And the winners are:
- Digital Native Academy Ltd – The Regional Outstanding Business Development Award
- Electric Cinema (vid via Pete Ashton) – The Birmingham Outstanding Business Development Award
- LHM Media – Innovation Award
- Fierce Earth Ltd (vid via Pete Ashton) – Outstanding Market Development Award
(with a Special Commendation Award in the same category presented to D A Recordings Ltd)
- IE Design – The Best Brand Award
- Stanâ€™s Cafe – Creative Industries Award
Fine winners all (with deserving nominees in all categories) so hearty congrats to all involved.
That’s the official business done, so now I’m going to get on my soapbox and talk about what I see as pretty fundamental problems with the Creative City Awards concept. My top 3 nominees are:
- The emphasis on financial performance
- Stagnation. Half the winners had won Creative City Awards before. Do the awards celebrate the cityâ€™s diverse and vibrant creative sector or the usual names?
- Only 45 nominations across 7 categories were received and the Newcomer Award had to be withdrawn. I don’t know which to be most embarrassed about
The initial emphasis on the business side of things is understandable. Until last year the awards were only open to companies that had received support under the Business Support for the Creative Industries programme, so that was fair enough. That’s why the awards are for things like ‘business development’, ‘best brand’ and ‘market development’.
The emphasis is supposed to have shifted though – as Coun Neville Summerfield said (at 10 mins 50s), the awards are intended to serve as:
a fitting platform to publicly recognise the work that is being done by creative companies in Birmingham and the wider region
Which seems an almighty stretch given the restrictions in place. As Stef said “wouldnâ€™t a better name for the event be the Creative Business Awards?“. That seems realistic at least.
The thing that really racked me off on the night (I was a guest of the Birmingham Post) was Neville Summerfield’s statement (at 6mins) that:
the Creative City Awards received over 40 submission entries, which is a great testament to the strength and depth of creative business in the city
Over 40? Across 7 categories? Is that all the city’s good for? As I discovered last week, the withdrawl of the Newcomer Award was:
due to the limited number of nominations and the fact that the nominated businesses had not been trading long enough to provide evidence of performance
If we’re relying on what the Creative City Awards tell us then that’s a shocking indictment of the city’s creative scene. Happily, we’re not and the lesson from this is that you should always apply for awards – there might be hardly any competition.
Still, despite all that, I do believe awards ceremonies of this type serve a useful purpose (and I only criticise because I care). They act as a focal point for the sector, bring people – both within the sector and outside it – together, provide a neat package that can be promoted outside the region and are a showcase for the winners and nominees.
I’ll end by quoting the wise words of James Yarker of Stan’s Cafe who has written about their latest success on their blog:
Itâ€™s easy to be cynical about awards (I have been many times myself) but if you take them in the correct spirit they can do a useful job for you. I hope that more arts companies may take our place next year. Although the awards are focused in a business direction it feels important that the Arts continue to be represented otherwise the Cityâ€™s Creativity is in danger of being assumed to consist merely of Digital Solutions to clients various marketing/distribution/communication problems being found almost exclusively by young-ish white men sat in front of spanking new white macintosh computers.
Letâ€™s put ourselves about a bit â€“ the city would be too sterile without us