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Harpsichord (The MET Collection: 89.4.2929a–e)

Funding for freelancers - opportunities from ACE

On 19 August 2020 Museum Freelance ran a webinar with Isabel Churcher, Senior Manager, Museums, Arts Council England (ACE). She talked about the opportunities for museum freelancers to access ACE's Project Grants, what ACE is looking for and tips on applying.

We were delighted to hear that ACE includes conservators in its list of 'creative practitioners' who are eligible for funding (in addition to the list of dancers, choreographers, writers, translators, producers, publishers, editors, musicians, conductors, composers, actors, directors, designers, artists, craft makers, and curators.) So, after the webinar we asked Isabel if she had any further advice for conservators.

Advice and encouragment from Arts Council England:

ACE is keen to support freelancers in the cultural sector especially during these challenging times. For the first time, freelance conservators can apply to Arts Council England (ACE) for grants to deliver conservation projects in Accredited Museums.  

Until April 2021, you can apply for 100% of your costs too. The fund is focused on delivering quality work with a public benefit, either in the short term or part of a longer term plan. We’re delighted that this fund can support conservators and the important contribution that they make to the museums sector.

The open access fund is called National Lottery Project Grants.  Applications can be submitted at any time, those under £15,000 will receive decisions in 6 weeks, and for those over £15,000 it will be 12 weeks.   There is a separate information sheet about working with museums.

We ask for information about your project and how you can demonstrate the quality of your work.  This can be done simply by sharing and explaining examples of recent work and any other partners involved.  To be eligible, applications need to show how your work will have benefit for the public. As we know, the public can be fascinated by conservation work, the treatments used and information discovered.  This is a great opportunity to explore how you can promote and share your work.  In addition, we ask for information about the finances and management of your project.  Currently we’re removing the need for 10% match funding, so you can apply for 100% of your costs.

If you’re interested in applying for National Lottery Project Grants or have queries, please contact the customer services team. We would like to highlight successful case studies on the ACE website to promote this opportunity so do please get those applications in!

Isabel Churcher, Senior Manager, Museums

You can also watch the recording of the webinar.

Image: Harpsichord (The MET Collection: 89.4.2929a–e)


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