Undoubtedly aided by the freshly-brewed pot of coffee in the Viva Office this morning, I am feeling all aglow after last night’s Mainframe Awards!

It was a real moment: to be in a room with some of the most ambitious of Derby’s creative businesses, organisations and social enterprises; being surrounded by the go-getters, the disruptors, the people who through such a difficult period for our sector, not only survived but thrived, and found purpose in the pandemic. I felt quite suave with a canape in hand, but unbeknownst to me a large bag of Nik Naks had emptied themselves in my handbag, giving an faint aroma of 'Nice n Spicy' as I mingled with esteemed colleagues. Don't say I don't bring class to an event...

Highlights for me included hearing about the work of Nathan Addai who winner of the Emerging Digital/Creative Star (Under 25) category for his film and podcast Mental Roots which addresses black British men’s mental health. Also, our friends over at Digit Music winning the Digital Disruptor award, for their commitment to making music accessible. Having worked with them recently on a project with Able Orchestra, I had witnessed first-hand how their Cmpsr technology breaks down barriers, widens opportunity and raises the bar of what’s possible for disabled musicians and creatives.

The cherry on the cake of an already wonderful evening was our co-produced (with Ava Hunt Theatre, Orchestras Live and Derbyshire Virtual School) multimedia project Destinies winning the Creativity for Good category, judged by Kerry Andrews from the Level Centre. Before announcing the winner, Kerry reflected on a quote from one of the foster parents of the young people involved in the project, who beautifully summarised the transformative nature of the arts and how this project had been pivotal to their young person’s self esteem.


(Left: Kerry Andrews presenti
ng the Destinies team with the award on stage. Right: the Mainframe Award itself!)

The focus for Destinies has always been with the young people at the heart of the project, and any celebration of the work has rightfully been to credit their courage in sharing their stories and creativity. What was particularly special about last night’s award was an additional acknowledgment of the people around the project who made it possible. The unsung heroes of the project who will always be the first to shine the light onto others, and who create the safe platforms from which these young people can come out of their shells and explore their creativity. 

As I finish my cup of coffee, I’m taking a little moment to appreciate the individuals who made the project possible. The funding, the scheduling, the music, the filming, the editing, the rehearsals, the lunches, the travel, the 1-1 mentorship and care, the communication with parents and carers, the juggling of Covid-restrictions; it was truly a patchwork project of people going above and beyond.

Congratulations to all involved with this beautiful project!


(Left: Sinfonia Viva Creative Projects Producer Hattie Coupe. Right: A very excited Destinies team with the award!)