John Ellerman Foundation: Grants to Regional Museums and Galleries Fund

Congratulations to the AIM members who received grants in the second round. The third round of grants from the John Ellerman Foundation is now open and applications close 9th October. The following is from a press release issued by the John Ellerman Foundation.

John Ellerman Foundation is pleased to announce the results of the second round of grants to regional museums and galleries. Six grants totalling £539,062 were made to a range of institutions at different stages in their lifecycle. They look after a rich mix of collections, from natural history, fine art and social history, serving rural and urban areas.  A full list is on the next page.

The fund responds to the economic and other pressures faced by cultural institutions outside London. It aims to strengthen regional museums and galleries, by supporting curatorial development to attract a broader public. We were looking for proposals with new ways of working for curators, evidence of strong partnerships and a lasting legacy.

Lakeland Arts, Cumbria, received  £90,000  in Round 2

Lakeland Arts, Cumbria, received £90,000 in Round 2

Trustees were delighted with the response. We received 54 very good applications, compared to 39 last year (c.30% increase). The longer lead time and greater awareness of the Fund is likely to have contributed to the surge in proposals.

The panel found it difficult to choose between some strong applications, and eventually visited six. The visits were highly enjoyable and we met some stimulating people.  The calibre of work was such that all were awarded a grant. The success rate at the initial stage was 13% (just under one in eight).

We continue to benefit from the specialist advice of two outside experts. There remains an annual application window, rather than accepting proposals throughout the year as with our other, responsive grantmaking.  This means that we could consider the applications and grants as a group, which helped shape the final portfolio.

We have commissioned an evaluation of the programme in order to learn from this new approach. This aims to capture the grantees’ collective experience of delivering the funded work and identify any examples of best practice which could inform the work of the museums sector as a whole.  It will also reflect on the role of JEF as a funder in the museums sector and where this programme fits in the funding environment for museums and galleries.

The third round is now open, with a closing date of 9 October 2015, with decisions to be made in March 2016. Applicants should therefore plan for work to start on or after April 2016.

Our budget for 2015/16 is £482,000.  We expect to make four or five grants.

The fund’s criteria will remain broadly the same. Please see the foundation’s website for full details and how to apply www.ellerman.org.uk

The programme was originally set up to run for three years.  During this third round we will begin to take stock of our experience, and use the learning from the evaluation to inform our thinking about our long term approach to funding regional museums and galleries.

Bowes Museum, County Durham, received £89,250 in Round 2

Bowes Museum, County Durham, received £89,250 in Round 2

List of grants approved

Lakeland Arts, Cumbria

£90,000 over three years towards the Cumbria Museums Consortium Curatorial Skills Development Programme, which will provide training, share knowledge to strengthen collection care and loans programmes for museums across the region.

Bowes Museum, County Durham

£89,250 over three years, towards the salary of an early career curator of Fine Art to work closely with the Auckland Castle curatorial team and Durham University to develop, research the collections, disseminate the knowledge and raise the profile of Spanish Art in Durham.

Gainsborough’s House Society, Suffolk

£84,000 over three years towards core costs, specifically the salary of  the ‘Keeper of Art & Place’ to develop the ‘Art in Suffolk’ initiative with museums across the county, by sharing professional art curatorial skills and training to help the county’s museums make the best use of their art collections.

Manchester Museums Partnership 

£97,882 over two years towards a programme of curatorial development, to enhance knowledge, skills and confidence in the use of the four partner museums’ collections of Islamic art, fabric and other objects.

Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton

£92,505 over two years towards the ‘Film Pioneers’ project, which will better understand and display this important film and media collection which illustrates the seminal role Brighton & Hove played in film-making in the 1890s and early 1900s.

Bristol Museums Development Trust

£85,425 over two years towards the costs of South West Museums Natural Sciences Project which is a dedicated programme of training and professional development to enhance curatorial skills across the region.

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