Exhibition designers have welcomed a £100 000 annual prize for the UK’s most innovative and inspiring museum or gallery, launched this week by the Gulbenkian Foundation.
The Gulbenkian Prize is open to registered museums and galleries on a ‘one entry per site’ basis. The inaugural award will go to the ‘exhibition, new gallery, public programme or important new initiative developed during 2002’ that is deemed to have made the most impact on the public.
The prize money – described as an ‘amazing’ sum by Jasper Jacobs Associates founder Jasper Jacob – must be invested in a project or an activity benefiting visitors to the winning venue.
‘This will give [the sector] a boost,’ Jacob says, ‘Until now, the prize money going to museums and galleries has been negligible. We’ll have to see whether there’ll be a designer among the judges. If exhibitions are about communication and display, then design plays a role as much as curatorial policy.’