The Manchester Culture Awards are back for 2023 with nominations opening this week as the city gears up to once again celebrate the stand-out cultural and creative highlights of the last year.

The awards were launched in 2018 by the city council to acknowledge Manchester’s rapidly growing reputation for culture and the arts, with the annual awards recognising the very best of culture, creativity, and the arts in the city – from the grassroots up. They recognise individuals, events, and organisations big and small, that together help make Manchester the vibrant and exciting place for culture and the arts that it is.

Last year the competition to win one of the coveted awards was fiercer than ever after the number of nominations made topped 466 across 12 different categories – the highest number of nominations received since the awards began.

Nominations for this year’s awards open this week on Thursday 25 May, with nominations accepted 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 some of the important themes of our times such as health and well-being, the environment, and social justice.

This year will once again also see a special award made in partnership with the Manchester Evening News. The Manchester People’s Cultural Award will be presented to an individual or organisation whose dedication and contribution to culture in Manchester stands above the rest and deserves to be recognised, with the final winner of the award chosen by public vote.

Nominees for each of the awards must either be based in the city of Manchester, or have a strong 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 ahead of a special awards ceremony to be held at the end of the year – with more details to follow on this soon. All nominations must reflect activity that has taken place between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023 – apart from the Manchester People’s Cultural Award, which recognises achievement over a number of years.

The nomination categories are:

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.

Best Event
A brilliant event that you think should be recognised. It could have been live or on-line.

Best Performance
A performance, in any art form, that was amazing and really impressed you. It could have been live or on-line.

Best Exhibition
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.

This year’s awards come at an exciting time for culture in the city – a year that has already seen the re-opening of Manchester Museum following extensive refurbishment, and that along with the upcoming bicentenary of Manchester Art Gallery, will also see the latest edition of Manchester International Festival, and the official opening this Autumn of a brand-new world class venue for the arts in the heart of the city centre.

Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Deputy Leader Manchester City Council, said:

“Manchester does arts and creativity like no-one else does and it’s a massive part of what helps make our city such a brilliant place to be.”

With such a diverse talent pool and creativity on practically every street corner we’re a city that truly embraces the arts and really appreciates the social and economic benefits they bring.

“There’s an amazing creative scene here in Manchester and we can’t wait to hear about your favourites and those who you think deserve a gong – so get nominating!”

Nominations close at midnight on Thursday 22 June.

To make a nomination visit: manchester.gov.uk/cultureawards