Supporting curators

We develop partnerships that help to nurture the best possible training and support for curators and ensure our museums and galleries continue to thrive.

The Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme

Through consulting our colleagues across the sector we have learned that one of the main barriers to curatorial development is a lack of funding for travel and research. This means that curators have fewer opportunities to deepen their understanding and engagement with the collections in their care, or to develop expertise.

The Jonathan Ruffer Curatorial Grants Programme was developed with this research in mind and helps curators working with fine and applied art collections maintain and develop their specialist knowledge and expertise. The scheme has been created with the generous help and guidance of Jonathan Ruffer and Anthony Mould, who share with us a belief in the importance of nurturing curatorial skills and supporting serious research. We will be awarding grants totaling £50,000 annually through this programme.

Apply for a Jonathan Ruffer grant.


Museum partners wanted for new photography curators’ training programme

The Art Fund is supporting the Victoria & Albert Museum to run a two-year pilot programme to help the development of curatorial expertise in art photography, working with regional museum partners. The V&A is currently seeking two regional museum partners with art photograph collections, but limited photography curatorial expertise, to join the programme, which will provide training for emerging curators and raise the profile of the collections, making them more accessible. The deadline for applications is 11 August. Find out more and apply.


Our curatorial trainees Helen Hillyard and Eloise Donnelly

Our curatorial trainees Helen Hillyard and Eloise Donnelly

Art Fund and National Gallery Curatorial Traineeships

We’ve teamed up with the National Gallery to offer two fully funded curatorial traineeships specialising in Old Master painting. Aimed at nurturing the next generation of curators, the scheme delivers practical guidance for each trainee at the National Gallery and an appointed regional museum, at which each trainee works on a specific curatorial project. The scheme lasts for 22 months, during which time the National Gallery will provide mentoring and support for both trainees to work with the collections.

The second pair of trainees began their traineeships at the National Gallery in September 2013, and will move to regional partner museums in spring 2013. Helen Hillyard and Eloise Donnelly will be working on projects at Birmingham Museums Trust and York Art Gallery until July 2015. Read Helen and Eloise's blog to find out how they are getting on.

The inaugural programme saw trainees Henrietta Ward and Philippa Stephenson curate exhibitions at the programme's first two partner museums: Home, Land and Sea at Manchester Art Gallery and Divine Bodies at Laing Art Gallery, respectively.


Art Fund and Whitechapel Gallery: Practical Skills in Showing Art courses

Following on from our recent Careers in the Visual Arts courses, we’ve once again teamed up with the Whitechapel Gallery to support their another series of courses – Practical Skills in Showing Art courses. This series, targeted at early career professionals, identifies key skills that commonly lack direct training opportunities within gallery work environments and explores the practicalities involved in exhibiting, discussing and illustrating exhibitions, working in arts organisations and developing careers. Led by experts in the field, we look step-by-step at the processes, tools and techniques required to handle, photograph, analyse and manage art.

Apply for a place on a Practical Skills in Showing Art ​course.


Artists' Film Biennial 2014: Curating Artists’ Film

We’ve partnered with the ICA to deliver a chaired panel discussion unpacking the relationship between commissioning, collecting, curating and preserving artists' film. Find out more.

We are also offering a limited number of bursary places on a Curators’ Seminar Group. Find out more and apply.


Sotheby's Institute Course

Navigating the Art Market, developed in partnership with Sotheby’s Institute of Art, is a course providing early career curators, and curators interested in developing their collecting ambitions, with a relevant, practical understanding of the workings of the art market.

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