Smiling people enjoying the Windrush Generation Festival, a winner of Hearts for the Arts 2020

Hearts for the Arts 2020 winners announced

Published : 17/02/20 | Categories: News |

The winners have been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts’ (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2020.

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

List of winners:

  • Best Arts Initiative:Plymouth Music Zone (Plymouth City Council)
  • Best Arts Project – Community Cohesion:Windrush Generations Festival (Hackney Council)
  • Best Arts Project – Arts, Health and Wellbeing:Outside Edge (Hammersmith & Fulham / Westminster / Kensington & Chelsea)
  • Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker:Pauline Smeaton (Fife Cultural Trust)
  • Best Arts Champion – Councillor:Luthfur Rahman (Manchester City Council)

Nominations were received from across the UK for this year’s Awards, and after representatives from this year’s Hearts for the Arts partners created the shortlist, winners were selected by a panel of top arts and sciences experts and practitioners.

Judging panel: 

  • Susie Dent: lexicographer, etymologist, host of Countdown’s ‘Dictionary Corner’
  • Gary Kemp: actor, musician, songwriter, founder member of Spandau Ballet
  • Julie Hesmondhalgh: actor, activist
  • Alom Shaha: Physics teacher, dad, author ofMr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder
  • Errollyn Wallen CBE, composer
  • Kirstie Wilson: Kirklees Council, winner 2019 Hearts for the Arts Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer
  • Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts

Samuel West, actor and Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts, said: 

‘Congratulations to the 2020 NCA Hearts for the Arts winners. They come from all over the UK, and they show what good can be done by councils and trusts determined to put arts and culture at the centre of their citizen’s lives. The work these organisations and individuals are doing brings us together to heal, celebrate and delight our communities.

Picking winners from an exceptionally strong field was particularly hard this year, but it was a happy task. One of the judges, Dictionary Corner’s Susie Dent, said judging the nominees was “a daily oasis, reminding me of the good things – and people – in life.”

At a time when central government cuts put incredible pressure on Local Authority budgets, we are more than ever delighted to celebrate those councils who use the arts to bring lifesaving joy, stimulation and mental and physical health to their constituents. We love them, and we want them to keep going!’

The National Campaign for the Arts presents the Hearts For The Arts Awards each year. The awards are delivered by UK Theatre, in partnership with Culture Counts; the Local Government AssociationThriveTheatre NIVoluntary Arts WalesWales Council for Voluntary Action.

For more information on the shortlisted nominees visit

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