2021 Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund awardees - Museums Association

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2021 Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund awardees

We’re delighted to announce the 2021 recipients of funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. Through our 11 years of running the fund so far, we’ve given out over £11 million in grants to 162 projects.

In 2021 we ran two rounds of funding. In response to changing needs from museums during the pandemic, we offered grants for two purposes, both up to £90k over around two years.

Museums applied to either:

  • Test new, ambitious, creative collections engagement that has a social impact; or
  • Use experience of participatory practice to develop new models of collections engagement with communities living with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Successful projects awarded December 2021

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, £89,915 for “Extinction Silences: exploring legacies of colonial violence and new ecological possibilities”, a project to develop a new model of collaborating with Bristol communities impacted by legacies of colonisation and young environmental activists, to examine silenced colonial histories of ecological crisis.

Dulwich Picture Gallery, £86,767 for “Community-led action research at Dulwich Picture Gallery: discovering new ways for Old Master paintings to connect and speak to contemporary society”, an action learning project to build connections with local communities to uncover key themes previously unexplored with the collection.

Dundee Industrial Heritage, £55,000 for “Creative Communities Network: A New Approach to Involving Communities in Interpretation and Collections Planning”, a project to create a network of partners to connect young people and people with disabilities with collections related to arctic exploration, and work with them to feed into planning, development and delivery of a new climate change gallery.

National Museums Northern Ireland, £80,187 for “Global Voices Local Choices” to bring diverse cultures and perspectives into NI local and national museums, empowering people to make choices relating to world cultures collections and how they are interpreted.

Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust, £50,000 for “Discovering our Dioramas: Understanding our natural world at the Booth Museum”, a project to address the challenge of climate change in the 21st century using a unique bird diorama collection and the work of 19th century collector Edward Booth.

Salisbury Museum, £87,828 for “Fashioning Our World: exploring historic fashion to inspire a sustainable future”, a project to create a new model of working with young people to explore sustainability through historical fashion collections and share this model with the wider museum sector.

Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, £90,000 over 24 months for “Readying our Collections, Engaging Audiences and Delivering Social Impact”, to use social prescribing to reduce loneliness and isolation through work with archaeology and prehistory collections.

The Hunterian, £90,000 for “Power in this Place: Unfinished Conversations”, a project to embed anti-racist, participatory approaches that will create opportunities for engagement, debate and reflection that have positive impact on participants.

The Scottish Crannog Centre, £54,470 for “Engaging Vulnerable Women and Families in Perthshire with Prehistoric Pottery Collections”, to deliver a series of community engagement activities to vulnerable women and families inspired by the collections, and to co-curate with them.

UCL Culture, £63,780 for “Tutankhamun the Boy: Growing Up in Ancient Egypt” a project to facilitate child-led exploration of childhood at the ancient site of Amarna through the lens of childhood today both in modern Amarna and East London.

Successful projects awarded July 2021

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, £90,000 for “Swansea Stories”, a project to use its collections relating to Swansea to create more truthful, inclusive “cultural memories” for the people of Swansea.

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, £84,480 for “Democratising the collections for the 21st Century”, a project to develop a new model of working with communities to establish community participation in museum decision-making. Participants will undertake a collections review and rationalisation, reinterpretation, and contemporary collecting.

Paxton Trust, £90,000 for “Parallel lives, worlds apart”, exploring historical slavery-related collections at Paxton House and connecting 21st century lives and African, Caribbean and other minority diaspora communities.

Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, £89,815 for “Whose books are these anyway?”, using co-curation of their children’s literature collection to empower children and young people to interrogate and shape the landscape of children’s books.

St Paul’s Cathedral, £90,000 for “Challenging History”, a community engagement project bringing poly-vocal narratives to the interpretation of St Paul’s Cathedral’s monuments and imperial connections. It will build meaningful relationships with a wider and more diverse audience and enhance understanding of the collection.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery Trust, £89,350 for “Once Upon a Planet”, a project to use natural science collections to inspire, engage and advocate around the climate crisis through people-centred engagement, with a particular focus on young people and primary school aged children.

Wolverhampton Arts and Culture, £65,000 for “Living with Difference”, a project using its contemporary Black art and historic world collections to facilitate conversations around identity, home, belonging and heritage in a multicultural city.

Image: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Tiia Monto, CC-BY-SA 4.0

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