By SEHERISH MAHMOOD

The shortlist has been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2019.

The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of local authorities who are championing the arts, often within a climate of severe financial challenges.

The council’s Kath Davies, Creative Economy Manager, and Kirstie Wilson, Development Librarian, have both been nominated for the category of Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.  This means that two out of the four shortlisted officers are from Kirklees.

They were each nominated by their colleagues for the passion and dedication to introduce the arts in local communities using new and innovative ways, including introducing new partnerships and collaborative working.

Kath Davies, Creative Economy Manager

One such collaboration was formed by Kath involving the markets service, traders, and the University of Huddersfield to develop ‘Temporary Contemporary’ – offering new gallery spaces at the Huddersfield indoor market to Art and Design students. The scheme offered students the opportunity to reach new audiences, whilst also attracting more customers to the market. This initiative recently won the Innovation Award at the National Markets Awards.

Kirstie co-created ‘Being All I Can Be’, workshops with performance poets to engage secondary school age people to use the library’s ‘Shelf Help’ collection; using drama, creative writing and rap to foster acceptance and empathy. This supports the council’s Early Intervention and Prevention work.

Good numbers of nominations were received for each of the four award categories: Best Local Authority Arts Initiative, Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion, Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor, and Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.

The shortlist was judged by representatives from some of this year’s partners in the awards: Culture Counts, Local Government Association, National Campaign for the Arts, UK Theatre and Voluntary Arts Wales.

Cllr Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Corporate services said:

“We are very proud to have not one, but two members of staff shortlisted. It’s fantastic both Kath and Kirstie have been recognised by others for bringing the arts to life in our communities in new and exciting ways. Showcasing work like this inspires others to do the same. Kirklees Council recognises the importance of a strong cultural offer for its people and by working with partners as Kath and Kirstie have, we will continue to develop a strong vibrant diverse cultural offer for our residents.

I’d like to thank them both for their hard work and dedication and wish them luck.”

The winners of the Hearts For The Arts Awards 2019 will be announced on Thursday 14 February and will be selected by a panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including:

  • Samira Ahmed: journalist, writer and broadcaster
  • Les Dennis: actor, comedian, television presenter and NCA Champion
  • Jude Kelly: producer, director, founder of Women of the World Festivals and The WOW Foundation, ex-Artistic Director of The Southbank Centre
  • Kwame Kwei-Armah: playwright, director, Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre
  • Lorna Lee: Head of Culture & Heritage Services, London Borough of Waltham Forest, and Winner of the 2018 Hearts for the Arts Awards for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer
  • Samuel West: actor, director and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

The National Campaign for the Arts present the Hearts For The Arts Awards each year.

The awards are delivered by UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts, the Local Government Association (LGA), Theatre NI, Voluntary Arts Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action and What Next?.

For more information on the shortlisted nominees visit forthearts.org.uk/campaigns/hearts-for-the-arts/