The Lever Prize, which is in its 11th year, is awarded annually by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), in partnership with Arts & Business. The winner receives a £10,000 cash award and the opportunity to develop working relationships with some of the North West’s most influential business leaders.


FACT’s fellow nominees are Lakeland Arts, Cumbria, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art and MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), Manchester, and the winner of the 2016 Lever Prize will be announced at an event early in the New Year.


FACT’s Director Mike Stubbs said: “We are very excited to be shortlisted for the 2016 Lever Prize,  and we’re honoured to be in the company of such renowned organisations! It is essential to FACT’s mission to work across fields and communities, and it is great to be considered for this brilliant opportunity to develop corporate relationships with the great and good of the North West's business scene.”


The Lever Prize is run by the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT), which is an independent group of influential business leaders who work together to promote the sustainable economic development, quality of life and future competitiveness of North West England.


Geoffrey Piper, chief executive of NWBLT, said: “We are delighted to report that again the calibre of entries was extremely high and we were pleased to have received applications from all across the region.


“The judging for the Lever Prize takes place next month when the shortlisted candidates will present to a panel of NWBLT members and a representative of Arts and Business and, as ever, it will be a hard decision choosing a winner!”


The Lever Prize name was inspired by William H Lever (later Lord Leverhulme), the Bolton-born soap magnate famed for his grand-scale patronage of the arts. In addition to the cash prize, each year’s winner also receives a trophy designed to reflect the “Seven Arcs”; a bridge which Lever commissioned at Rivington Gardens which always remained close to the heart of this great industrialist and founder of the business we now know as Unilever. The bridge’s aesthetic qualities inspired the design for the trophy and symbolises the bridging of the arts and business communities, which the North West Business Leadership Team aims to establish through the Lever Prize.


Previous Lever winners include Liverpool Biennial in 2006,Manchester International Festival in 2007, Tate Liverpool in 2008, the National Football Museum in 2009,Future Everything in 2010, Whitworth Art Gallery in 2011,  Dada Fest in 2012, Hallé St Peter’s in 2013,Contact, Manchester in 2014 and the current holder of the prize is Manchester Museum.