The Award for Civic Arts Organisations

The Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2023 celebrated organisations that are unlocking the creativity of their communities to help shape a better future. Re-Live is the main recipient of £100,000. People United and Golden Thread Gallery each receive £25,000.

Meet the recipients

With the theme ‘Co-Creating the Future’, the third edition of the Award recognised organisations that are helping communities thrive through art and co-creation, even in the most challenging of contexts.  The recipients were announced on 23 March in an online event that celebrated co-creation in the arts sector.


Re-Live in Cardiff is a theatre company that puts wellbeing and health at the centre of storytelling. Re-Live’s programmes help the elderly, those with dementia and military veterans to write and perform their stories as plays. Through storytelling, Re-Live seeks to build compassion, encourage debate, and remind us of our shared humanity. They also offer training for health and social care workers. Their approach to dementia care has been recognised by NHS Wales as a model of best practice.

Golden Thread Gallery

Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast is a contemporary art gallery providing a space that welcomes asylum seekers and refugee women and enables the local community to connect and share skills. In partnership with the Anak Collective and the WOW Foundation, the gallery and the women involved in their network created ‘Welcome to Belfast’ information packs, available in Arabic and Farsi, providing top tips to help other migrant women integrate in Northern Ireland.

People United

People United in Canterbury is an arts charity that works with young refugees and asylum seekers in Kent to share their stories with the world through art. Since 2006 the charity has helped many communities in need, including bringing together young people alongside the arts and community sectors to jointly explore how to radically improve social care. Its ‘Future of Care’ programme has extended to collaborations with the Kent Refugee Action Network.

The three organisations were chosen by an independent panel, chaired by Baroness Deborah Bull, from 336 high-quality applications. The funding will allow recipients to continue their impactful work with their communities and to share lessons with the arts sector and beyond.


The 10 organisations shortlisted for the Award place co-creation at the heart of their work and are committed to using the arts to improve people’s lives. Their stories highlight how arts organisations of all kinds are pivoting to community engagement for positive social outcomes and innovative creative outputs. Based across the four nations, the specialisms and the communities they work with are very different – a testament to how the arts can benefit everyone, regardless of background or situation.


About the shortlist Read case studies


About the Award

The Award was established in 2020 by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) to celebrate organisations that are rethinking the relationships with the communities they serve and using the transformational power of art for individual and societal change. It is a key initiative of the Foundation’s Access to Culture programme, which recognises the vital role of arts to society and encourages arts organisations to create impact within communities in imaginative and inspiring ways. In highlighting outstanding practice, the Award seeks to incentivise the wider arts and cultural sector to embrace its civic role. The Foundation’s ambition is to build a movement of change-makers, with impact in their local communities, across the UK and internationally. The third edition of the Award was open to all arts organisations across the UK that receive public funding and offered a total of £150,000 prize funding.


Previous editions
Updated on 18 july 2023

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