Celebrating arts, culture and creativity for young people, in and out of school

We were delighted to host the Northern Cultural Education Awards Celebration Event on Friday 24th May 2024 at the Edge Arena in Wigan.

These Awards shine a light on best practice, innovation and activism in the field of creative and cultural education, wherever it is happening across the North of England.

Our mission is to celebrate the incredible, passionate people – teachers, artists and creative practitioners, youth and social workers, health and wellbeing specialists and community volunteers – who are working so hard for children and young people.

The Awards

This year we were delighted to receive more than 150 award nominations across 8 different categories.

The quality of the entries was extremely high this year, making the process of reviewing and scoring them no easy task for our judging panels. The eventual winners were announced to an audience of over 300 people at our fun, bold and colourful celebration event on 24th May.

Here are the finalists and winners for all categories...

The Innovation and Leadership in Education Award

A trailblazing school or education setting which has embedded the arts, creativity and culture to deliver transformational outcomes for pupils, staff and/or community.

Winner: The Hollins High School
The Inspirational Local Partnership Award

To recognise the best in cross-sector partnership working. This award will celebrate a group of organisations that has worked collectively to improve access to arts, culture and creativity for the children and young people in their local area.

Winner: darts (Doncaster Community Arts), Cast Theatre and City of Doncaster Council's Early Years Inclusion Team
Highly Commended: Ellesmere Port Cultural Learning Exchange
The One to Watch Award

Presented this year in memory of Elli Chapman. Focusing on the next generation of leaders in cultural education. This award will recognise someone taking their first steps into a career that champions high-quality arts and culture for children and young people.

Winner: Toni-Louise Carter
The Hearts and Minds Award

A project that has used targeted creative or cultural activity to positively impact children and young people's health and wellbeing.

Winner: Blackpool Grand Theatre
The Young Arts Activism Award

It’s not just about the adults! This award will celebrate a group of young people or an individual who have led creative action to drive a difference in the world around them.

Winner: Stand Out Young Producers (via Blaze Arts)
The Grassroots Awards: Fearless Freelancer

Recognising an individual committed to working creatively with children and young people despite the socio-economic challenges inherent in a freelance career.

Winner: Polly Ives
The Grassroots Awards: Small But Mighty

A small grassroots organisation, whose work within the community it serves has contributed to the cultural and creative life of children and families.

Winner: OmniMusic
Highly Commended: Unity Arts
The Changemaker Award

Presented this year in memory of Pauline Tambling. An individual whose work, over many years, has made a significant positive change to the field of arts and culture by, with and for children and young people.

Awarded to: Paul Collard
The recipient of the Changemaker Award was chosen by the CEO and Chair of Curious Minds.

Congratulations to every one of the nominees, finalists and winners!

The Awards Ceremony & Wonderland

A colourful, exciting and joyful afternoon celebrating all things cultural education!.

Our high profile celebration event for the Northern Cultural Education Awards 2024 took place on the afternoon of Friday 24th May at The Edge Arena in Wigan. It brought together over 315 teachers, cultural practitioners, freelancers, artists, policy-makers and creative young people from across the North.

The afternoon included an Awards Ceremony, at which we announced the Award Winners and applauded all of those individuals going above and beyond in their work to bring the benefits of great arts and culture to the region’s children and young people.

There was also Wonderland - an immersive creative space showcasing some of the region’s rich and diverse cultural offer for young people and creative educators.

Browse our selection of photos below. Can you spot yourself?!

Memories of the Ceremony...

Photography by Rachel Bywater.

Making connections in Wonderland...

Photography by Rachel Bywater.