The Manchester Culture Awards are officially back for 2022, with nominations opening this week as the city once again gears up to celebrate the stand-out cultural and creative highlights of the last year.
Launched in 2018 by the council to acknowledge Manchester's rapidly growing reputation for culture and the arts, the annual awards recognise the very best of culture, creativity and the arts in the city - from the grassroots to the international.
Last year's awards in 2021 - which followed a two-year gap due to the pandemic - saw nearly 300 nominations made, despite culture being one of the first sectors forced to close in March 2020 and the last to re-open once Covid restrictions ended.
More than 62 finalists and winners were celebrated at last year's awards from across a wide range of artforms and heritage projects. Organisations large and small were nominated, as well as individuals - reflecting Manchester's distinctive and dynamic creative scene.
Nominations for the hugely popular awards open this week on Wednesday 8 June, with awards across twelve different categories including Best Event, Best Performance, and Young Creative of the Year, as well as other awards that shine a spotlight on important themes of our times such as the environment, health and well-being, and social justice.
As in previous years there will also once again be a special award made in partnership with the Manchester Evening News. The Manchester People's Cultural Award will be presented to someone whose dedication and contribution to culture in Manchester stands head and shoulders above the rest and deserves to be recognised, with the final winner chosen by a public vote.
Nominees for each of the awards must be based either in the city of Manchester, or have a track record of delivering activity for those who live in or visit the city, or that benefits the local economy.
Judging will take place over the summer and will see all nominations made scrutinised by a panel of expert judges before a full list of finalists is published in early October.
Winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony to be held in the evening of 24 November.
Nominations can be made in the following categories for activity 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2022 - apart from the Manchester People's Cultural Award which recognises achievement over a number of years:
Young Creative of the Year
A young person (aged 13-25) who is inspiring future generations of Mancunians and others through their creativity, and/or is supporting others to be creative.
Promotion of Health and Wellbeing
Fantastic creative activity that helped people feel better in their body and/or mind.
Promotion of Equality and Social Justice
Making change and creating opportunities for equality and diversity to thrive.
Promotion of Environmental Sustainability
Taking action to have a positive impact on the environment and climate change
Promotion of Talent and Leadership
Great work supporting others to develop their skills and talents for future success
Promotion of Culture and Education
Supporting education and engagement through cultural and creative activity.
Best Business Partnership
A partnership that supports culture and helps it flourish in Manchester.
A brilliant event that you think should be recognised. It could have been live or on-line.
A performance, in any art form, that was amazing and really impressed you. It could have been live or on-line.
An arts or heritage exhibition that you thought was amazing. It could have been in a venue or on-line.
Independent Creative of the Year
A person working independently in the creative sector who is inspiring and innovating through their artform and/or delivery of projects in the city.
The Made in Manchester Award
A physical, digital or other form of creativity that demonstrates the depth of amazing work in the city. We are particularly keen to capture art forms that have been less represented in the awards to date. Some examples include poetry, film, street art, graphic design, music, crafts, or other forms
The Manchester People’s Cultural Award
A nomination for someone who deserves to be celebrated for their dedication and contribution to culture and creativity in Manchester. This is an award with a difference, because the final winner will be chosen by a public vote in association with the Manchester Evening News. Achievements can have taken place over several years.
Manchester's reputation for creativity and diversity was an important factor in the city being nominated last year (2021) as the third best city in the world by Time Out magazine, beaten only by Amsterdam and San Francisco. Manchester ranked top in the Time Out poll for nightlife, community spirit, and friendliness, and was praised for its resilience, its pride, and its creativity.
The value of culture to the city is also in no doubt with pre-pandemic figures, compiled by leading economic and social impact research company Ekosgen, showing that the estimated economic impact of the cultural sector in Manchester in 2019-20 - including jobs and visitor spend in the city - was calculated to be £283.2m.
Ekosgen also estimated that cultural organisations in Manchester contribute a social value of around £8.7m to the city. This is made up of £78,000 of social capital generated through apprenticeships, £2.4m of social capital generated as a result of volunteering, and £6.3m health and wellbeing NHS cost savings from engaging in the arts as an audience member.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: "With the city's cultural calendar once again starting to look as busy as it did in pre-Covid times it's clear that Manchester's love of the arts and culture hasn't gone away.
"The city's buzz is well and truly on its way back and it's brilliant to see the city's distinctive and dynamic creative scene playing a part in this.
"The awards are a great opportunity to recognise and celebrate the important contribution the arts and culture make to our city - not just to our economy, but also to our health and well-being. So get involved and get nominating!"
Nominations close at midnight on Sunday 10 July.
You can make a nomination here