Young Creative Awards 2021: The Winners

After another bumper crop of entries, showcasing the creative talents of Nottingham’s young people, the winners of the 2021 Young Creative Awards have been announced.

Nottingham’s annual Young Creative Awards – sponsored by CarShop and Serif – is now in its 12th year. The awards are open to anyone aged 11 to 24 who lives, studies or works in Nottingham. There are 11 different categories: Animation & Digital Media, Creative Writing, Dance, Design & Architecture, Fashion & Textiles, Film, Graphic Design, Music, Photography, Theatre and Visual Art.

This year’s Young Creative Awards were entered by just under 600 young people from all over Nottingham. 31 talented young creatives (aged 12 to 24) have been named as the cream of this year’s crop. Winners receive cash prizes, as well as special showcase and development opportunities.

Past YCA winners include singer-songwriter Rob Green, poet and performer Bridie Squires, dancer Jamal Sterrett Phoenix and make-up artist and Instagram sensation Romanie-Jade Tulloch.

The annual Young Creative Awards always gives a vibrant snapshot of the issues and themes occupying the minds of Nottingham’s young creatives, and this year has been no different. Entrants used their creativity to address important issues including racism, gender stereotypes, mental health, homelessness, female body image and, of course, the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

13 year-old Daisy Bartram, from Nuthall, was a winner in the Photography category, commended by judges for her striking images capturing the loneliness of lockdown.

Daisy Bartram - Photography winner (11-15 age group)

Daisy Bartram - Photography winner (11-15 age group)

15 year-old Phoebe Anderson, from Gedling, wrote and performed a powerful monologue reflecting on the suicide of a friend – a piece of writing that the Theatre category judges, who named Phoebe a winner, described as “raw, bold, and brave.”

In the Visual Arts category, Nottingham College student Bekithemba Ncube (18) won for his emotive series of collages, inspired by Black Lives Matter protests in 2020. The judges agreed Bekithemba’s entry was “dynamic, responsive, and important – a great example of what contemporary art does.”

Bekithemba Ncube - Visual Arts winner (16-18 age group)

Bekithemba Ncube - Visual Arts winner (16-18 age group)

Nottingham Trent University student Tom Hennegan (21) was judged to be a winner in the Film category for his short, thoughtful documentary about Nottingham-born Richard, who has been homeless for over four years.

There was plenty of humour too. 22 year-old Alfie Eyden, from Ruddington, was a winner in the Animation & Digital Media category with his bright and entertaining animation for children which asks the question “What If Humans Had Tails Like A Monkey?”. And 18 year-old Emily Clarkin, who studies at Confetti, won a Creative Writing award for a memorable absurdist script which imagines - with dark humour - a mother and daughter being confronted by a mysterious body part in their kitchen…

The Young Creative Awards is run by registered charity Young Creatives Nottingham. Andrew Tucker – himself a 2019 Creative Writing winner – is now a Trustee of the charity and was one of the judges of this year’s Creative Writing category. Andrew said:

“When I entered, the YCAs had become a focal point in the city’s creative calendar, with a full-hearted mission to bring new talent to light. Getting the recognition - that someone doesn’t think you’re wasting your time - is a crucial piece of scaffolding when you’re trying to keep at a rickety creative hobby, and even turn it into an eventual profession.

“I maintain that it’s a brilliant way for Nottingham’s young people to grow into their talents and to secure contacts that’ll prove valuable. For those who want to launch a creative career, it’s an opportunity that must be snatched.”

Other category judges included professional artists, former YCA winners, representatives from key city arts institutions and a range of industry experts. One such expert is Neil Ladkin, Creative Director at Serif (one of the Young Creative Awards’ headline sponsors), who was part of the Animation & Digital Media panel. Neil commented:

“Serif is delighted to be a sponsor of the Young Creative Awards for the second year running. We’re passionate about supporting the creative community in any way we can, and the YCAs are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the incredible work of local young creatives. We were also honoured to take part in the judging process, which proved both enjoyable and challenging due to the high calibre of entries. We really were blown away by the submissions and look forward to seeing what these talented individuals do next.”

This year’s Young Creative Awards are being celebrated online and through a special one hour programme on Notts TV – presented by actor Cassie Bradley – due to be broadcast in August. Organisers are planning for a public exhibition and celebration event to take place in the autumn.

Carla Pallester, Brand Experience Manager at CarShop Nottingham – one of this year’s headline sponsors – added:

“We’ve all seen just how badly young people have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s why we chose to sponsor this year’s Young Creative Awards. As an employer that takes great pride in hiring young, ambitious and creative people with all levels of experience, we’ve seen first-hand the talent that exists here and wanted to do whatever we could to help them reach their goals.

“From all of the team at CarShop Nottingham, we’d like to say a huge well done to everyone who entered and congratulations to the winners – you all deserve every success that will come your way.”

In fact, CarShop Nottingham is so proud to be aligning itself with such creative, young talent that, earlier this year, it commissioned one of last year’s winners – illustrator, Kate Sharp – to design a special Nottingham-themed car wrap for one of its courtesy which can still be found sitting proudly outside the store entrance today. YCA organisers hope to facilitate more such opportunities for this year’s winners.

YCA 2020 winner Kate Sharp was commissioned by CarShop to create this special Nottingham car wrap

YCA 2020 winner Kate Sharp was commissioned by CarShop to create this special Nottingham car wrap

Alongside headline sponsors CarShop and Serif, the Young Creative Awards are supported by a range of local partners, including: Broadway, Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, Dance4, Maber, Nottingham College, Nottingham CityCare Partnership, Nottingham Music Hub, Nottingham Trent University, Romo, STENCIL, Skeleton, the University of Nottingham and Walkgrove.

Young Creative Awards 2021 WINNERS

Animation & Digital Media

11-15  Jackson Young (age 12) – Rushcliffe School

16-18  Ellie Edwards (age 18) – Bilborough College

19-24 Alfie Eyden (age 22)

Creative Writing

11-15 Aine Mullan (age 12) – The Becket School

16-18 Emily Clarkin (age 18) – Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies

19-24 Sophie Carroll (age 23)


11-15 Sofia Costello (age 15) – Christ The King Catholic Voluntary Academy

16-18 Maisie Gregory (age 18)

19-24 Rachel Burbridge (age 24)

Design & Architecture

16-18 Leanne Platt (age 18) – Nottingham College

19-24 Simon Adams (age 21) – University of Nottingham

Fashion & Textiles

16-18 Weronika Szymczak (age 17) – Nottingham College

19-24 Sophie Smith (age 24) – Nottingham Trent University


11-15 Zeeshan Majid (age 14) – Carlton Academy

16-18 Molly Carter (age 17) – Bilborough College

19-24 Tom Hennegan (age 21) – Nottingham Trent University

Graphic Design

11-15 Ena Williams (age 14) – The Becket School

16-18 Sara Mahmood (age 17) – Arnold Hill Academy

19-24 Phoebe Andrews (age 21) – Nottingham Trent University


11-15  Oscar Marshall (age 15) – Nottingham High School    

16-18  Samantha Atkinson (age 18)

19-24 Jonathan Ewers (age 23)


11-15  Daisy Bartram (age 13) – The Kimberley School

16-18  Rosie Baird (age 18) – Nottingham Trent University

19-24  Fioralmpa Banousi (age 22) – Nottingham Trent University


11-15  Phoebe Anderson (age 15) – Carlton Le Willows Academy

16-18  Tawana Tongoona (age 17) – Nottingham College

19-24  Emma Gray (age 24)

Visual Arts

11-15  Holly Smart (age 15) – Arnold Hill Academy

16-18  Bekithemba Ncube (age 18) – Nottingham College

19-24  Yasmeen Thantrey (age 24)