The search is on for Museum of the Year 2016
Applications are now open for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, the world's biggest museum prize.
Video: Art Fund director Stephen Deuchar announces the launch of the 2016 Prize and celebrates the Art Fund's 2015 highlights
In 2015 the winner was the Whitworth, Manchester, which was praised as 'a museum of the future'. In 2014, Yorkshire Sculpture Park triumphed for its 'perfect fusion of art and landscape'. But who will be crowned Museum of the Year 2016?
That will be up to the judging panel, which was announced today: curator and cultural historian Gus Caseley-Hayford; BBC Arts editor, Will Gompertz; historian Ludmilla Jordanova and artist Cornelia Parker. The panel will be chaired by the Art Fund's director, Stephen Deuchar. The Prize ceremony will take place at the Natural History Museum in early July 2016, before an invited audience of leading culture figures.
The £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year is the largest arts award in Britain and the biggest museum prize in the world. It is awarded to a museum or gallery in the UK for exceptional achievement and innovation. Applications close on 10 February 2016 and the shortlisted museums will be revealed on 29 April.
Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund said: 'The Museum of the Year above all seeks out and rewards innovative practice. It matters, both for the museums, for whom winning the prestigious £100,000 Prize can have a transformative impact, and for their audiences. Everyone wants to see the Museum of the Year. We’re proud to lead this national celebration of the UK’s outstanding cultural heritage.'
Maria Balshaw, director of the Whitworth, said: 'Winning the Art Fund Museum of the Year Prize in 2015 meant a huge amount to everyone, not just the staff and visitors to the museum, but to Manchester as a city that is proud of its cultural heritage and leading the way as a powerhouse of creativity.'
The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year will continue its partnership with the BBC in 2016, who will present a series of special content on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Online.
VocalEyes, a charity that provides access to arts and heritage for blind and partially sighted people, will again work with the Art Fund to create introductory audio descriptions of the shortlisted museums, as well as offering visual awareness training opportunities for staff and volunteers at the museums to ensure that they are equipped to greet and guide blind and partially sighted visitors – while also setting a model of good practice to the sector.
For the first time, in 2016 there will be a special fund made available to shortlisted museums with a turnover of less than £5m, to provide grants towards the cost of profile-raising campaigns ahead of the announcement of the winner.