Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund

Fund will provide more than £3.75m to projects that bring collections closer to people

UPDATE: We would like to reassure current and potential grantees that we will continue to be flexible during this period of uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund supports a range of projects that bring collections closer to people. 

We award the fund on behalf of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to projects that demonstrate the significance, distinctiveness and power of collections to people.

The fund has awarded £9.7m to 136 projects since it launched in 2011. Most recently, we have awarded 23 Sustaining Engagement with Collections grants to support work that responds to the Covid-19 pandemic by finding ways to share collections while traditional and physical access is not possible.

The timelines for our Innovation and Engagement (£90k over 2-3 years) and Strategy and Development grants (£250k over 5 years) have changed due the Covid-19 pandemic. In late 2020 we will award c.£500k of Innovation and Engagement grants: some that have been carried forward from our spring application round, and some from our current open call for applications with a deadline of 14 September 2020.


Strategy and development grants will be awarded in 2021 to give applicants opportunity to reflect on how their plans need to change as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The map above illustrates a range of projects previously funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund


Please contact Sally Colvin or Sarah Briggs for advice on eligibility for the fund and help to develop applications: 

Sally Colvin, Programmes Manager:, 020 7566 7851 

Sarah Briggs, Collections Development Officer:, 020 7566 7834