Art Fund’s UK Curatorial Scheme Increased By £100k In New Round

The Art Fund has announced that applications are open for a second phase of the New Collecting Awards, the charity’s landmark funding programme that enables the next generation of museum and gallery curators to apply for funding to support the acquisition of works of art for their collections.  Up to £400,000 is now available to be shared between successful applicants, a £100,000 increase since last year’s launch following the huge demand in round one. 

New Collecting Awards help museums and galleries develop their fine and applied art collections by offering 100% funding for collecting programmes that extend holdings into new areas, or deepen existing holdings in imaginative ways. The programme responds to the reality that successful collections development in our museums requires a combination of expertise, experience, vision and ambition. Award recipients also receive a specific funding allocation dedicated to their own professional development, to spend on research, travel and training costs, plus the ongoing support of Art Fund staff, trustees, and a mentor.

The first round of the New Collecting Awards saw five curators each receive a budget to pursue a completely new avenue of collecting in their museums in London, Liverpool, Durham and Edinburgh.   Proposals included the formation of a fine art collection of LGBT culture and history, a collection of Modernist jewellery, and a collection of work exploring war and the digital.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “We are so grateful to all supporters of the New Collecting Awards for providing even more funding for the second round.  Round one brought huge interest and many applications from a variety of museums and galleries, reflecting the sector’s needs and wishes to help along curatorial careers. Our first round New Collecting Awardees have already commented on the positive impact their award has had on their professional development, and we look forward to welcoming a second wave of ambitious curators and seeing how their projects develop.”

The first round recipients were: Mariam Rosser-Owen, Curator Middle East at the V&A has been awarded £50,000 to build a collection of contemporary applied art from the Middle East. 

Mentors: Venetia Porter, assistant keeper (curator), Islamic and contemporary Middle East, British Museum, and Tanya Harrod, design historian, critic and author. Hannah Jackson, Assistant Curator of Fashion & Textiles at The Bowes Museum, County Durham, has been awarded £60,000 to build a collection of French haute couture. 

Mentor: Judith Clark, fashion curator and exhibition-maker and Professor of Fashion and Museology, London College of Fashion. Sara Bevan, Curator of Contemporary Art at IWM (Imperial War Museums) London has been awarded £80,000 to build a collection of work exploring the theme of war and the digital.

Mentor: James Lingwood, co-director of Artangel. Charlotte Keenan, Curator of British Art for National Museums Liverpool has been awarded £60,000 to build a fine art collection relating to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) culture and history.  Mentor: Ben Harman, director at Stills: Centre for Photography, Edinburgh. Sarah Rothwell, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Design at National Museums Scotland has been awarded £50,000 to build a collection of Northern European Modernist Jewellery circa 1945-1979.  Mentor: Dr Beatriz Chadour-Sampson, jewellery scholar, author, and curator;  visiting tutor at the RCA;  consultant to the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Royal Collection

The New Collecting Awards are made possible through the generous support of a consortium of funders, including the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, The Headley Trust, The Ruddock Foundation for the Arts, Richard Reed, and other contributions from private individuals.

The Art Fund is looking for applications from curators employed by fully or provisionally accredited museums or galleries, to build focused and ambitious collections of fine and applied art.  Ideally applicants will be in the early stages of their career or have previously had limited opportunities to collect.  Applicants will be expected to demonstrate why receiving a New Collecting Award would benefit not only their museum and its collections, but also their own professional development in a way which would not otherwise be possible.

In the second round of the scheme, up to a total of £400,000 will be available to be shared between successful applicants.  The deadline by which to submit an Expression of Interest is 4 September 2015. Selected curators will then be invited to present to the New Collecting Awards Panel in November 2015.  Applying curators will be expected to demonstrate that their requested funding sum is reasonable and proportionate in relation to the proposed types and number of works they wish to collect.

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