Cardiff University School of Medicine named Business of the Year at Arts & Business Cymru Awards

Admiral Business of the Year (l-r) Dr Robert Colgate, Cardiff University, Colin Jackson CBE, Jacques Colgate, Hijinx, and Dr Elizabeth Metcalf, Cardiff University

Cardiff University School of Medicine has been named Admiral Business of the Year at the Arts & Business Cymru Awards for the innovative way it uses the arts to improve healthcare for people with learning disabilities.

Learning-disabled actors from theatre company Hijinx have worked with more than 400 fourth-year medical students on role-play clinical scenarios to address a lack of training in communicating with, and caring for, people with learning disabilities. The partnership, now part of the core curriculum for the university’s medical students, has grown students’ confidence as they have learned to adjust their approach and language to suit different situations.

The project has enhanced the school’s reputation, making it more attractive to future students, and has boosted Hijinx’s reputation as a pioneer of inclusive theatre as its actors seek regular, paid work opportunities.

The partnership also won the Arts, Business & Health Award.

The annual Arts & Business Cymru Awards ceremony took place last week [Friday 25 May] at Wales Millennium Centre. The event, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, recognises outstanding commitment to supporting the arts.

Dr Robert Colgate, of Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: “We’re thrilled to have won both the Admiral Business of the Year Award and the award for Arts, Business & Health; it’s a huge achievement. The brilliant actors at Hijinx have upskilled and educated our undergraduate students, giving them the tools to improve patient care when looking after individuals with learning difficulties. We hope this partnership will positively impact all of the communities that our medical students go on to work in.”

The Awards was compered by broadcasters Nicola Heywood Thomas and Arfon Haines Davies, and an array of Welsh stars presented the winners with their specially-designed trophies, including actors Di Botcher, Suzanne Packer, Mark Lewis Jones, Richard Mylan, Will Thomas and Hannah Daniel; designer and presenter Anna Ryder Richardson; former Olympic athlete and presenter Colin Jackson CBE; and Grammy Award-winning soprano Rebecca Evans.

The event’s main sponsor was global energy company Valero and the categories, which recognise the best partnerships between businesses and arts organisations, were sponsored by a range of Welsh firms.

Other winners on the night included Philip Carne, MBE, who received the prestigious Robert Maskrey Award for Arts Philanthropy in recognition of his tireless support for emerging talent in Wales’ performing arts. The Carne Trust, founded by Mr Carne and his wife Christine, has provided a wealth of support to various Welsh arts organisations and talented students at music and drama academies, both during their study and after they graduate.

The Hodge Arts Award and its £2,500 cash prize went to The Aloud Charity in recognition of the creative and sustainable way it has worked with businesses to improve the lives of young people across Wales.

Rachel Jones, chief executive of Arts & Business (A&B) Cymru, said: “Tonight marks the 25th Anniversary of these awards and the quality of entries we receive never fail to excite and inspire us.

“A&B Cymru believes passionately in the arts’ unique capacity to unite communities and improve lives. We have witnessed the positive impact that partnerships between arts organisations and businesses can have, not only for each other but the communities in which they operate and the wider Welsh economy. It is an honour to celebrate so many excellent companies and arts organisations working together across Wales in innovative, and often humbling, ways.

“I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to the sponsors and partners for their continued support of our work and these awards. We simply couldn’t do it without your vision and commitment.”