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Manchester’s Culture Awards

Quarantine was established in 1998 by directors Richard Gregory and Renny O’Shea with designer Simon Banham. We make original theatre, performance and public events with and about the people who are in it. Whatever form it takes, our work begins and ends with the people in the room. Over the last 20 years, we've collaborated with a shifting constellation of artists, performers and people who've never done anything like this before. Our work seeks to create the circumstances for a conversation between strangers...

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M32 2BZ

Manchester’s Culture Awards

Posted: 12 July 2018

Manchester City Council has launched the city’s inaugural Culture Awards, and is asking the people of Manchester to put forward nominations. 

Did you have an incredible cultural experience between April 2017 and April 2018, or do you know someone who goes above and beyond to support culture in Manchester? If so, you can nominate them here: www.manchester.gov.uk/culture_awards

We’re putting forward the creative team for What Is the City but the People?, the opening event for 2017’s Manchester International Festival. The team was led by our Artistic Director Richard Gregory, and involved regular Quarantine collaborators: designer Simon Banham, writer Sonia Hughes and photographer Gavin Parry. They worked with composer Graham Massey and video designer Ian Galloway to bring to life an original idea from Jeremy Deller.

If you were lucky enough to be at the event and loved it as much as we did, then please do nominate them to ensure they get recognised.

Photo of people on catwalk

Picture by Jon Super for MIF.

The event was original, simple and bold. 150 Mancunians walked down a huge, bright yellow catwalk installed over Piccadilly Gardens, accompanied by a live music soundtrack. Large screens presented images and text revealing details about the people and their lives.

They were ‘ordinary’ Manchester people, of different ages and backgrounds, many with ‘extra-ordinary’ stories.

As a free event in the centre of the city, it was witnessed by around 7,000 people, including art lovers who had come specifically to see it, and commuters, visitors and passers-by who happened upon it. It was also watched by a further 125,000 viewers online.

It was a moving demonstration of the city’s determination to stand together and celebrate individuality. It made us feel proud: to be Mancunians and to be part of a city that values ordinary people.

Manchester City Council is accepting nominations for the Manchester Culture Awards until Sunday 22 July 2018.

The top three nominees will be invited to a prestigious dinner in November, where the winners will be announced. 

Nominate now

If you would like to nominate the creative team for What Is the City but the People? for ‘Best event’, here are the details you need: 

The Creative Team for What is the City but the People?: 
Richard Gregory (director) 
Simon Banham (designer) 
Sonia Hughes (writer) 
Gavin Parry (photographer) 
Graham Massey (composer) 
Ian Galloway (video designer) 
Jeremy Deller (initial idea) 

Suite 1B Basil Chambers 
65 High St 
M4 1FS 

Daytime phone: 
0161 839 4392 

Email address: 

Event details: 
What Is the City but the People? took place in Piccadilly Gardens on 29 June 2017. 

It was warmly received, by the crowds it drew, and online and in the press. Here is a selection of comments: 

“The point was the extraordinary stories within so many ‘ordinary’ lives – people you’d pass in the street without a second glance… It was eclectic, romantic, heartbreaking and defiant – a celebration of entirely ordinary Mancunians and one extraordinary city.”
Dadsdayoff.co.uk blog

“This is a beautifully simple idea from Deller… a piece tapping deep into the power of public spaces to generate fleeting human connections between strangers. For many participants, it was more than a parade: it was an act of self-affirmation.”
The Sunday Telegraph

“A platform that normally celebrates superficial appearance is instead used to celebrate the everyday brilliant and resilience of the people of the city. And it’s more beautiful than any fashion show. Beautiful, heartwarming and life-affirming.”

“Many had described it as a ‘Lowry painting brought to life’ in the run up to the event. But there were no matchstick men here. This was the flesh, bones, heart and soul of Manchester in all its pulsating, exciting glory.”
Manchester Evening News