Headley Fellowships with Art Fund

A programme designed to provide experienced curators with the time and resources to carry out research projects deepening specialist knowledge and expertise around their collections. It has been made possible with support of the Headley Trust.

Timothy A. Long, Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts and Dr Danielle Thom, Curator of Making, inside the Costume Store at the Museum of London Photo © Andy Smith

This new curatorial fellowship programme intends to encourage and facilitate imaginative and high-quality museum projects that bring wider engagement with and understanding of the treasures held across the UK’s public collections.

Headley Fellowships with Art Fund aims to give curators the time and resource to work with focused areas of their collections, deepening collections expertise within regional museums and sharing specialist knowledge across the sector. Deadline for applications is midnight on 15 October 2018.

At its heart the programme aims to:

  • Encourage the production of ambitious and high-quality museum projects which have collections at their core.
  • Give curators the time and resources needed to develop specialist knowledge and expertise relating to focused parts of their collection.
  • Invest in museums across the UK and their curators, empowering them to realise exceptional ideas for communicating with a spectrum of audiences.
  • Broker new productive relationships between museums and curators across the sector to support future collaboration in other areas.
  • Facilitate an enhanced flow of expertise and skills across the sector by feeding into established mechanisms for knowledge sharing (such as subject specialist networks).

What are we looking for?

Applications will ideally:

  • Result in the delivery of a significant public outcome for the museum.
  • Involve research into a part of the collections that a museum may not have the specialist expertise to use effectively, or where that specialist provision has been lost.
  • Propose a considered approach to developing the curator’s knowledge, skills and expertise.
  • Present a plan for disseminating knowledge to institutions and colleagues across the sector.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of knowledge-sharing activities, and we encourage applicants to be creative and ambitious with their proposals.

Who can apply?

Applicant curators should be nominated by their institution, demonstrating a commitment to advancement of specialist knowledge across the organisation. Applicants should normally meet the following criteria:

  • Curators, or those with curatorial responsibility, employed by accredited museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries or archives.
  • Curators working with any kind of museum collection, from fine art and social history to archaeology and natural history.
  • Applicants should have considerable experience within the sector and are likely to be mid-career and working at a relatively senior level.

The scheme is intended to support fellows in museums that are facing the most acute funding challenges especially local authority museums, independent museums and those operating in the regions.

National museums based in London are not eligible to apply directly, although we welcome and encourage their involvement as partners in collaborative projects.

We will accept applications from national museums outside London where they can make the case for meeting the aims of the fellowships.

How is the fellowship structured?

The fellowship is budgeted at a fixed fee of £19,250, based on 0.5 FTE for 12 months, as per the MA’s 2017 salary guidelines for senior curator level.

This would provide funding for the museum to backfill the fellow’s post, releasing them to undertake their period of research and development. There is flexibility for fellows to allocate this time in a way that meets their particular needs and makes most sense in terms of their role and the museum’s wider priorities (e.g. full time for 6 months, or part-time for 12 months).

In seeking backfill for the fellow’s post, museums may wish to consider whether there is an opportunity to upskill a colleague in a more junior post within the institution by providing a temporary increase in responsibilities.

Each fellow will additionally receive up to £5,000 towards their proposed training and research project, which can be assigned towards travel, training opportunities and courses of study, the purchase of publications and other resources.

There is also a modest allocation of funds available for fellows to undertake their proposed knowledge-sharing activity.

We are accepting applications for the first round of the scheme and the deadline for submissions is midnight on 15 October 2018.

For more details on what we hope to see in an application, and for information on how to apply, please see our Guidance for Applicants.