This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > DaDaFest Wins The Lever Prize 2012!

DaDaFest 2012, the UK’s largest Disability and Deaf Arts Festival, has scooped this year’s prestigious £10,000 Lever Prize award.

DaDa – Disability and Deaf Arts, who organise DaDaFest, became the seventh organisation to receive the annual accolade.  DaDaFest will be taking place in Liverpool from 13th July – 2nd September 2012.

The Lever Prize, launched seven years ago, has successfully revived the philanthropic traditions of the industrial past, embodied by soap magnate and patron of the arts, William Lever, after whom it is named.  Each year it is judged by the North West Business Leadership Team, which comprises senior representatives of the 30 largest companies, in partnership with Arts & Business North.  The award is not just for arts groups, but buildings, events, festivals, libraries and archives are all eligible. 

In addition to the cash prize the award opens the door to a year long collaboration with the region’s top business leaders.   A high profile example of how working with the NWBLT has benefited winners was when in 2008 the Lever Winner had a Virgin Pendolino train named after it - “Tate Liverpool”.  A more practical approach was needed when 2011 Winner, The Whitworth Art Gallery, found storage provided by Manchester Airport for 15 pallets of historically significant wallpaper which would otherwise have been lost to the region.

Accepting the award, Ruth Gould, CEO of DaDa said "We are delighted the NWBLT have acknowledged the unique work DaDaFest does in representing disability and deaf culture in the North West and internationally. The award and resulting creative collaborations with NWBLT members will allow us to present an even more relevant and enticing Festival later this year.”

Geoffrey Piper, chief executive of NWBLT responded ”DaDa’s success in landing the 2012 Lever Prize is a truly outstanding achievement, having beaten off an extremely impressive range of the North West’s other well-known arts organisations to win this major accolade.  The business leaders look forward to working with the DaDa team and making a real difference to this ground-breaking festival for deaf and disabled arts.”

Previous winners include Liverpool Biennial in 2006, Manchester International Festival in 2007, TATE Liverpool in 2008, The National Football Museum in 2009, FutureEverything in 2010 and The Whitworth in 2011.