BBC Civilisations Festival

In March 2018 the BBC will be running the Civilisations Festival, an exciting partnership between museums, galleries and libraries across the UK to coincide with the broadcast of BBC Arts’ Civilisation series in Spring 2018.

(L-R) Historians David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama will be featured in BBC Arts’ Civilisation series, BBC

The new television series is inspired by the original Civilisation programme which was presented by the art historian Kenneth Clark in 1969. This series explored the history of western art, architecture and philosophy and is now being revisited in the new series which features historians David Olusoga, Mary Beard and Simon Schama. The series will take inspiration from the original programme but will expand the scope to discover the visual culture of societies around the globe.

Art Fund is delighted to be offering grants to museums, galleries, libraries and archives who will be participating in the BBC Civilisations Festival. Grants are available to support public engagement activities which will showcase the fantastic holdings within UK public collections whilst exploring the theme of ‘civilisation’.

Please note: applications for this funding programme are now closed. We will be in touch with those who have submitted applications in January 2018.


We encourage applications from organisations who:

  • Are a signed-up Civilisation Festival Partner who will run public engagement activity as part of the BBC Civilisations Festival
  • Will deliver project activity which has your audiences and a broad section of the public in mind
  • Explore the theme of civilisation with reference to your own collections. Your ideas might spark debate around the topic of civilisation and could encourage a range of activity. Questions your project could explore surround identity, what makes a civilisation, or exploration of how different ideas have shaped culture across time
  • Will use the funding to enhance activity or deliver projects which are felt to be innovative within the context of your own organisation and the broader sector
  • Consider the longer term legacy of the activity beyond the Festival dates of 2-11 March 2018

Applicants do not need to incorporate digital activity to apply for a grant, however as part of the BBC Civilisations Festival a range of digital tools have been developed by the BBC for Festival partners to access. An aim of the festival is to experiment with digital technology that can find new ways of telling stories and engaging audiences. If your project makes use of the following tools, please detail this in your application:

  • The BBC’s Taster platform
  • Interactive 360 video tools
  • Low-cost live video broadcasting
  • BBC Archive – Festival partners are being offered free access (rights permitting) to the BBC Archive. Applicants may wish to consider how they might make use of these resources in their own projects

Who can apply?

UK public museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives that are:

How much can you apply for?

Small grants of up to £1,000 are available. We are happy to consider supporting 100% of the costs for a small project or offer funding towards a larger project where other funding is secure.

Any costs linked to delivery of project activity, apart from core salary costs, are eligible. It will be possible to consider fees charged by consultants where the costs are directly linked to project delivery. When applying please indicate if your organisation can reclaim VAT.

Key dates

The programme will open for applications on Thursday 16 November 2017.

The application deadline is Thursday 14 December 2017.

Successful applicants will be notified by 22 January 2018.

The festival will run from Friday 2 March to Sunday 11 March 2018, but your project activity can include events which take place beyond those dates.

How can I get involved with the festival?

You do not need to receive funding from Art Fund to participate in the BBC Civilisations Festival and there are plenty of ways for your organisation to get involved, and for members of the public to participate in the activities planned across the UK.

Find out more and how to sign up on the BBC’s website

Branding will be supplied so festival partners can let visitors know that the event is part of the Civilisations Festival all events listed on Museum Crush.

How to apply

Applications for this funding programme are now closed. We will be in touch with those who have submitted applications in January 2018.

If you have any queries please contact .

Back to top