Art Fund announces new funding for curatorial networks

  • 26 February 2019

Our curatorial network grants will provide funding to support Subject Specialist Networks and other curatorial networks in sharing expertise across the museum sector.

Curators Sarah Rothwell, Kate Newnham, Hannah Jackson and Eleanor Clayton in conversation at The Hepworth Wakefield © Andy Smith

Curators Sarah Rothwell, Kate Newnham, Hannah Jackson and Eleanor Clayton in conversation at The Hepworth Wakefield

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© Andy Smith

On 25 February 2019 we launched a new funding programme to help Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) and other curatorial networks develop and share knowledge, skills and resources.

Our curatorial network grants are open to SSNs and other curatorial networks – defined as professional communities which share interests in curatorial specialisms, collections and/or exhibition-based practices – to help them capitalise on opportunities to develop and expand their activities, collaborate and innovate.

There are two categories of grant available – small grants of up to £5,000, and large grants of more than £5,000 – and we have £150,000 in total to give annually.

Art Fund is committed to supporting curatorial leadership and the sharing of expertise across the sector, and these grants form part of an overall pledge to deliver an additional £500,000 of funding to support UK curators. Also within this pledge is the recently announced support for curators to attend the AAMC Foundation Conference in New York, and the fifth round of our New Collecting Awards, which will provide £300,000 to empower some of the UK's most talented early-career curators to build new collections for their museums.

The curatorial network grants have been designed in direct response to research previously carried out by Art Fund which confirmed a decline in the number of curatorial and subject specialist roles in UK museums over the past decade.

Coupled with a tendency for museums to replace retiring subject specialists with more generalist curators who have responsibility for multiple collection disciplines, the research revealed, among other priorities, a need to ensure that subject specialism and expertise is accessible and shared as widely as possible among museum professionals.

The curatorial network grants grants are designed to help networks:

  • capitalise on opportunities to develop and expand their activities
  • develop and share knowledge and skills relating to subject-specialism, professional skills and public engagement
  • collaborate with each other and with museum audiences
  • innovate, test new ideas and share their findings
  • create tangible public outcomes

Find out more and how to apply. The first deadline for applications for large grants is 24 April 2019. Small grants can be applied for at any time.