individuals and cultural organisations big and small across the city from April 2019 to the end of March 2021.

This year the awards also pay homage to the many cultural organisations and individuals in Manchester that stepped up during the last year and, by doing things differently in a very Manchester way, helped keep us all connected and entertained at a time when many of us were alone and not feeling great.

The exceptional quality of all those nominated gave judges the unenviable task of deciding which entries should go through to the final round of judging.

This year's judging panel included actor Julie Hesmondhalgh; Jennifer Cleary, Director, North-West and Combined Arts (national), Arts Council England; Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council; Dr Cordelle Ofori, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning; Lisa O'Loughlin - Principal of The Manchester College; and Fiona Worrall, Strategic Director Neighbourhoods, Manchester City Council. 

The list of finalists in each category is as follows:


Best Event

House Party - HOME, Venture Arts and Drake Music

Together in One Voice - Rose Marley & Dan McDwyer with partners the Co-op, Manchester City Council, Manchester International Festival and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Our City Speaks - Contact and Manchester City of Literature

Peterloo 2019 - Manchester Histories

Black Gold Arts Festival with Contact


Best Exhibition

The Manchester Open - HOME

Disrupt? Peterloo & Protest Exhibition - People's History Museum

Grayson's Art Club - Manchester Art Gallery

50 Windows of Creativity - Wild in Art

School of Integration - Manchester International Festival 


Best Performance

Sirocco - Manchester Collective

Untold Caroline - Manchester Camerata

RENT - Hope Mill Theatre

The Long Goodbye - Riz Ahmed and Manchester International Festival 

The Shadow - Company Chameleon


Creative Care in COVID-19 (individual)

Andy Barry

Mark Fisher

Kate Bradnam

Meg Parnell

Lydia Burke


Creative Care in COVID-19 (organisation)


Creative Care Kits Coalition 

Manchester Camerata

Venture Arts

The Edge Theatre 


Promotion of Culture and Education

Trapped in the Museum - People's History Museum

Read Manchester - Manchester Libraries

Halle Connect

Black History Workshops - Big People Music Ltd

Culture Feast - Manchester Enterprise Academy, Include Group

Best Business Partnership

Cultural Hardship Fund for Freelancers - Savannah Wisdom Foundation with B&M Retail Ltd, HOME & Manchester City Council

Cargill and the Halle Inspire Programme

Electricity North West and Manchester International Festival

Auto Trader & HOME


Promotion of Environmental Sustainability

Science and Industry Museum

Reform Radio

HOME Manchester

Manchester Day ream - Manchester City Council and Walk the Plank


Promotion of Equality and Social Justice

Digifest 2020 - Manchester Histories

Sadia Habib

GFF Damian Dance Studio

Young People's Forum - Manchester International Festival

Making Manchester - Olympias Music Foundation

GFF Damian Dance


Promotion of Health and Wellbeing

Sound Up Arts

Mark Fisher

Halle Workplace Choir




Promotion of Talent and Leadership

Assistant Conductor Scheme - Halle Concerts Society

The Factory Academy - Manchester International Festival

Brighter Sound

Barinur Rashid - Manchester Museum

Jane Lawson - Castlefield Gallery


Young Creative of the Year

Fang Zhang

Lydia Kinowski-Don

Princess Arinola Adegbite

Thameena Alam

Olivia Lee


The Manchester People's Culture Award

The Old Abbey Taphouse

Joseph Houston and William Whelton

Sharon Raymond

Reform Radio

Gorton Visual Arts


Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "Manchester is and always will be a city that champions culture and creativity and we embrace everything the arts have to offer as an essential part of what helps make Manchester great.

"After the year and a half we've just had through the pandemic it's probably fair to say that we've all learnt to better appreciate the escape, excitement, joy, and magic that cultural activities provide.

"It's clear too, that after these most difficult of times, the city's cultural organisations, artists and creatives need the support of the city and their audiences more than ever, and we're determined to continue playing our part in this. 

"The amazing response to our call-out for nominations was a reminder of just how much energy and talent there is in the city and we can't wait to announce the winners later this week."


The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony being held this week on Wednesday 24 November. 



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