The Collecting Challenge - full report published

  • 25 October 2006

The Art Fund has published the full report of its UK-wide research into acquisitions.

The key findings – first published in May of this year - reveal a crisis in funding but also a lack of will on behalf of central and local government to support collecting.

The research, undertaken with the support of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, is the first authoritative study of UK collecting. It took a detailed look at collecting activity in UK museums – of all types, and across all regions – over the last five years. The research reveals that many museums are no longer adding to their collections, mainly because of an acute lack of funds, and exposes massive gulfs between different types of museum and across the regions:

  • 70% of respondents say they mainly acquire new material by gift, meaning that most museums are  passively acquiring, not actively collecting
  • Only 10% of UK museums allocate a fixed proportion of their income for collecting, and 60% of museums were unable to allocate any income for collecting last year
  • The three ‘poorest’ regions in terms of value and volume of purchases are the East and West Midlands and the East of England

In direct response to our findings, The Art Fund has launched an exciting new collecting initiative, specifically targeted at the areas of greatest need. The new scheme, Enriching Regions: The Art Fund Collecting Scheme, will mean up to £45,000 is available to museums in the East and West Midlands and the East of England to help develop their collections. 

Read the full report.