Arts Council reopens two funds with £5.1m to enhance sector diversity and sustainability

Main Image: Warwickshire Libraries Fantastic Fun with Words Festival

Arts Council England has opened the second round of the Elevate Fund, designed to strengthen the resilience of diverse led arts and cultural organisations that are not in receipt of regular funding

The funding body has also opened the third round of the Designation Development Fund to improve sustainability and extended the reach to libraries for the first time

Elevate Fund

Elevate was developed to increase the number of diverse led organisations successfully applying to National Portfolio investment rounds.

The fund will continue to focus on organisations led by black and minority ethnic and disabled people, who are underrepresented in the portfolio and the wider arts and cultural sector.  Of the 40 organisations supported by the first round of Elevate in 2016, 20 went on to join the 2018-22 National Portfolio.

Abid Hussain, Director of Diversity, Arts Council England, said: “I’m delighted that we are announcing the launch of a second round of Elevate after the success of the initial programme launched in 2016. Elevate has had a significant impact in terms of diversifying the leadership of our current National Portfolio and I am confident that the second round of the programme will support Arts Council England to continue its commitment to further diversify the portfolio in the future, to better reflect the communities we serve across the country.”

The fund will support successful applicants to build capacity to deliver plans, develop new partnerships and increase levels of contributed and earned income.

Organisations, including accredited museums and libraries, that are not in receipt of National Portfolio funding can apply for grants between £75,000 and £100,000 with a total of £3m available. Application is a two-stage process and the deadline to submit an Expression of Interest is 12pm (midday) 23 May 2019.

Application guidance has been published on the Arts Council England website here.

Download descriptions of the 40 successful applicants in the first Elevate round here.

Designation Development Fund

Arts Council England has also announced the third round of the Designation Development Fund, which aims to support the long-term sustainability, and maximise the public value, of collections held in museums or libraries recognised by the Designation Scheme.

For the first time, designated libraries will be able to apply for grants between £20,000 and £90,000, for activity starting no earlier than 1 January 2020 and ending no later than 31 March 2022. A total of £2.1 million is available in this round, drawn from Arts Council England’s National Lottery funding.

The Designation Development Fund is specifically designed to support designated collections to offer sustainable research opportunities. Funded activity might include bringing in specific subject expertise, digitising collections to enhance research value and improve public engagement, and improving curatorship by making changes to collections management systems.

The deadline to submit applications is 12pm (midday), 20 June 2019; guidance for applicants and case studies from previous rounds of the fund have been published on the Arts Council England website here.