Art Fund

Art Fund unveils summer funding plans worth over £2m to the sector

Image: © Marc Atkins/Art Fund

New project grants worth £2 million, a collaborative scheme to distribute £175, 000 among small or medium-sized museums and the return of Headley Fellowships are all part of Art Fund’s summer plans to support a sector reeling after the “toughest year in living memory”.

The UK arts charity has today opened applications for its new £2 million Reimagine grants scheme, designed to support museum and galleries during the next phase of pandemic recovery.

Awards ranging between £5,000 and £50,000 will be made over three rounds; the first closes for applications on 5th July, with two others following in August and October.

The initiative will aim to support projects large and small at museums, galleries, historic houses, arts-focused archives, libraries, festivals and biennials, as well as a range of professional networks within the sector.


Reimagine grants will prioritise applications zeroing in on collections, digital, engagement and workforce, having been devised in direct response to Art Fund’s survey of over 300 museum directors in the UK.

Its work will also seek to build on the charity’s hugely oversubscribed Respond and Reimagine funding, which provided £2.25 million in grants to 67 organisations last year.

“Museums have endured their toughest year in living memory and have done incredible work in reopening safely and welcoming back visitors,” notes Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund.

The charity, she continues, is “once again responding rapidly to their [museums’] evolving needs, and through the exceptional generosity of our members and supporters we’re delighted to allocate £2 million in 2021 to our new Reimagine grants”.

Any institution with “creative ideas for a sustainable future”, Waldman concludes, should definitely consider applying.

Sustained support

In addition to the Reimagine programme Art Fund is reprising a partnership with Museum Development UK (MDUK), which will see £175,000 distributed among small and medium-sized museums across the UK.

This fund will be administered by MDUK and partners Museums and Galleries Scotland, the Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Museums Council.

Further, Art Fund is today opening applications for the third round of Headley Fellowships. The sought-after scheme, backed by The Headley Trust, has helped curators expand specialist skills and develop expertise since its inception in 2018.

Eleven fellowships will be offered, each with a value of £27,500. This funding enables participants’ posts to be back-filled for up to six months while they focus on new research into collections.

The Headley Trust’s Helen McLeod says the organisation is “delighted to be supporting a further round of the Headley Fellowships”, primarily because the Trust “strongly believes that curatorial research and expertise lie at the heart of the imaginative ways in which museums engage with a wide public”.

Among past projects facilitated by the scheme have been a comprehensive redisplay of collections at Nottingham Natural History Museum, new exhibitions such as Displays of Power: A Natural History of Empire at UCL Culture’s Grant Museum of Zoology, and the publication of books like Headley Fellow Karen Logan’s Curating Conflict: The Troubles and Beyond.

More information on the new Art Fund initiatives can be accessed below: