The British Inspiration Awards 2013 at the Intercontinental
Since 2010, the British Inspiration Awards have strived to recognise all kinds of British talent within the creative industries. Started by former Nintendo General Manager David Yanton, the awards have been lauded as indicative of something very important for modern Britain and a chance for “unsung heroes” to not go unnoticed. This year’s ceremony, presented by Carol Vorderman, was held at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane last night.
“It is about highlighting some of the really cool stuff that we do across all fields in Blighty,” said Will Butler-Adams from Brompton Bicycles – last year’s winner in the Innovation, Enterprise & Industry category. “If you ask the average punter what we do…they’ll say, ‘Nothing, it’s all long gone’ – they haven’t got a clue! There’s some really cool stuff going on.” This was the message that really came across last night: Britain does indeed remain at the global forefront in all creative industries, even if our stiff upper lips stop us from shouting about it.
Although the nominees included heavyweights Stella McCartney, Sam Mendes, Sir David Attenborough and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the night belonged to the unfamiliar faces. The Film award went to Ealing Studios, a British institution for over 80 years and still a vital part of our thriving film industry, while the Television category went to Channel 4 for its landmark coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics. “83% of the British population felt that we’d transformed attitudes towards disability,” said Channel 4 Chief Executive, David Abraham. “It’s hugely humbling and brilliantly important to us.”
The Tate won in the Arts category, while Abbey Road Studios scooped the prize for Music. Tate Director Chris Dercon explained: “It’s not a collection which belongs to the state, it’s a collection which belongs to the nation… and that’s inspiration. When you feel part of something, when you feel something is talking about you and helping you to perceive yourself better, there’s an exchange between art and life. That’s what I call inspiration.”
The Fashion and Design categories went to Philip Treacy OBE and Joseph Joseph respectively. Twin brothers Richard and Antony Joseph founded their company ten years ago in 2003. Internationally renowned and specialising in technically innovative design, Joseph Joseph is now one of the fastest growing companies in the global homeware market, although they were still bemused to win in a category alongside the likes of Jonathan Ive and Lord Rogers.
The evening’s second half focused on some even more astounding British success stories. ARM Holdings deservedly won the Industry & Enterprise category, being central to the mobile revolution. Their CPUs are used in around 90% of all handheld devices and they have shipped some 40 billion to date. COO Graham Budd dedicated the award to “all the creative engineers, designers and creative business people in our company”. Adrian Newey got the Science & Technology award for his groundbreaking work in Formula 1 engineering, while Ajaz Ahmed founder of AKQA got Digital Media for his company AKQA.
Two Special Recognition awards capped off the evening: Saatchi & Saatchi’s “third brother” Sir Martin Sorrell accepted his via video link and the second was given to Sir Peter Blake – best known for his 1967 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band artwork and as the undisputed Godfather of British pop art.
The Young Achievers award was the evening’s highlight, with the judges deciding to honour both nominees. “There is a path beyond the X Factor,” explained David Yarnton. “This is to recognise young people who have made things happen that actually have a purpose.” 24 year-old SuperJam founder Fraser Doherty and 17 year-old Summly creator Nick D’Aloisio brilliantly represented Britain’s innovative youth and the future of our essential creative industries.
D’Aloisio offered his advice to young people trying to make it in the industry: “It doesn’t matter if you have a job or if you’re at school, or if you’re at university, you should always be doing things on the side because you really learn through trial and error. I did five or six apps before I kind of figured out how to get Summly to where it is, so the number one word of advice would just be try and do things. It doesn’t matter if it fails because you’ll get enough experience, in good success or bad success, to do something else.”
Photos: Bartek Odias
Film: Ealing Studios (represented by Studio Chief Barnaby Thompson)
Television: Channel 4 (represented by Chief Executive of C4 David Abraham)
Arts: Tate (represented by Tate Director Chris Dercon)
Music: Abbey Road Studios (represented by the studio’s General Manager Jonathan Smith)
Fashion: Philip Treacy OBE
Design: Joseph Joseph
Industry & Enterprise: ARM Holdings (represented by Chief Operating Officer Graham Budd)
Science & Technology: Adrian Newey OBE
Media: Adam Crozier (CEO of ITV)
Special Recognition Award I: Martin Sorrell (CEO of WPP Plc)
Digital Media: Ajaz Ahmed (founder, AKQA)
Young Achiever: Fraser Doherty (founder, Superjam) and Nick D’Aloisio (creator, Summly)
Special Recognition Award II: Sir Peter Blake
For further information about the British Inspiration Awards visit here.