Steve McQueen Year 3 wins Southbank Sky Arts Award

Major prize recognises life changing cultural legacy for London's year 3 pupils

Most Londoners will have been touched in some way by the vast collective enterprise that was Steve McQueen Year 3 at the Tate. Whether knowing someone among the 76,146 children, 1,504 schools or 3,128 individual class photographs that were in the exhibition, or seeing one of the 600 billboards that popped up around the city. It is estimated that these alone were viewed by 7 million Londoners.

It has been said that the exhibition, three years in the making, shares more characteristics with a feature film than a traditional art show. The scale of the production involving creative, technical, education and logistics expertise drew in massive collaboration never before seen to create an artwork.

The project and exhibition was delivered by A New Direction alongside partners Tate, Artangel and Steve McQueen, and has been announced as the winner of the visual arts category in the Southbank Sky Arts Award for 2020.

We are proud to have been involved in Year 3, building the technology that facilitated and connected the schools with 12 photographers hired by A New Direction. Then building the booking system that enabled schools to book slots for 600 pupils per day visiting the exhibition.

It is worth noting that more than 50% of schools had never visited a museum before. Year 3 offered a unique opportunity to address that and leaves a legacy in terms of cultural access that is unrivalled.

Steve McQueen credits visiting Tate when he was child for changing his life. With 2020 dominated by the Covid pandemic, perhaps Year 3 will also live long in the memory and change lives for some of those who took part.

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