Emerging Cultural Leader Award

This award recognizes up-and-coming, Nanaimo-based cultural leaders. It targets individuals under 30 years of age who have contributed significantly to the cultural life in Nanaimo.  Recipients must be recognized by their peers and community as a whole to have given distinguished service and / or for excellence in the arts and culture field.

This award category presents an opportunity for the community to recognize people and groups they believe have made a significant contribution to making Nanaimo a culturally vibrant city.

2024 Recipient: Annalise Lam

Annalise Lam
Photo Credit: Sean Fenzl | @fenzlstudio

Annalise Lam won the 2024 Emerging Cultural Leader Award. Annalise is a dedicated, passionate, and talented young Highland dancer. In 2022, Annalise was the first dancer from Vancouver Island to win the World Highland Dance Championship in forty years. Until Annalise, a dancer from Nanaimo had never won a World Highland Dance Championship!

Annalise has represented Highland Dance nationally and internationally. Among her many accomplishments, she represented BC at the Canadian Championships becoming the national champion for two consecutive years in 2022 and 2023; she was selected to represent Canada in the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and perform 26 shows in Edinburgh Castle; and she competed in the 2022 Commonwealth Championship in Scotland.

Annalise devotes time to volunteering in the community, teaching younger dancers her craft, and performing at local festivals, seniors residences, and in cultural spaces such as the Nanaimo Museum. During the pandemic, when dance classes went online, new challenges had to be overcome. Annalise played a vital role in this process, dedicating her time and talents in a volunteer capacity as she demonstrated dance in this virtual forum. Reaching dancers as far away as India, she has become an inspiration and role model to many young dancers.

Past Recipients


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