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Calling all innovators

Creative and talented? Get your work recognised at the Best of Manchester awards

Published on June 19th 2008.

Calling all innovators

Manchester has always been a hub of creativity. But it's only in recent years that it's started to market itself as a 'creative hub'. We now have our own Creative Director, a Creative Industries Development Service, and since 2007, the Best of Manchester awards which celebrate the achievements of creative professionals. With so much formal infrastructure and support from above, you might wonder whether the city is in danger of losing the spark that made it so exciting in the first place. But if Best of Manchester is anything to go by, your fears are unfounded.

The organisers are looking for creative professionals who aren't easily pigeon-holed and prefer to blur boundaries rather than sit comfortably inside them.

Overseen by Manchester's official god of creativity, Peter Saville, this competition is firmly rooted in the free-thinking, rule-breaking ethos that characterises the city's artistic output.

So rather than a long list of rigidly-defined, constrictive awards, there are just three, refreshingly simple categories: Art, Music and Fashion.

It means that people who might otherwise be excluded from awards because they're not seen as one of the haloed 'creatives' can showcase their talents. Promoters, engineers and DJs are encouraged to enter the Music category, along with sound artists and bands. Likewise, Fashion is open to stylists and photographers as well as designers. And if you're pondering the question 'What is Art?' the answer is 'Just about anything'. Graphic design, photography, illustration, painting, sculpture, mixed media, and street art are all welcome here.

In a way, it seems daft to try to define the categories like this. The judges are looking for creative professionals who aren't easily pigeon-holed and prefer to blur boundaries rather than sit comfortably inside them. Last year's winners included Art Deco-inspired commercial design and a musical based on the life of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. The watchword is 'innovation' so if that's what you do, make sure you put yourself forward.

There are plenty of reasons why you should make the effort. Winners will have their work exhibited at Urbis and receive the endorsement of the judges (an impressive crew of opinion-formers and industry luminaries). They'll also get a cash prize and a professional development package. In short, if you're chosen, it will be amazing for your career.

But you need to act fast. The deadline for entries is 30 June and that's one rule you're not encouraged to break. To find out more about submitting work to Best of Manchester, click here. -

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