Applications will open later this month for a new UK-wide programme to support small and mid-sized museums to collaborate with communities to create touring exhibitions.
The first phase of Going Places, which is coordinated by the Art Fund, aims to establish five networks of museums that will receive capacity and training to support new approaches to community engagement and exhibition planning. Each network will include three to five museums and produce two touring exhibitions over the next five years.
Although not a grant-giving programme, Going Places museum partners will be able to apply for up to £500 to support their participation. The networks will also have access to funding to cover costs such as travel, community engagement events and external consultants.
The initial phase has been made possible thanks to a £252,839 development grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Art Fund's development phase budget is about £400,000, and it intends to apply for a full lottery grant of £2m at a later date.
“Through this project, these museums will be able to support one another in developing their skills and resources to plan towards their future, particularly bolstering their programming through touring exhibitions,” said Eilish McGuinness, the chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
“We are looking forward to working with Art Fund to support the initial phase of the Going Places programme and seeing how the benefits of this project can be extended further in support of our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone’s future.”
The Art Fund has also announced that the Weston Loan Programme will continue until 2027 following a £1m grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation. The scheme, which enables smaller museums to borrow significant works from major collections, was first launched in 2017 and has delivered seven rounds of funding, awarding £1.28m to 78 museums.
Art Fund will deliver three further rounds between 2023 and 2027, with applications opening on 23 October.
Jenny Waldman, director of the Art Fund, said: “Through our growing range of support for collaborative initiatives, Art Fund recognises the value of touring and sharing collections as one of the most inclusive and sustainable ways of bringing art to new audiences.
“These initiatives, along with Artist Rooms and Magnet, are taking further steps towards our vision where everyone in all corners of the UK has the opportunity to access remarkable art on their doorstep.”
Applications for Going Places will open on 29 August. More information is available on the Art Fund website.