The groundbreaking Multaka-Oxford programme was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund

How to apply for a collections strategy and development grant

Launching a new phase of the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund
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.

Based on recommendations in the Empowering Collections report, we have introduced a new type of grant, dedicated to collections strategy and development. 

Grants of up to £250,000 are available for projects running for up to five years to support initiatives that use collections to support the established strategy of an organisation for a long-term benefit. 

This type of grant aims to accelerate the development of museums that are committed to finding new ways to involve their audience and communities with collections. It is designed to help organisations overcome some of the barriers of traditional project funding, so we will offer additional coaching to projects that could benefit from our skills and network. 

How to apply: 

Collections strategy and development grants are open for applications once a year. 

Before submitting an expression of interest, you will need to speak to a member of our team at the Museums Association to discuss your project. Suitable projects will then be invited to submit expressions of interest in May 2020 (6-10 projects), so it is recommended that you speak to staff at the MA well before this deadline.

Key dates:  

  • January-April: speak to Sarah Briggs or Sally Colvin about your idea and obtain expression of interest form
  • May: submit expression of interest 
  • June: our selection committee will create a shortlist of projects
  • September: we will invite shortlisted projects to submit a full application, with the support of MA staff 
  • December: Decisions will be made by our selection committee


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