THE 2018 Sunday Herald Culture Awards in association with Edinburgh Napier University will welcome Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross onto the judging panel this year and introduce a brand new comedy category. Nominations for the awards – which celebrates Scotland’s musicians, artists, comedians, visual artists and writers – are now open. This year the awards include the new category – Biggest Contribution to Scottish Comedy.

Meanwhile, Deacon Blue lead singer Ricky Ross will take his place on the panel of judges.

Sponsors in this years’ awards include Edinburgh Napier University, Blue Parrot Company, Cameron Presentations and EventScotland – part of VisitScotland’s events directorate – which has sponsored the Cultural Event of the Year award. The awards have 17 categories and Sunday Herald Editor Neil Mackay will chair the judging panel. Other panellists include writer Alan Bissett, Professor Janice Kirkpatrick, broadcasters Stuart Cosgrove and Ruth Wishart, Rhona Corscadden of EventScotland, and Pauline Miller Judd, Dean at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Arts and Creative Industries. The university has sponsored the One to Watch and Lifetime Achievement awards.

Miller said: “This is a great opportunity to recognise and nominate individuals who are either at the start of their career or have a long track record of exceptional work.”

Last year’s winners included Ewan McGregor who scooped the Best Actor (Screen) Film prize for Trainspotting 2, while Morven Christie took the Best Actor (Screen) TV screen award for The Replacement, and Grant O’Rourke was crowned the Best Actor (Theatre) for his performance as Jocky Wilson in Jocky Wilson Says.

Sunday Herald Editor Neil Mackay said: “I’m delighted to see the Culture Awards now in their third year and thriving. The Sunday Herald has always championed Scottish culture and this is a fantastic way to celebrate just how much this great nation of ours punches above its weight when it comes to the arts.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “The last 12 months has seen a remarkable array of cultural events and festivals take place across the country and the Cultural Event of the Year award is a wonderful chance to recognise their contribution to Scotland’s thriving cultural scene. I strongly encourage any event or festival that has been part of this vibrant sector to enter now.”

The entry deadline has been extended to Thursday May 17, and the awards ceremony will take place on Thursday July 12 at SWG3 in Glasgow.

Entries are open and free to enter via the event website at http://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/sunday-herald-culture-awards.

THE CATEGORIES

Biggest Contribution to Scottish Comedy (New category for 2018)

Have you helped shape Scottish Comedy? The judges are looking for an individual or group who has made a significant contribution to the Scottish comedy scene. Whether you are a writer based in Scotland writing for TV programmes or live comedy shows, a comedian fronting sell-out shows who is making a big impression or you are behind the opening of a purpose-built comedy venue, we want to hear how your contribution is making a difference to the comedy culture here in Scotland.

Behind the Scenes Award

Awarded to the unsung heroes of the Scottish performing arts scene. From set designers and sound engineers, to hair and make-up artists and costume designers. The judges are looking for the best individuals and teams working behind the scenes to make the show a success.

Best Actor (Screen) TV

Awarded for the most powerful performance in film or television. Whether it is comedy or dark drama, the judges will be looking for an actor who has made a real impact.

Best Actor (theatre)

We’re looking for a performer who has transfixed audiences, regardless of genre and no matter the size or scale of the production.

Best Actor (Screen) Film

Awarded for the most powerful performance for film. Whether it’s a blockbuster hit, or an independent project, the judges are looking for an actor who deserves special recognition.

Best Dance Performer

The winner in this category might dance with a national company, or a small avant-garde group. The talent, musicality and ability to move audiences matter much more than the style.

Best Visual Artist

The nominees might be painters, sculptors, photographers or multimedia professionals. What they will share is the ability to use their talent to portray a profound message – or perhaps one that’s wryly amusing – about the world in which we live.

Best Live Performance

Sold out stadium shows, soul-baring performances in intimate venues, unique stages in unusual places, we want to hear about them all. Encompassing all genres, from music to comedy, we’re looking for the performances which audiences absolutely love and will remember for a long time. Performance must have taken place within the year to Thursday, May 10, 2018.

Cultural Event of the Year

Sponsored by EventScotland

OK … where to begin? There are plenty to choose from, but which event really went beyond expectations to deliver a life altering experience to its audience? Which event has carved a reputation that encourages audiences to return time and time again? And which event has helped change perceptions of Scotland and its culture? For 2018, this category will be split into two subcategories to recognise both national and international events.

Event must have taken place within the year to Thursday, May 17, 2018.

Best Performing Arts Venue

Sponsored by Cameron Presentations

Regardless of capacity, age, structure and location, we are on the lookout for Scotland’s favourite performing arts venue.

Designer Award

Open to all designers, across the spectrum of disciplines, who are contributing to Scotland’s rich design heritage. Whether your expertise is jewellery, interiors, textiles or illustration, the judges know the journey of the design is just as important as the finished product.

Best Musical Artist

Open to individual singers, musicians, songwriters or composers, active in the music industry at home or abroad. While packed venues are impressive, the judges will be looking at artistic merit just as much as commercial success.

Best Musical Group

Same criteria as the Best Musical Artist category above, except this category is for groups. Groups are defined, quite simply, as a musical ensemble consisting of two or more people.

One To Watch

Sponsored by Edinburgh Napier University

Even the biggest stars had to start somewhere. The winner of this award will be just starting out but will already have paved the way for a successful career. Open to individuals and ensembles, the judges are looking for those who have generated a real buzz among those in the know and have promising prospects of bursting into the mainstream.

Best Writer

Open to authors, poets and playwrights alike, the winner could be anyone, writing about anything. We know and love the bestsellers and the critically acclaimed, and we’re keen to give them a gong. However, the judges will consider nominations from the left field too – as long as they cast a spell over the reader. Simple, then.

Judges Choice Award

You never know when you are going to experience that feeling that you are in exactly the right place at the right time, when the stars collide, and you witness something truly exceptional. These are moments to treasure or in this case, award. The judging panel will pick a standout nomination from the other categories to win this award.

Lifetime Achievement

Sponsored by Edinburgh Napier University

This award will go to an individual, group, event or venue that is iconic to Scotland and has made a longstanding contribution to our culture.

SOME OF LAST YEAR’S WINNERS

Best Actor (Screen) Film: Ewan McGregor

Best Actor (Screen): Morven Christie

Best Actor (Theatre): Grant O’Rourke

Lifetime Achievement Award: Liz Lochhead

Best Cultural Event of the Year: Celtic Connections