Twenty leading young creative people from the West Midlands have won recognition for excellence in their chosen fields as part of a new Channel 4 initiative.
The IDEASFACTORY Creative Class 2005/6 began its search for the region's hottest talent working in the creative industries in February, and received more than 130 entries from the West and East Midlands.
IDEASFACTORY, launched in 2002, is Channel 4's website for young creatives aged between 16 and 24. IDEASFACTORY West Midlands was added in May 2003, with the content specifically tailored for the region, and is funded by Advantage West Midlands.
The 18-strong judging panel, which included high profile figures from the region's creative sector such as Jonnie Turpie (chairman of Maverick TV), David Bintley ( director, Birmingham Royal Ballet), Spiderman illustrator John McCrea and Rupak Mann, winner of Channel 4's Bollywood Star, chose an eclectic mix of winners, from artists and comedians to musicians and filmmakers.
Each winner is under 30, the youngest is 17, and all are making genuine headway in their respective professions.
Dan Jones, editor of IDEASFACTORY West Midlands, explains: "Creative Class was set up to celebrate the contribution of young talent in the region and help creative professionals develop their careers even further".
The youngest winner is Lhamea Lall, a 17 year-old singer-songwriter from Birmingham who has won 16 honours already, including a BBC Young Black Achievers award and a Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People, a cause for whom she is also an ambassador. Lhamea is using her Creative Class inclusion to raise her local profile, but her ambitions lie in chasing the elusive American market.
A young film-maker from Malvern is also making a great impact. Neil Oseman has secured distribution offers for his second feature film, the sci-fi epic Soul Searcher - made for just £20,000 - during his visit to Cannes.
Others on the list include the best-selling Bhangra star of 2004, a sculptress who turned recycled Yellow Pages into vases and bowls and the director of a dynamic new media communications company.
It is planned to make Creative Class an annual event.