The prestigious Lever Prize 2016 has been won by the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) for a joint project with FACT, involving FACTLab, a collaboration between FACT and LJMU, which explores the interaction between arts and science.
Now entering its eleventh year, the Lever Prize is judged by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) in partnership with Arts & Business. The prize includes £10,000 cash and the opportunity of collaborating with some of the region’s most influential business leaders.
The Lever Prize is an annual award given to arts organisations in North West England who are judged to be regionally distinctive with international or potentially international significance, and who show a high calibre existing work and can demonstrate exciting future developments.
The collaboration between Museum of Science and Industry and FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) will have an educational focus, and provide both formal and informal learning opportunities for young people, exploring physical and digital making, and the interaction between arts and science.
The project will build on FACT’s existing work with Minecraft that has been carried out in FACTLab, FACT’s workshop space for Research & Innovation. FACTLab was launched in June 2015 in partnership with the Liverpool School of Art and Design at LJMU, and invites visitors to try out new technologies and work with artists and creative technologist. New Minecraft content will be developed, tailored to Museum of Science and Industry and its objects, artefacts and themes, and integrated into Museum of Science and Industry’s events and schools programmes in order to access new audiences and partners.
Sally MacDonald, director at the Museum of Science and Industry, commented: “We are delighted to have won the 2016 Lever Prize and to be sharing the honour and the opportunity with FACT. Working together at our annual MakeFest event, we want to focus on developing innovation and making in the North West, which is still the largest manufacturing region in the UK. We want to foster a wide range of making skills from traditional crafts to digital innovation and FACT bring a real expertise in creative coding. And we're thrilled to have the chance to work with NWBLT, which includes some of the region's key business innovators."
Jo Wright, Executive Director of FACT, said: “I am very proud that the Lever Prize panel has chosen to recognise the potential of FACTLab by awarding the Museum of Science and Industry and FACT this prestigious award. Collaboration is central to FACT’s practice, and we are very happy about this opportunity to work together going forward. Moreover, our partnership with Museum of Science and Industry fits well in the context of FACT’s vision, which in 2016 specifically places a major focus on art and science.”
Dr Mark Wright, Director of FACTLab, and holder of a joint post between the Liverpool School of Art and Design and FACT said: "We are very pleased that FACTLab and the research collaboration between LJMU and FACT has made possible new forms of engagement with the wider cultural and business sector of which this prize is an innovative, high quality example."
Caroline Wilkinson, Director of Liverpool School of Art and Design at LJMU, added: "LJMU has invested in a number of key research/academic partnerships with cultural organisations and the FACT partnership is one of the most longstanding and productive. FACT and Liverpool School of Art & Design have both benefited from this collaboration and the Cloudmaker project is a good example of the kind of public engagement activity that has resulted from this prize."
Previous winners of the Lever include Liverpool Biennial in 2006, Manchester International Festival in 2007, TATE Liverpool in 2008, The National Football Museum in 2009, FutureEverything in 2010, The Whitworth 2011, DaDaFest in 2012, Hallé St Peter’s in 2013, Contact in 2014 and Manchester Museum in 2015.
Image credit: Museum of Science and Industry/Jason Lock.