Funding, News, Curating

Curatorial 'rising stars' receive £300,000 to build museum collections

Today Art Fund announced the latest winners of the New Collecting Awards, a programme which supports focused projects by curators to develop museum collections.

Seven UK curators have been announced as the winners of our New Collecting Awards. Celebrating its fifth year, the programme supports focused projects by curators with the aim of developing museum collections into new areas or expanding existing collections.

This year’s winning proposals include a project at the Sainsbury Centre to acquire sculptural works on paper by international women artists and a project at the V&A to collect key examples of digital design.

Each of the recipients receive a budget for acquisitions, a funding allocation for research, travel and training costs, plus the ongoing support of Art Fund staff, trustees, and a mentor.

The 2019 winners are:

  • Tania Moore, Curator, Sainsbury Centre, Norwich offered £80,000 to acquire sculptors’ drawings and works on paper by international women artists.
  • Uthra Rajgopal, Assistant Curator (Textiles and Wallpaper), the Whitworth, the University of Manchester offered £38,600 to develop the gallery’s collection of South Asian textile artworks by female artists.
  • Lucy Creighton, Curator of Archaeology, Yorkshire Museum, York offered £50,000 to diversify and strengthen the Yorkshire Museum’s collection of pre-1600 archaeology and numismatics through a holistic approach to collecting.
  • Ben Miller, Assistant Curator of Ceramics, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent offered £25,000 to build a collection exploring the 300-year history of North Staffordshire ceramics created for and used by the hospitality industry.
  • Natalie Kane, Curator of Digital Design, V&A, London offered £35,000 to research and collect examples of digital design.
  • Louise Boyd, Japan Foundation Assistant Curator, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh offered £40,000 to acquire a number of ehon, Japanese woodblock-printed illustrated books.
  • Emily Riddle, Assistant Curator, The Hepworth Wakefield offered £30,000 to collect post-war ceramics by artists associated with the Central School of Arts and Crafts.

Over the past five years, the scheme has awarded over £1.5 million to support 30 UK curators in building museum collections in imaginative and visionary ways. These have included the formation of a fine art collection of LGBT+ culture and history, a collection of work exploring war and the digital, and the acquisition of work by black artists exploring issues of race and diversity.

The New Collecting Awards are made possible by a number of generous individuals and trusts including the Wolfson Foundation, the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, the Coral Samuel Charitable Trust and the Vivmar Foundation. This latest round of funding, worth almost £300,000, includes a ring-fenced award to give a curator a mandate to build a pre-1600 collection for their museum, supported by the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts. This funding will go towards the project at Yorkshire Museum by curator Lucy Creighton.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund director said, ‘An important part of being a curator today is drawing out the potential of their museums’ collections and considering how best to develop them in new ways. The New Collecting Awards give some of the UK’s rising curatorial stars the opportunity to diversify their institutions’ holdings, bringing benefit to a widening range of audiences and helping our museums to thrive.’

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