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New Collecting Awards

These awards provide funding for early-career curators to pursue new avenues of collecting for their museums and build critical professional skills.

Through the New Collecting Awards we aim to support the next generation of curatorial leaders across the UK.

The awards offer 100% funding for focused collecting projects, enabling curators to expand museum and gallery collections into exciting new areas or deepen existing holdings in imaginative ways.

Awardees also receive a generous funding allocation for research, travel and training, plus the support of a mentor, Art Fund staff and our trustees.

Take a look at some of the collecting projects made possible through the New Collecting Awards.

Who should apply

We welcome applications from curators who are:

  • in the early stages of their career, or who have had limited opportunities to collect
  • employed by or working in partnership with museums and galleries that hold at least provisional accreditation

We will also consider applications from freelance curators or researchers, provided you can demonstrate that you will be officially affiliated with a fully or provisionally accredited museum or gallery for the duration of your project and that your participation will have a longer-term institutional impact.

In your application you will be expected to demonstrate why receiving a New Collecting Award would benefit not only your museum/gallery and its collections but also, crucially, your own professional development in a way that would not otherwise be possible.

With support from the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, one award will be ring-fenced to give a curator a mandate to build a pre-1600 collection for their museum.

Selection process

Awardees are selected via a two-stage process.

Applicants must first submit an expression of interest. Shortlisted applicants are then invited to interview.

Full details can be found in Guidance for applicants.

Funds available

Awards typically fall between £50,000 and £80,000.

You can apply for any amount but will be expected to demonstrate that the sum is reasonable and proportionate in relation to the type and number of works you propose to collect.

The allocation for professional development is ringfenced at 10% of the total sum awarded.

Please note that we retain the right to award a reduced grant for either planned acquisitions or professional development at our own discretion.

Credits and acknowledgments

The New Collecting Awards are made possible by a number of generous individuals and trusts including the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, the Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, the Headley Trust, the KMF Maxwell Stuart Charitable Trust, the Coral Samuel Charitable Trust and the Vivmar Foundation.

Get in touch

You are encouraged to review the Guidance for applicants and contact the Programmes team to discuss your potential project before submitting an application.

Please contact:

Emma Coleman, programmes manager
020 7225 4822
ecoleman@artfund.org

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