Art Fund, the national charity for art, has today (Wednesday 6th September 2023) announced it has offered a total of £800,000 to 21 museums and galleries across the UK for creative and engaging projects to help them reimagine their support for their workforce and improve inclusion and diversity.
In addition, Art Fund has offered a further £200,000 to be awarded through Museum Development UK (MDUK) to support smaller museums to retain and train staff, with an emphasis on curatorial posts and members of the workforce who work directly with collections including learning, engagement and conservation.
The Reimagine funding programme is designed to inspire creativity and increase stability for museums and galleries, supporting organisations to develop or refresh their work in response to their current situation. The funding builds on Art Fund’s ongoing support for museums and the people that work within them.
Art Fund’s 2022 report on diversity in the curatorial workforce, It’s about handing over power, commissioned in partnership with Museum X and Culture&, revealed that significant barriers remain to increasing ethnic and racial diversity in the museum and gallery workforce. In this round of Reimagine, Art Fund was particularly interested in applications that respond to the findings and recommendations of the report and aim to make their organisations more inclusive.
The successful projects will empower diverse artists with new opportunities for collaboration and networking and create career pathways for individuals from underrepresented communities to enter the culture sector. Spike Island, a centre for visual arts in the southwest, will be providing 40 free Associate Bursary places to young people from marginalised and underrepresented communities in Bristol. And Glasgow Women’s Library, the only accredited museum dedicated to women’s history, will support artists and communities to interrogate and shape collections.
Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, said:
This year’s Reimagine grants will enable museums and galleries to foster inclusivity and create opportunities for diverse voices to contribute to the cultural sector. We’re proud to support 21 engaging projects across the UK, from Oriel Myrddin in Carmarthenshire developing new ways of working with underrepresented communities, to Towner Eastbourne in East Sussex providing career pathways for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Together, these projects make a step towards a more inclusive and diverse museum workforce. Huge congratulations to all recipients.
Successful projects in this round of Reimagine grants include:
Contemporary Visual Arts Network CVAN has been awarded £50,000 for Fostering Equity in the Visual Arts Sector – a two-year professional development programme supporting artists and arts professionals from marginalised communities across England to develop skills in leadership and governance through training and mentoring, as well as offering them access to meaningful and supportive networking opportunities and partnerships. The project is led by CVAN in partnership with the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.
Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) has been awarded £49,944 for Strengthening and Diversifying our Workforce – a major organisational project which will create opportunities for people to work in museums and galleries through paid internships at DCA, deliver training for DCA’s workforce to develop digital skills, and to provide further training in equity, diversity and inclusion with a focus on anti-racism.
Glasgow Women’s Library has been awarded £42,446 for Re/imagining a Framework for Inclusive Collecting at Glasgow Women’s Library – to support collections staff, as part of a larger participatory project, to explore the organisation’s collecting history, to encourage discussion around the processes by which artworks enter collections, and to support artists and communities to feel empowered to understand and shape collections that resonate with them.
GRAIN Projects, based in the West Midlands, has been awarded £48,000 for REFLECTOR – a new professional development residency and programme for emerging artists from diverse backgrounds. Delivered in partnership with The New Art Gallery Walsall and led by diverse artists, REFLECTOR will empower artists and create new opportunities for collaboration and career development.
National Paralympic Heritage Centre in Buckinghamshire has been awarded £29,236 for Working Towards Seamless Inclusion Across the Volunteer Workforce – a project creating inclusive, meaningful volunteering opportunities and employment pathways for disabled and neurodivergent people within museums and the cultural sector, including a work-placement programme for disabled, neurodiverse young people to work across collections, exhibitions and learning programmes.
Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthenshire has been awarded £36,350 for Engagement Curator: Perspective(s) Programme – an action learning project developing new ways of working with underrepresented communities, including the creation of a new Engagement Curator post for Perspective(s), a partnership programme between Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Arts Council of Wales and Amgueddfa Cymru/Museum Wales aiming to redefine existing narratives told by collections in each of the Museums’ seven sites across Wales.
Peak Cymru in Crickhowell and Abergavenny has been awarded £25,000 for Co-leadership for and with young people – to recruit a Director for Young People who will work alongside Peak’s two other Directors to centre young people across the organisation’s programme and governance, enabling dedicated focus on delivery for and with young people aged 14 to 30 years.
Studio Voltaire in London has been awarded £50,000 for The Step-Change Programme – to develop a new curatorial role and accompanying wellbeing programme to create a supportive work environment that results in greater retention of diverse staff with meaningful benefits for the team.
Spike Island in Bristol has been awarded £31,520 for Reimagining Spike Island Associates programme – to work with a group of youth and creative access organisations in the southwest to develop the reach and impact of their artist development programme, Spike Island Associates, and to provide free Associate Bursary places to 40 young people from marginalised and underrepresented communities in Bristol.
Towner Eastbourne has been awarded £48,000 for Collectively: a new model for structural inclusivity through acquisitions & workforce development – to provide career development pathways for individuals from diverse backgrounds to enter the culture sector, to create a supported coordinator role for an early career curator or arts professional to develop their skills, and to develop the workforce through skills development and training.
MDUK are distributing the £200,000 grant from Art Fund through a combination of grants and creative programmes developed in response to needs identified by Museum Development providers. MDUK are match-funding the grant with around £100,000 of their own investment. The UK-wide Museum Development providers administering the grants and programmes are: The Museum Development (MD) Programme across England; Museums Galleries Scotland; Welsh Government (Culture Division); and Northern Ireland Museums Council. For more information on grants and creative programmes through MDUK, please contact the provider in your area.
The first round of Reimagine grants were announced in August 2020 as part of an effort to support organisations to deliver projects or activity that would provide a positive change in offering new or improved ways of working during and as part of the longer-term response to the COVID19 crisis. Since this initial round, £7.3m has been awarded. In the most recent round, organisations were able to apply for support of between £10,000 and £50,000.
Art Fund’s Reimagine grants programme is made possible thanks to funding from The Headley Trust, The Kirby Laing Foundation and Art Fund’s generous members and donors.
Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by Art Partners, donors, trusts and foundations and the 135,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free or discounted entry to over 850 museums, galleries, and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. The winner of Art Fund Museum of the Year 2023 is Glasgow’s Burrell Collection.