Derby graduates and academic take home Mainframe Awards for digital success

12 April 2022

Two graduates and a lecturer from the University of Derby have each won accolades for their digital creativity at the Mainframe Awards 2022.

Mainframe, based at QUAD, is an initiative that aims to bring together a community of digital and creative businesses across Derby and Derbyshire, enabling real business growth and jobs. The Mainframe Awards were launched to highlight and celebrate the talented digital and creative businesses that call Derby and Derbyshire home.

BA (Hons) Animation and MA Visual Communication graduate Nathan Addai, was named Emerging Digital/Creative Star (under 25) for his Mental Roots Podcast addressing black British men's mental health. The award recognises the best and brightest young people who have made an impact on the digital/creative landscape in the city and county.

Rachel Hayward, who graduated in 1998 with a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification, and again in 2018 with a PGCE in Higher Education, won the Best Local Network award, alongside Lee Marples, for Derby Swap Shop Ltd, which helps connect and build relationships via a free services and goods swapping website.

Senior Lecturer and MA Applied Theatre and Education Programme Leader Ava Hunt won the Creativity for Good category for the Destinies theatre and music production. The project, a partnership between Ava Hunt Theatre, Sinfonia Viva, Orchestras Live and co-created with young people and Derbyshire County Council Virtual School, celebrates the stories and creativity of young refugees and asylum seekers living in Derbyshire.

Nathan receiving his award from Philip Basi, lecturer at the University of Derby

Speaking about his award, Nathan said:

“I am so pleased to have won this award and hope that the Mental Roots animations and podcast will inspire other young content creators, especially minority ethnic creatives, to see that age does not have to be a barrier and that you can boldly tell your authentic story within your work, tackling difficult topics. We, as young creators, can be the change we want to see.”

Ava added:

"Winning this award is so important. The project was originally meant to be a short theatre piece but due to Covid restrictions we had to work online, making a film (with a documentary) that ended up taking two years to complete. The journey that the young people went on was enormous. The artists, young people with care experience and unaccompanied asylum seekers had never worked together before. In the end we all felt part of a family and had created a film with music and animation that we feel so proud of. 

“For those young people to stand on stage and receive the award with me was a huge acknowledgement of their hard work, learning and creativity. I am over the moon with pride."

Ava receiving her Mainframe award

Charlene Sharp, Mainframe Project and Events Manager, said:

“The fifth Mainframe Awards, held at QUAD, are a celebration of the creative/digital businesses and individuals within Derby and Derbyshire. Like most, the winners have had to navigate their way through the last two years being innovative and, at times, ahead of the curve in their delivery of work, so it’s great that the Mainframe Awards can put a spotlight on those who are leading the way in the creative and digital sector and we are proud to see the journey many have gone on to from being a finalist to winning an award.”

This year’s Mainframe awards were held virtually and live-streamed via YouTube.

Find out more about the Mainframe awards

Find out more about BA (Hons) Animation and MA Applied Theatre and Education courses.

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