Cumbria Life Culture Awards 2019 – Open for entry

Winners at a previous award ceremony

Artists and arts organisations across the county are being invited to enter the third Cumbria Life Culture Awards.

The prestigious celebration of Cumbria’s vibrant arts scene will take place on Tuesday, February 5 at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick in a special evening of awards presentations and live performance, hosted again by writer, broadcaster and Cumbria Life columnist Stuart Maconie.

There are 16 awards covering visual and performing arts, design, craft, writing, venues, events and organisations, plus special awards to be announced on the night.

Entry form for artists and organisations here

We recommend you write your entry offline before pasting it into form.

To enter more than one category you will need to fill in separate forms per entry.

You will be able to send additional information or materials as well as your entry narrative.

Details of each category can be found below. The closing date is Friday November 30.


Cumbria Life readers can also nominate their standout event, artist, performance, organisation or venue.

Nomination form for Cumbria Life Readers’ Choice Award here

Cumbria Life editor Richard Eccles said: “We are delighted to be repeating the Cumbria Life Culture Awards after taking a year’s break. There is so much to highlight and celebrate since our last awards in 2017.”

The awards are sponsored by University of Cumbria and supported by Arts Council England.

A limited number of tickets will be on sale to the general public in the New Year once the event performers have been confirmed.

The 2019 categories

This award recognises the achievements of an individual in Visual Arts. The nominees might be (but is not limited to being) a painter, sculptor, printmaker or digital artist. This artist will have produced either an individual piece or body of work or have staged an exhibition which left a lasting impression on its audience.

Work must have been completed or displayed for public exhibition after February 2017.

Judges are looking for an artist either at the height of their career or an emerging artist who demonstrates ability and vision.

This award recognises designers/makers working across the diverse range of disciplines, materials and techniques, for example but is not limited to: ceramics, textiles, furniture, print, jewellery, stone, wood or glass.

The work will have been completed or displayed for public exhibition after February 2017.

Judges are looking for a designer/maker who demonstrates outstanding technical ability as well as imagination, innovation and skilful execution.

This award recognises a photographer or filmmaker producing outstanding material and exhibiting technical excellence in any genre - landscape, portrait, abstract, feature, editorial or documentary. Photographs and films may be made with professional equipment and cameras, or simply shot on a mobile phone or tablet.

The work will have been completed, displayed for public exhibition or broadcast after February 2017.

Judges are looking for an exciting, bold and spectacular photographic image or collection of images showing consistency of skill and talent, or a complete short or feature-length film that has been shown at a festival, on television or shared on social media.

This award celebrates the depth and breadth of the written word, reflecting a striking diversity of styles, interests, genres of work currently being produced in Cumbria today. It is open to authors of fiction, non-fiction, poets, playwright and screenwriter – working in any genre.

The work will have been produced, published (or self-published) or performed after February 2017.

Judges are looking for original outstanding work, strong distinctive voices and impressive literary talent.

This award celebrates the rich Cumbrian music scene. The category is open to orchestra, chorus and chamber ensembles and folk, pop and rock bands. Nominees may be professional musicians are groups of friends or like-minded people performing in an amateur or semi-professional manner.

Judging is based on submitted recordings or online links to performances recorded after February 2017.

Judges are looking for a group of musicians who are commitment to developing their particular genre and are able to demonstrate their audience appeal.

This award recognises and celebrates the achievement of instrumental solo musicians and vocalists in any genre.

Judging is based on submitted recordings or online links to performances recorded after February 2017.

Judges are looking for an outstanding performance by a solo instrumentalist or vocalist who has committed themselves to their chosen instrument or vocal musical genre and has proven to be an ambassador for it.

This award recognises the breadth of live performances available to audiences throughout Cumbria. It will be awarded for a single event in any genre - comedy, drama and music by solo or multiple performers.

Performance must be at a Cumbrian venue organised by a Cumbrian organisation and must have been performed after February 2017.

Judges will base their decision on submitted recordings or online links to performances and reviews. They are looking for that unique ‘sell-out’ show that captivated and engaged it’s audience and left them wanting more.

This award recognises the many diverse and dedicated arts venues or space regularly used by arts organisations from the smallest community arts centre, to the biggest gallery, theatres or cinema. Regardless of your size or your resource’s you will be judged on your activities and outcomes since February 2017.

Judges are looking for innovation and exceptional achievement - a venue that has developed an exciting space and programme, serves its local community and has seen (and can evidence) new audiences engaging with their work.

This award recognises the many diverse one-off live events and short festivals that have become the backbone to Cumbria’s cultural calendar and have produced great work for all communities and visitors to the county.

The event must have been organised by a Cumbrian arts organisation or community group but may have included artists and performers from outside the county. It must have taken place after February 2017.

Judges are looking for those established annual events that continue to ‘wow’ audiences and would also like to see the smaller community events that are open for everyone to attend. They will all be considered equally on their creative content. Judges will require photographs, film and audience testimonials.

Our exhibition of the year will have been ‘breath-taking’ ‘impactful’ and ‘a must-see’. It will have been original, curated and produced by the gallery itself (though it may have been in partnership with another organisation). It may have been a single artist or group show of 2 or 3D work.

It will have been on for a period between February 2017 and October 2018.

Judges will require evidence of how the exhibition was received by its audience, art critics and reviews and how resourceful the organisation was in bringing the exhibition to fruition. Regardless of the size of the gallery or it’s resource’s the exhibition will be judged how it was received by its audience.

This award recognises individual artists or organisation that has developed an imaginative and effective partnerships project between themselves or with their community.

Tell us how the project (which must have been undertaken between February 2017 and October 2018) evolved, it’s duration and how you measured the success of the project and partnership. Give us and an overview of your main achievements.

The judges will look at the projects level of success and creativity in achieving both the community and arts organisations (or individual artist’s) objectives and the story behind the partnership.

This award will recognise a single artist, musician, writer or cultural organisation who has developed and executed an original community outreach project to the benefit of arts in the community.

The project or event would have taken place between February 2017 and October 2018.

Judges are looking for activity that engaged a particular group from the community, for example, children, people living with dementia etc, or the wider community that had a specific outcome and a longer lasting legacy to the benefit of the community. Your project could be evidenced with photographs, film or testimonials from those taking part.

This category hopes to spot those young creatives just starting out but who are already paving the way for a successful career. It will recognise their hard work, determination and resourcefulness.

For this particular category nominees need to be 25 or under on 1 November 2018.

Judges will be looking for evidence of how they will have already demonstrated exceptional talent and ambition in their chosen creative field and want to hear about their creative journey over that last couple of years.

This is your opportunity to help us find those unsung heroes of the Cumbrian culture scene. One of those people or teams that gets, and keeps, the show on the road - from set designers, sound engineers, costume designers to production managers, curators and promoters – we wish to recognise their expertise and tireless commitment.

Judges are looking for an individual or team who have worked on a specific project since February 2017. They want to hear those stories of ‘how it was done’ – about creativity often on limited budgets, those ‘behind the curtain’ tales that seldom get told

Every organisation has one – or knows one. They are the artists, performers, writers, patrons and volunteers who act as powerful ambassador and champion of the arts in Cumbria.

The judges want to hear about your cultural champion, their dedication and their unflagging enthusiasm for either their specific passion or the cultural sector in general. We will need some examples of how a specific organisation, event or the sector has benefitted from their support.

For Cumbria Life readers to nominate their standout event, artist’s exhibition, musical or dramatic performance, organisation or venue. Since February 2017.