Marjorie Duckworth Malina always worked at the intersection of art and science. Initially trained in accountancy while working in her father’s textile company JJ Duckworth Ltd, Marjorie’s formal education was in social sciences, earning her bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of London in 1939. During World War II, she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, reaching the rank of captain, where she worked with the anti-aircraft batteries operated by women helping defend Britain.
Shortly after the war she found work in the personnel department at the newly founded United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), where she met Deputy Director for Science, Frank Malina. Marjorie and Frank married in 1949 and bought a house in Boulogne Billancourt where they raised a family.
Their home was the birthplace of the Leonardo journal, the Leonardo Network, and a center for art-science debate in Paris during the 1950s and 1960s. It was also the studio where Frank Malina worked as a pioneer in the kinetic art movement. Their steady flow of guests included astronautical pioneers, artists, and scholars including Pauline Koffler, Jacob Bronowski, Frank Popper, Academician Sedov and Roy Ascott. Friends and colleagues always enjoyed Marjorie’s hospitality. She worked tirelessly for the success of the Leonardo project and was an ardent defender of the ideals of interdisciplinary work and international collaboration. Marjorie passed away in March 2006.
Today, Leonardo continues to convene, research, collaborate, and disseminate best practices at the nexus of arts, science and technology worldwide. It serves a community of transdisciplinary scholars, artists, scientists, technologists and thinkers, who experiment with cutting-edge, new approaches, practices, systems and solutions to tackle the most complex challenges facing humanity today.
To honor Marjorie’s memory, The Marjorie Duckworth Endowment Award supports creative and innovative cross-disciplinary students whose projects embody the very collaboration and transdisciplinary partnerships that Marjorie helped inspire during her lifetime.