Mainframe Awards 2020 Winners!

By Charlene Sharp & Hana York - The Mainframe Team

Derbyshire's digital and creative community came together in a visually stunning hybrid event, livestreamed from QUAD, to celebrate the Mainframe 2020 Awards.

As the region's biggest celebration of local creative talent, Mainframe were determined not to let the events of 2020 curtail highlighting their outstanding community and their creative achievements.


Individual, start-ups, SME's, entrepreneurs and established businesses were among the thirty shortlisted to be in with the chance of winning across ten categories. Now in their third year, competition in each category of the awards has increased year on year. Those shortlisted in 2020 demonstrated both the breadth and depth of digital and creative talent in our region.

The two categories which have traditionally been the mostly highly contested are “Putting Derby/Derbyshire on the Map” and “Creativity for Good” giving the judges for these awards a real challenge. This year was certainly no different with Keith Cox from Bloc Digital taking the “Putting Derby/Derbyshire on the Map” award and Jen Sumner from Hubbub Theatre received the “Creativity for Good” award amidst stiff competition from all those shortlisted.

“Best Digital/Creative Start Up” went to Erica Horne from Cad For Fashion, who has successfully taken her usual face to face CAD training online over recent months. At the other end of the business scale, the "Best Digital/Creative Upscaler" award was won by Liam Nelson and Rob Twells of Frogspark, recognising their continuing business growth.

This year saw three new categories in the awards - "Digital Disruptor", "Make & Trade" and "Family Participation". Louise West of Louise West Lace Design picked up her third Mainframe award over two years. Her success this year was in the “Digital Disruptor" category for her wonderful work with lace which blends both old and new creative techniques. Paul Adamson of Paul Adamson Woodland Craft was the winner in the "Make & Trade" category, tapping into Derbyshire's long history of world class makers. Deda took the award in the "Family Participation" category for their stunning Full Moon Friday inclusive family programming at Derby Festé 2019.

The "Digital/Creative Unsung Hero" category recognises a creative person who might not normally be in the spotlight but is a hugely valuable part of our community. This year saw Kamran Hussain recognised for his work at Repeat Digital. The “Emerging Digital Star (Under 25) was presented to Jessica Frearson of Future Proof Films. Jessica is a wonderful apprenticeship success story.

The awards presentations concluded with Drew Taylour-Davis of video marketing agency, Future Proof Films, presenting the award for "Digital Ambassador of the Year", passing on the baton as the 2019 winner. This is the only category awarded on public votes and this year's winner was John Whall, Digital Participation Curator at QUAD. John said; "Mainframe brings together and strengthens the creative communities of Derby, from the independent artists starting out to the established creative and digital agencies. I’m completely honoured to win the 2020 Digital/Creative Ambassador of the Year. All the Mainframe award nominees and winners highlight the breadth of creative talent the city has to offer, and to be included among them is a great privilege."

Adam Buss, CEO of QUAD, hosted the evening supported by Charlene Sharp and Hana York from Mainframe.  Adam said;

Preview_20201130_Mainframe_Awards_2020_credit-Charlotte-Jopling-5"Once again Mainframe brought together some of the best and brightest talent from the creative industries across Derby and Derbyshire together, but this time at a virtual event filmed at QUAD. The Mainframe awards have never been more important as the Creative Industries, worth over 112b to the UK economy continue to pivot and adapt and support those businesses in other sectors to do the same in these challenging times. Whether you are a skilled wood craftsperson, an international games designer or digital disruptor the awards once again showed that Derby and Derbyshire is home to some of the most innovative businesses in the UK."

Every year we try to find a panel of judges that reflect the calibre of the entries we receive and this year was no exception. The Mainframe 2020 Awards judges were :

  • Anna Dever, Head of the The Family Arts Campaign at The Albany
  • Annabel Franks, Strategy Advisor - Cathedral Quarter Board Member
  • Tiina Hill, Senior Manager, Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England
  • Brian Martin Walsh OBE, Chair of QUAD board
  • Michael Weedon, Chair & East Midlands Representative - Retail & High Street Policy Unit at The Federation of Small Business)
  • Julie Shepherd, Editor at BBC Radio 1/1Xtra
  • Vanessa Simpson, Digital Curriculum Manager at Derby College
  • Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust
  • Simon Kirk, Inward Investment Executive at Marketing Derby

Simon Kirk-1Simon Kirk from Marketing Derby said:

"The Creative Industries plays a vital part in the East Midlands economy by contributing over £4.3 billion into the regional economy. Mainframe is such an important enabler for the Creative & Digital scene here in Derbyshire, by amplifying the amazing business we have here with their awards night, to enabling business growth through their programme of events and workshops" 

Throughout the evening the audience was entertained by the musical talents of the always wonderful Jon Eno, Stuart McCrone and Will Turner of Hot House Music. We also couldn't let this year pass without making mention of the technical aspects of bringing a complex, hybrid event to bear. Andrew Lindley from Lindley Productions said;

Preview_20201130_Mainframe_Awards_2020_credit-Charlotte-Jopling-1"During the technical design stage  we wanted to create an online environment that made it feel like everyone was in the same space, all be it virtually. We were able to integrate several platforms such as Zoom, YouTube and Vmix alongside the live hosts in QUAD’s cinema to create an proper event rather than just a standard zoom call. High quality pre-recorded video and the beautifully designed visuals is what tied all the elements together, these included 30 nominees in a zoom call, 6 remote calls from judges, 3 hosts, a live band, 3 cameras, pre-recorded video, PowerPoint and a social media wall."

Full list of winners:

  • Family Participation: Deda - Judge: Anna Dever (The Family Arts Campaign - The Albany)
  • Make & Trade: Paul Adamson - Paul Adamson Woodland Craft - Judge: Annabel Franks (Cathedral Quarter Board Member)
  • Digital Disruptor: Louise West - Louise West Lace Design - Judge: Tiina Hill (Digital Culture Network, Arts Council England)
  • Digital/Creative Unsung Hero: Kamran Hussain - Repeat Digital - Judge: Brian Martin Walsh OBE (Chair of QUAD board)
  • Best Digital/Creative Start Up: Erica Horne - Cad For Fashion - Judge: Michael Weedon (The Federation of Small Business)
  • Emerging Digital/Creative Star (Under 25): Jessica Frearson - Future Proof Films - Judge: Julie Shepherd (BBC Radio 1/1Xtra)
  • Digital/Creative Upscaler: Liam Nelson & Rob Twells - Frogspark - Judge: Vanessa Simpson (Derby College)
  • Creativity for Good: Jen Sumner - Hubbub Theatre - Judge: Simon Carnall (Derby County Community Trust)
  • Putting Derby/Derbyshire on the Map: Keith Cox - Bloc Digital - Judge: Simon Kirk (Marketing Derby)
  • Digital Ambassador of the Year: John Whall - QUAD - Judge: Public Vote

Watch the 2020 Awards

Missed the big night? Want to watch the action again? See the night in full here!

Mainframe Awards 2021

Due to the slight delay in hosting the awards night, viewers were also the first to see the newly launched Mainframe Awards 2021 which are now open for nominations.


Submit my 2021 nomination

A huge congratulations to this year's winners and as ever thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination - it's all of you who make these awards happen.

We look forward to seeing the nomination for the Mainframe Awards 2021!

Preview_20201130_Mainframe_Awards_2020_credit-Charlotte-Jopling-9Mainframe is an initiative that aims to bring together a community of digital and creative business across Derby and Derbyshire, enabling real business growth and jobs. Mainframe is part of The Big House project, a collaboration providing sector specific support across the D2N2 area. The Big House aims to make it easier for digital creative business to understand and access the free help available in the region.

For more details about the free business support available to creative and digital businesses in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire through The Big House project, visit

This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund 2014 - 2020