Art Fund announces £1.8m of new Reimagine grants for projects at 45 museums and galleries across the UK
Creative workshops for migrant children in Northern Ireland, a national archive for Trans Pride, a major exhibition celebrating Black British women artists, and the development of accessibility of collections through BSL and multisensory tours, are just some of the 45 bold and innovative projects supported in the latest round of Reimagine grants.
From Focal Point Gallery in Southend-on-Sea to Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast, cultural organisations across all four nations have been awarded £1.8m in Art Fund’s latest round of Reimagine grants.
The funding provides vital support for the industry, enabling museums and galleries to reimagine engagement with audiences by developing access, expertise, and digital capacity.
Among the 45 projects to be supported:
Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast hopes to substantially improve its engagement with hard-to-reach audiences in marginalised communities. Through the use of visual art in creative workshops and free multilingual art packs for children, the project will create connection, build confidence and enhance wellbeing among communities in need, many of whom are refugees, migrants, and new arrivals to Northern Ireland.
The Museum of Transology is establishing the Trans Pride UK Collection, a national archiving project bringing together the trans community and museums and archives across the UK. The cross-country network will work to collect, celebrate, save and share the culture of trans, non-binary, and intersex people’s lives, building local partnerships and collections by connecting local trans archivist volunteers and museum partners.
‘Capital of Play’ at Tŷ Pawb in Wrexham will bring artists and children together as genuine co-producers to explore the role of the arts in engaging young audiences in the civic decision-making which impacts upon their lives. The project aims to support emerging creative talent across north-east Wales and advance the Arte Útil movement in Wales.
Using digital media, V&A Dundee will create new ways for visitors to engage with their building, increase understanding of exhibitions and collections, and increase accessibility through the development of immersive multimedia tours, including a new audio described way-finding guide and BSL tours, innovative multisensory tours, new interactive interpretation of objects, and tours in foreign languages. The project will make the temporary and permanent exhibitions more accessible and inspire people through design in fun, innovative ways, creating new offers which will help boost the museum’s audiences.
Walker Art Gallery, part of National Museums Liverpool, will use its grant for ‘Black Girl Magic’, a research and collecting project, culminating in a major exhibition celebrating Black British women’s creativity from 1970 to today. It will address the ‘double invisibility’ of Black British women artists in public collections and established art histories, and decolonisation of curatorial methods.
Tramway will bring contemporary art to green spaces across the southside of Glasgow through a series of Art in the Park commissions, with an associated public programme including a walking trail to encourage local people to explore and engage with the commissions. Tramway is an arts venue operated by Glasgow Life, a charity which works to benefit the people of Glasgow through culture and sport programmes and events.
Since August 2020, £6.25m has been granted to over 100 organisations delivering bold, brave and experimental projects. The first round of Reimagine grants were part of an effort to support organisations to deliver projects or activity that would provide a positive change in offering new or improved ways of working during and as part of the longer-term response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In 2022, the funding programme was designed to help museums re-engage audiences lost during the pandemic, reach new people and deepen relationships between museums and their visitors.
In this latest round, 135 organisations submitted applications requesting anywhere between £10,000 and £50,000 per project, with a total ask of £5.3m, demonstrating the continued level of need in the sector. Art Fund remains committed to responding to the challenges museums and galleries are facing.
Jenny Waldman, Director, Art Fund, said: 'We are delighted that Art Fund can provide millions of pounds to support museums directly engaging audiences in exciting and innovative ways. It’s an enormously challenging time for museums with a real risk that the current economic climate will stifle creativity. Museums are facing huge energy bills for their buildings and cost of living wage measures to help retain their expert staff just as they endeavour to recover their pre-pandemic visitor numbers and income.'