He’s brought some of the best and most interesting music to York.

But last night it was Joe Coates’ turn to take centre stage as he was crowned the city’s Cultural Champion.

The music promoter and man behind Please Please You received the final award of a night which celebrated the incredible creativity and diversity of York’s arts scene.


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York Culture Awards 2017 Opening Film

All the winners from 2017

Hosted by BBC Radio York Breakfast presenter Kay Crewdson and organised by Make It York, the York Culture Awards took place at the Minster on Thursday (November 23).

It opened with a new film showcasing the cultural vibrancy of the city produced by local film maker Ben Porter of Hewitt & Walker.

Performances on the night included 20 young people with disabilities from Accessible Arts and Media’s IMPs project, a bespoke dance performance from York Youth Dance, songs by Converge’s Communitas Choir and a performance by the Ebor Singers.

So who won?

The 2017 winners

Best Community Project or Event – York River Art Market

Photograph: YorkMix

The York River Art Market took place over eight Saturdays during Summer 2017. Artists travelled from all over Yorkshire to exhibit their works along the railings on Dame Judi Dench Walk and 20-30 artists were on display each Saturday. Visitors came from far and wide to buy the work of these local artists.
Excellence in Cultural Education – Park Grove Primary Academy
Park Grove Primary Academy uses a variety of programmes to promote their school vision of ‘[e]mpowering children through creative learning’ and their core value of creativity. The Creative Arts are integrated within teaching and learning, including through Theatre Royal projects, Forest School, Minster Choral Projects as well as STEM week.
Excellence in Cultural Equality & Diversity – Show Me That I Matter

Photograph: Aspire To More

Show Me That I Matter is an Aspire to More project and is York’s Children in Care Council. The group consists of young people aged between 13 and 19 who represent and advocate on behalf of all children and young people in care. The panel works with elected members and senior managers to challenge, praise, change and improve services. They also have a role in challenging the stigma and stereotype of children in care and care leavers, challenging discrimination and promoting equality for children in care and care leavers.
Best Cultural Event or Festival – York Festival of Ideas

Photograph: York Festival of Ideas

York Festival of Ideas (5-17 June 2017) exemplified the diverse culture of York by delivering 186 mostly free events in a variety of accessible formats including talks, exhibitions, plays, concerts, tours and workshops. It was held across 53 venues to just over 32,000 people. Festival podcasts generated 13,000 downloads and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinkers’ launch night reached 140,000 listeners over five nights.
Best Cultural Partnership – York St John University & Illuminating York

David Ogle’s installation at York St John University

York St John University worked with the planning team behind illuminating York to host a show-stopping light installation by artist David Ogle for the October 2016 event. While York St John has been a long-standing sponsor of illuminating York, this was the first time the partnership was developed to include the city’s oldest academic institution as a prominent venue. Visitors were welcomed to the university’s historic quad with music, art and theatre performed by students in addition to the inspiring ‘Lumen’ display.
Excellence in Media Arts – VikingVR by DC Labs & York Museums Trust
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Inside the Viking exhibition
VikingVR is the first output of a rapidly developing collaboration between Digital Creativity Labs (DC Labs) at the University of York and York Museums Trust. The team (consisting of researchers and practitioners from both institutions) worked together to produce a bespoke VR interactive for the British Museum/York Museums Trust exhibition ‘Viking: Rediscover the Legend’. This exhibition is one of the first globally to integrate VR as a core part of the exhibition experience. Initial visitor feedback has demonstrated the popularity of the technology and has shown that VR can have a transformative influence on people’s perceptions of the past.
Best Performing Artist – Katie Greenbrown
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'Tinged With Gladness' by Katie Greenbrown
Katie Greenbrown is a freelance writer who has performed poetry at SayOwt, Unplugged, NY Ball, Words & Whippets, Finding the Words, Pechakucha, PlayOwt and Nerd Punk (at the Edinburgh Fringe). Katie’s performances are inspired by a desire to take poetry off the page and deliver it directly to an audience, showing how energising, accessible and enjoyable poetry can be when performed live with originality, authenticity and care.
Best Production – The Great Gatsby

The cast of The Great Gatsby at the Fleeting Arms. Photograph: Chris Mackins / Chris Mackins Photography

Alex Wright (writer and director) worked with 41 Monkgate to create The Great Gatsby, a completely unique and immersive production (running from 1 December 2016 to 7 January 2017). The concept was that you were invited to Jay Gatsby’s house, audience arrived dressed in 1920s gear and followed characters around a whole building decked out as Gatsby’s rooms, discovering intimate moments of the storyline. Audiences were then brought back to the central atrium of the building to watch scenes, learn to Charleston and join in with the party.
Best Visual Artist – Emily Sutton

Catching A Mouse by Emily Sutton

Emily works as an illustrator and has had sell-out exhibitions across the UK, including a solo show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. In the last 12 months she has designed the new Christmas range for Betty’s, worked with a Japanese design company to produce new tableware and homeware, designed endless greetings cards, calendars, notecards, as well as having no less than four Children’s illustrated books published.
Excellence in Writing – Anneliese Emmans Dean

Anneliese Emmans Dean and her book

Flying High! Discover the poetry in British birds (Brambleby Books, June 2017) is Anneliese Emmans Deans’ second book. It’s the companion volume to her award-winning Buzzing! Discover the poetry in garden minibeasts, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young Peoples Book Prize and won the NS Teachers Book Award for Poetry. Both books straddle the poetry/science divide, being colourful cocktails of edu-taining rhyming poems, solid science and fabulous photos. Anneliese has appeared at literature and science festivals nationwide, including Hay, and on BBC Radios 2, 4 and York.
Rising Star – Herve Ishimwe Ntwali

Herve Ishimwe Ntwali with his award. Photograph: New Visuality on Twitter

Herve Ishimwe Ntwali is an expert illustrator and animator and has led as a young artist in a number of New Visuality projects, including Art Camp; Creative Camp; artist at ADAM (Acomb Dance Art Music) festival, and Blueberry Academy sessions. His work has been included at According to McGee exhibitions, exhibitions on Bishopthorpe Road, Fossgate Social displays, Acomb’s ADAM Festival, and illuminating York, via projections of his animations through transparent screens in Tower Street windows. A refugee from Rwanda, Herve has played a crucial part in imparting skills to a wide range of learners and has helped lead to over 50 Arts Awards for young people.
Cultural Champion – Joe Coates

The KVB, one of hundreds of bands brought to York by Joe Coates

Through his company Please Please You Promotions, the music promoter has brought a wide variety of music to York. Joe works tirelessly to put York on the map as a desirable destination for musicians to perform as well as providing York audiences with the opportunity to see an eclectic range of high calibre acts. In 2017 alone he promoted over 50 truly unique concerts.