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


We are incredibly excited to be inviting nominations for The Northern Cultural Education Awards 2024.

This Awards programme aims to 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.

It will culminate in an Awards Ceremony and networking event on Friday 24th May 2024 at The Edge Arena in Wigan.

As three-time organiser of the North West Cultural Education Awards, Curious Minds is this year inviting nominations from across the whole of Northern 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.
A young boy reads a poem into a microphone
2 women on stage. One of them is in a wheelchair and holding up an award they won.

The Award Categories

There are 7 Award Categories for which we are inviting nominations. These are outlined below, with lots of further information provided in our Guidance for Applicants.

The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday 3rd March 2024. No late entries will be accepted.

There is no cost to submit a nomination, you can nominate yourself or others, and you can nominate the same person or project in different categories. Links to the online nomination forms for each category are provided with the category descriptions below.

Projects must have taken place onward from 2020 in order to be eligible for this year's Awards.

If you're planning a nomination (or several) we suggest you read the Guidance for Applicants so you know the questions you'll be asked and how entries will be assessed. There's also a list of FAQs further down this page.

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.
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.
The One to Watch Award
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.
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.
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.

Changemaker Award
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. The recipient of this award will be chosen by the CEO and Chair of Curious Minds but we are keen to hear your suggestions. This is the only category for which people cannot nominate themselves!
The Grassroots Award(s)
This category is all about appreciating the professionalism, skill and commitment that exists with the army of freelance and grassroots creatives on which our sector relies.

Depending on the number of nominations received, we hope to split this award into:
Fearless Freelancer – an individual committed to working creatively with children and young people despite the socio-economic challenges inherent in a freelance career.
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.

The Awards Ceremony & Wonderland

The Awards Ceremony will take place on the afternoon of Friday 24th May at The Edge Arena in Wigan.

It will include plenty of opportunities to reconnect or build your networks, as well as Wonderland – an inspiring cultural marketplace for creative educators.
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High school child in uniform playing the drums with a smile on their face opposite a bearded man playing the guitar.
3 people having an in-depth discussion in a busy room.
A colourful room full of people, giant coloured letters, and hanging paper lanterns.
Awards ceremony with stage and a room full of attendees sat round circular tables

Frequently Asked Questions

1When can I submit nominations?/When is the deadline?
Award nominations will open on Monday 15th January 2024. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday 3rd March 2024. No late entries will be accepted.
2What does it cost to nominate?
There is no cost to make an awards nomination, it is completely free!

However, please be aware that there will be a nominal fee for attendance at the Awards Ceremony, which will take place on the afternoon of Friday 24th May 2024. Individual tickets will cost £15.

The event will be a fantastic opportunity to celebrate, network and enjoy the company of people working in a similar field. We’d encourage everyone to attend.
3Can I nominate myself/my project?
Yes, absolutely! You can nominate for yourself or for somebody else (with their permission). There is only one category for which we ask you not to nominate yourself, which is the Changemaker Award.
4Can I nominate the same person/project in several categories?
Of course! There’s no need to restrict yourself to just one category but it’s important to remember that you must complete a nomination form for each separate category.
5How do a submit a nomination?
Each of the award categories has a separate online nomination form. Links to these forms are provided on this page of our website. We recommend that you read our [Guidance for Applicants] document, which includes the nomination form questions for each category, as well as the assessment criteria by which it will be shortlisted and judged.

We would encourage you to use this information to pre-prepare your nomination. It isn’t possible to save the online form mid-way through completion.
6I have access needs which mean I will struggle to complete an online form. Are there other options?
Yes. We’re very keen to ensure you’re able to submit nominations using an alternative format (such as video or audio) if you need to. Please contact us via events@curiousminds.org.uk to discuss how we can help.
7When will you announce shortlisted finalists?
Shortlisted finalists will be announced on or shortly after 5th April 2024 on our website and social media channels. All submissions will receive an email to confirm if your nomination has been shortlisted or not.

It’s worth being aware that we will ask shortlisted finalists to provide us with some existing photos, videos or audio clips related to their project/nomination. Nothing too onerous, and we will provide further guidance if this applies to you.
8How will the categories be judged?
For each category (with the exception of the Changemaker Award) we will be convening a judging panel of three. Two of these people will be external to and independent of Curious Minds. The panel will read all nominations for the category and will score them with reference to the published assessment criteria.

The Change Maker Award winner will be chosen by the CEO and Chair of Curious Minds.
9Who can I contact if I have questions that aren’t answered on this page or in the guidance document?
Got an outstanding question? That’s fine. If you’ve read through this document fully and also looked at the nomination form but still need clarity, email us at events@curiousminds.org.uk. We are here to help!