Manchester City Council – Councillor Luthfur Rahman – Best Arts Champion

Manchester City Council's Luthfur Rahman shortlisted for Best Arts Champion - Councillor in 2020 Hearts for the Arts Awards.


As a passionate advocate he has involved other elected members in the cultural life of the city by ensuring there are members acting as board representatives on the city’s major cultural institutions. Cllr Rahman recognises that whilst in Manchester City Council we have a track-record of supporting and celebrating our cultural offer, with further funding pressures on the horizon, we need to make sure that all elected members, new and established, are aware of the impact of our cultural investments in the city.

He has shared his knowledge of residents that are not culturally engaged, or don’t who realise what the cultural sector can offer, and he challenges officers and cultural partners to work harder to change, adapt and better promote the cultural offer to reach all our residents. He recognises the significant contribution Culture plays in the growth and economic success of the city as well as the wider benefits to residents from the significant growth in the tourist industry, creating jobs and opportunities as well as making Manchester a vibrant place to live.

The value of his work is outstanding, from establishing a Local Cultural Education Partnership to helping the city to achieve UNESCO City of Literature status. He truly deserves to be recognised for his dedication to developing the arts in Manchester. 

Cllr Rahman commissioned poet Zahid Hussain to create the Made in Manchester poem co-authored by residents and performed in a film so far featuring 65 languages inc BSL. The Festival of Manchester was his brain-child, drawing on his knowledge of the city’s diverse communities, he developed a new summer event in Rusholme – close to the ‘curry mile’ in one of the city’s parks.

What the judges said:

“Councillor Rahman’s focus on inclusivity and access for all parts of Manchester’s diverse community has challenged arts and cultural organisations to work differently and reach new levels of engagement. He has also championed the cultural contribution of the City on the international stage.”

“Wow – the scope, the depth, the impact of Cllr Rahman’s work is breath-taking. It is all the more wonderful when someone without a background in arts practise is so convinced by the power of culture. Thank you, Cllr Rahman, for ensuring Manchester remains a shining example of vibrant and inclusive culture.”

Photo credit: Business Manchester