Funding, News

New Collecting Awards help curators to expand and diversify museums’ collections

Today we announce £300,000 in funding to help grow and diversify museum collections, awarded to rising curators through Art Fund’s New Collecting Awards.

Five UK curators have been announced as the latest winners of the New Collecting Awards and will receive funding to pursue projects that build and diversify their museums’ holdings. Art Fund's New Collecting Awards give curators 100% funding to research and buy works that grow collections in new directions or deepen existing ones.

This year’s awards will enable museums such as the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, to collect contemporary works by indigenous artists and address the colonial history of collections, and the National Galleries of Scotland to commission new photographic portraits that reflect the diversity of Scotland’s population.

Each recipient is being allocated a budget for acquisitions, as well as funding for research, travel and training costs, plus the ongoing support of a mentor and Art Fund staff and trustees.

The 2020 winners and their projects are:

  • Louise Pearson, Curator (Photography), National Galleries of Scotland, who will address the gaps in Scotland’s national photography collection by acquiring photographs of underrepresented groups of people, using Scotland’s census data to identify said groups.
  • Marenka Thompson-Odlum, Research Associate, Pitt Rivers Museum, is collecting new works by indigenous artists from around the world to interact with the colonial past of the museum’s collections.
  • Andrew Ferrara, Project Curator, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery, will build a collection of exemplar medieval East Anglia coins, from the 7th to 12th century, to expand the numismatic collections of the museum and deepen the understanding of the region’s medieval history.
  • Xiaoxin Li, Curator (China), V&A, is researching and collecting contemporary Chinese studio craft from the 1980s to today, expanding the museum’s expertise on a field significantly under-represented both inside and outside China.
  • Catherine Troiano, Curator, National Photography Collections, National Trust, will develop a collection of photography since the 1970s that represents diverse experiences of British heritage. Collecting will focus on emerging and established photographers working in Britain, whose work engages with varied perspectives of identity, land and history.

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, and the Coral Samuel Charitable Trust. This latest round includes a ring-fenced award to give a curator a mandate to build a pre-1600 collection, supported by the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts. This funding will go towards the project at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery by Andrew Ferrara.

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