Guest post by Damien Clarkson
Last Thursday, I was honoured to be invited to the inaugural Lush Prize Awards which is a collaboration between Lush Cosmetics and Ethical Consumer. The evening saw Lush award £250,000 to projects and individuals working to replace animal use in product safety testing. The money this year was awarded across five strategic areas; science, training, lobbying, public awareness, young researcher awards.
However this wasn’t any normal awards ceremony, Lush had worked with some of the coolest names in interior design, ethical food, art and digital to create a truly memorable evening. Working alongside Something & Son the awesome team behind Dalston’s Farm:SHOP and augmented reality innovators Inition, Lush created a ‘Digital Dining Dissection Room’ this was to be our venue for the evening.
Intition were displaying augmented reality technology, I was super keen to try this out as I had been keeping an eye on its development over the past couple of years. There were various augmented reality elements included in the evening but the real star attraction for me was the brain dissection. I asked the Intition team to show me how it works and I was amazed that with a virtual dissection tool I was able to feel the the ridges of the brain. It really was a bizarre experience especially when it came to the slicing the brain bit. The hope is that the future people will be able to dissect virtual brains in place of human or animal alternatives.
After enjoying my digital dissection experience we sat down for a delicious meal vegan meal prepared by Tom’s Forgotten Feast. The dinner was truly stunning and comprised of food which normally would have been deemed unfit for consumption because of being past a sell by date or slightly misshapen.
The evening was hosted by human rights campaigner Peter Tachell and Ellie Harrison, who heads up a fantastic campaign called ‘Bring Back British Rail‘. I am sure anyone who has got South Eastern Trains never would agree this is a good idea.
Lush are fiercely opposed to animal testing but sadly many in the cosmetics industry are not. Especially since China declared that in order to sell to their market you must agree to animal testing your products. Read my super science friend Lucy Gilliam’s blog for more details on this outrageous situation.
In the past couple of weeks a day hasn’t passed without outrage in the media about large corporations avoiding paying pretty much any tax. Clearly these organisations lack any sense of moral obligation to the society in which they operate. Therefore it was lovely to see Lush reward those striving to create a better future for animals.
Anyway after the dinner I enjoyed several eco warriors beers before dancing the night away and dreaming of a better future for animals.
P.S: I wasn’t auditioning to be in the Mighty Boosh.
Disclaimer: I occasionally work for Lush on social media campaigns and helped out on delivering the #AnimalPerson campaign which supported the Lush Prize. Below you can see the video created by the artist Joseph Valentino to support the campaign.