We speak to Icon Awards Chairman, Scott Barclay about what it takes to be an Icon , the controversy of 2015 and his plans for a spectacular gala awards in October.
Hailed as a celebration of diversity and human rights, the Icon Awards are back for 2016 and plans are well underway for another evening of glitz and hollywood glamour in Glasgow.
The event, which last year attracted celebrity guests including Conchita Wurst and Michelle Visage, has so far released few details of the big attractions for the main event, but organisers are confident the bill can top the star-studded 2015 finale!
We met up with awards Chairman, Scott Barclay, and started by asking him how he got involved and what it means to be an Icon Award winner:
There’s no doubt the Icon Awards courted celebrity endorsement and gained a huge volume of exposure in its inaugural year. But the event wasn’t without its controversy either – “black face” was an embarrassing error which saw the organisers criticised over their choice of artistic branding, a decision taken before he joined but which Barclay says was “naive” and which the organisation have apologised for publicly.
Despite criticism, the Awards were a sell-out in their first year and raised nearly £10,000 for their chosen charity partner, the Scottish HIV and Hep-C support charity Waverley Care. The event also raised the profile of LGBT+ organisations and individuals from around the country who work tirelessly for equal rights and the progress of the LGBT+ movement.
Now, with a voluntary management team which has been reorganised adding new and respected community faces, Barclay hopes the Awards have strengthened their policies and that their credibility is significantly improved. As new board members join, such as British LGBT Awards winner, Jacqui Gavin and SFA Diversity Manager, Hala Ousta, the Chairman is keen to stress the transparency of the new team. We asked what changes can be expected for the Awards in 2016:
Attracting event sponsors certainly hasn’t been difficult so far, with Audi announcing sponsorship of the Awards earlier this month. A charitable tie-up with the Beatson Cancer Charity has also been announced. Asked whether the Awards should be focussing on LGBT fundraising, Barclay explained why the committee had chosen to partner with Beatson:
“Unfortunately, cancer is the only thing that doesn’t discriminate, it affects everyone. We can all be touched in some way, personally or through a friend or close relative, so its already part of our community and our lives. We could easily have chosen one or two LGBT charities but someone else would always be left out – we felt this was the fairest way of helping a charity which helps everyone.”
Organisers are encouraging Scots to get involved in 2016 by nominating in the 15 categories up for grabs. From ‘Charity of the Year’ to ‘Political Icon of the Year’ there are awards which cover large and small employers, sporting icons, wedding and beauty sectors and the much coveted ‘Venue of the Year’ (2015 winners – The Waterloo Bar in Glasgow). Barclay says they’ve had a huge response already and that shortlisted nominees are in for the VIP treatment before the Awards ceremony even kicks off:
The Icon Awards are open now for nominations and close at the end of August. You can vote here (especially in the Charity & Media categories!!):
Interview & article by Stuart Duffy