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Best of Manchester Awards: Winners announced

Innovation in art, music, and fashion celebrated at Urbis

Published on August 7th 2008.

Best of Manchester Awards: Winners announced

Awards season starts early in Manchester's creative community. While most industries wait until autumn before they hand out annual accolades, the Best of Manchester Awards begins the back-patting mid summer. Celebrating unexpected ideas and innovators who lead rather than follow, it's perhaps no surprise that the organisers decided to get in there ahead of the rest.

She was shortlisted for the enigmatically-titled ‘||: Repetition :||, Fugue No.1 in QWERTY for 8 Typewriters’, a music and text score that saw four pianists and four percussionists ‘playing’ on typewriters.

The winners of the second of these annual awards were announced in a ceremony at Urbis last night. Richard Cheetham, creator of High Voltage record label, club night and fanzine took the Music award. Simon Buckley who runs vintage boutique Rags to Bitches won the Fashion title, and conceptual artist Naomi Kashiwagi was given the Art award. Selected from over 250 entries, they each get £2,000 and a career-boosting personal development package.

Representatives from all areas of the creative arena judged the categories, with Peter Saville acting as chair. The music award was chosen by, among others, deputy editor of Observer Music Monthly, Luke Bainbridge, DJ and producer Justin Crawford, and head of A&R at Universal Music Publishing, Caroline Elleray. Richard Cheetham's entrepreneurial spirit and support of new music in Manchester marked him out as the winner. He began High Voltage in his student days and has gone on to publish music by bands including The KBC, The Answering Machine and Nine Black Alps.

Simon Buckley, who won the Fashion award, was selected by a panel including fashion entrepreneur David Mallon – one of the judges presenting last night. Simon's Rag to Bitches boutique on Tib Street stands out from your average second-hand store, in part thanks to its fashion label, dressmaking service, and clothes-making courses. The Daily Telegraph named it one of Britain’s best boutiques and Celine Dion is among their celebrity fans. Rags to Bitches has won the hearts of retro fashionistas across Manchester and beyond; its potential for expansion won the judges' approval.

In the Art category, Naomi Kashiwagi's originality caught the attention of a panel that included the director of Castlefield Gallery, Kwong Lee, and artist Nick Crowe. Naomi's work transforms obsolete technological objects such as manual typewriters and gramophones. She was shortlisted for the enigmatically-titled ‘||: Repetition :||, Fugue No.1 in QWERTY for 8 Typewriters’, a music and text score that saw four pianists and four percussionists ‘playing’ on typewriters. Her past work includes turning gramophones into record turntables and employing a piano as a drawing instrument.

The work of the three winners is being shown as part of the Best of Manchester exhibition at Urbis, which runs from today until 28 September 2008.

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Amy WithingtonAugust 7th 2008.

The bar was a joke - I missed the whole awards waiting in the queue for a cocktails- didn't hear any announcement to say it was starting.Why can't they put a bar inside the venue for the birds bands nights they have started doing?

John McrAugust 7th 2008.

I have to agree with Simon on some points, it was a complete farce of an event but you cant totally blame the building itself but more the organisers.Ive been to some great launches at Urbis, Saville, Supercity, Punk and loads more but last night was a joke, the bar was badly run, there were far too many people inside the venue and by 7.40 the awards were over and it was time to either endure more heat or go outside and get some drinks!I didnt really see any work or examples in Urbis of what makes Manchester great so i couldnt really see what the point of the awards were at all?

Simon TurnerAugust 7th 2008.

The judges picked well, and the ceremony at Urbis was well attended by the great and the good but once again Urbis proved what a badly run venue it is. Makes me want to puke. How much does the city council give them every year? Yet every time I go to an event there, it's amateurish beyond belief. One event last year people were walking over to Zinc and buying bottles of wine to take into Urbis because the bar was so badly run. Last night the same; 25 minutes to get a drink. When it's a paying bar, they're missing out on some much-needed revenue. When it's a VIP style bar they're losing the goodwill of the people there. And the sound is always rubbish; echoey PA they're no doubt paying a fortune for. Badly need a revolution at that place.

UrbisAugust 7th 2008.

Yup. Well i guess we do have to concede that our ranters have a point. The queues at the bar were out of control and the fact that our beer pumps broke mid way through didn’t help. But agreed, we do need to organise our distribution of free drink better. So... we apologise to our guests who didn’t enjoy the evening as a result, and we’ll give this an overhaul for next time. Just to correct John Mcr’s comment though though...the speeches didn’t finish until 8.30 pm, and with two live performances from Kid British and Keith still to follow, as well as the exhibition of winners and shortlisted work to see, the awards were far from done and dusted by 7.40 pm. But when all’s said and done, the awards were a huge success, attracting some great talent which you can see in its full glory on our fourth floor. We hope the problems with the (free) bar won’t detract from the fact Urbis does and will continue to support young creative businesses right across greater mancheseter.

LiamAugust 7th 2008.

The exhibition on the fourth floor looks amazing!

Craig HAugust 7th 2008.

But let's have a bit of balance here. The event could have been better organised and that bar is an issue but still Urbis I feel is clawing a position for itself in the city as a place where the unexpected is attempted.

Georgina, HulmeAugust 7th 2008.

Well i thought the queue at the bar was worth the wait...Kid British rocked...!

PiotrAugust 7th 2008.

I love Simon's idea. Next time I get a bad cup of tea in the Art Gallery I shall stomp up to the manager in residence and demand the return of the six million a year we taxpayers put into it.

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