Timothy A Long, curator of fashion and decorative arts, and Dr Danielle Thom, curator of making, inside the costume store at the Museum of London. Photo © Andy Smith

Art Fund unveils curatorial fellowship scheme

Simon Stephens, 20.07.2018
Programme will offer 22 curators a share of £600,000
National fundraising charity the Art Fund has launched a programme to help curators develop their collections knowledge.

The £600,000 scheme is a collaboration with the Headley Trust, one of 16 Sainsbury family charitable trusts. The three-year programme will enable 22 curators across the UK to undertake a fellowship.

The Headley Fellowships with the Art Fund scheme is for mid-career and experienced curators who will be given time away from their day-to-day responsibilities to carry out in-depth research into their museum’s collection. Funding will be given to backfill their post either full-time for six months or part-time for a year.

The guidance for applicants says: “The scheme is intended to support fellows in museums that are facing the most acute funding challenges, especially local authority museums, independent museums and those operating in the regions.

"National museums based in London are not eligible to apply directly, although we welcome and encourage their involvement as partners in collaborative projects. We will accept applications from national museums outside London where they can make the case for meeting the aims of the fellowships.”

Applicants are nominated by their institution and need to be curators, or have curatorial responsibility. They must be employed by an Accredited museum and can work with any kind of museum collection.

Applications are now open via the Art Fund website and the closing date is 15 October. Successful curators for year one of the programme will be announced early next year.

The scheme comes at a time when public spending on museums and galleries in England has declined in real terms by 13% over the past decade. Museums reliant on local authority funding have been hit the hardest, with cuts averaging 30% over the past five years. According to a 2018 Museum Association study, 34% of local authority museums reduced the number of full-time staff in the past year alone.