Art Fund pledges additional £500,000+ funding to support UK curators

Art Fund has announced its first new funding opportunities for 2019. The three programmes represent a total of £505,000 in further funding available to support UK curators.

Art Fund & AAMC Foundation Travel Fellowship
Applications are now open and close 12 February. Eight fellowships available.
The Art Fund & AAMC Foundation Conference Travel Fellowship will provide full funding for eight UK-based curators to travel to and attend the AAMC & AAMC Foundation annual conference in New York in May 2019.

This programme has been developed with an aim to enable UK curators to engage meaningfully and with authority on the international stage, developing their own experience and learning while also raising the profile of their institutions and collections abroad.

As well as attendance at the AAMC & AAMC Foundation annual conference, curators will be invited to take part in introductory weekend tours; benefit from a pairing with a peer US-based curator to offer collegial partnership throughout the conference; receive an invitation to the AAMC Foundation’s Program Alumni Reception, a networking event allowing attendees to connect with others engaged in professional development and with AAMC; and enjoy a 2-year AAMC membership allowing access to AAMC’s suite of curatorial development opportunities.

Following the conference, recipients of the travel fellowships will be eligible to draw down additional research and development grants to activate ideas and develop relationships established through the conference.

The conference will take place 4-7 May 2019 preceded by the weekend programme.

Curatorial Network Grants

Applications open 25 February for large grants and close on 24 April. Applications for grants smaller than £5,000 may be submitted on a rolling basis. Funding available: £150,000

Curatorial Network Grants are a new annual funding programme open to subject specialist networks (SSNs) and other curatorial networks around the UK. It is designed in direct response to research previously carried out by Art Fund which confirmed a decline in the number of curatorial and subject specialist roles in UK museums over the past decade. Coupled with a tendency for museums to replace retiring subject specialists with more generalist curators who have responsibility for multiple collection disciplines, the research revealed, among other priorities, a need to ensure that subject specialism and expertise is accessible and shared as widely as possible among museum professionals.

The overall aim of this fund is to encourage the wide sharing of expertise, skills and knowledge across the sector, through SSNs and other curatorial networks, for the benefit of museum collections and audiences. The funding is designed to help networks:

Capitalise on opportunities to develop and expand their activities

Develop and share knowledge and skills relating to subject-specialism, professional skills and public engagement

Collaborate with each other and with museum audiences

Innovate, test new ideas and share their findings

Create tangible public outcomes

New Collecting Awards
Applications open 25 February and close 24 April. Funding available £300,000

This scheme helps to build collections nationwide. Now in its fifth year, the New Collecting Awards enable the next generation of curators to build critical professional skills by pursuing new avenues of collecting for their museums.

Open to UK curators working with public collections, it provides grants typically between £50,000 and £80,000 to some of the most talented, early-career curators to build new collections for their respective museums. Award recipients also receive a specific allocation to use towards their own professional development, to spend on research, travel and training costs, plus the ongoing support of a mentor, Art Fund staff and trustees.

The New Collecting Awards have been made possible by a number of generous individuals and trusts including the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, the Wolfson Foundation, the Vivmar Foundation and the Coral Samuel Charitable Trust.

Through New Collecting Awards, twenty-three significant projects have been supported which innovate and expand the collections in museums, ranging from Brighton to Glasgow. Projects have included the formation of a fine art collection of LGBT culture and history at Walker Art Gallery, a collection of work exploring war and the digital at the Imperial War Museum and an inspiring new collection of artists’ moving image works at Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton.

To apply to any of the above three programmes visit artfund.org/supporting-museums.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018