CDN chief executive Deborah Williams explains how the 2017 winners were chosen from 350 submissions

Welcome to the Creative Diversity Network Awards 2017. We are so pleased to have Broadcast as our media partner this year. I’d like to thank all of the winners, nominees and everyone else who attended the winners’ party in June – it was so nice to have you all in attendance to celebrate our winners’ work.

The nominations for the awards opened in February and we decided to extend the submissions period due to the level of interest – that was a great endorsement of the awards but resulted in a very long week to get through all the vetting.

Once that was done, the amazing CDN members’ steering group went to work on shortlisting the 350 submissions. For each of the 10 categories, there were five nominees on the shortlist.

The judging panels convened over two days in April and after some deep, meaningful – and less heated than one would think – conversations, the winners were chosen by secret ballot. Not even the judges knew who had won until the day of the awards ceremony.

From my position as note-taker, it was fascinating to hear from the inside how the wider industry views the awards and how in awe the judges were of some of the work that was presented.

I want to say an enormous thank you to our judges: Priya Singh, Ninder Billing, Fatima Salaria and Tilusha Ghelani (Outstanding Programme awards); and Chris Curtis, Tania Alexander, Angela Chan, Liesel Evans and Matthew Littleford (Change Makers awards). They gave up their time to view the shortlisted clips and gave us the best part of a day to discuss, cogitate and deliberate.

The chairs played an immense role as well, so I would personally like to extend my gratitude to Jess Fowle and Charles Pheby; the insight they brought to the discussions was invaluable. I would also like to thank the BBC and BAFTA for their sponsorship this year. It allowed us to commission the awards as well as hold the winners’ party.


Gideon Feldman was commissioned to design and make the awards themselves. He is an artist and craftsman who creates works that use the historic techniques of glass cutting and leading.

The starting idea for the awards was to use the CDN logo and colour palette to create something that represented diversity and said ‘congratulations’.

Each award is cut from a piece of coloured glass, with the concept that the pieces come together to make the whole stronger.