Curatorial and Collaborative Opportunities with the British Museum

Abigail Millican, 20.05.2019

The British Museum National Programmes team are pleased to be working with South West Museum Development (SWMD) to offer a new partnership opportunity to Accredited museums and cultural heritage organisations across the South West. This forms part of the Knowledge Share programme at the British Museum, generously supported by the Vivmar Foundation.

The British Museum aims to support curatorial research and collaborations between colleagues across the UK museum sector. Curatorial staff benefit from focused visits with access to relevant collections to further their research and learn from sector peers. Time spent researching collections remains essential for developing exhibitions and potential loan requests, and we seek to make more support available for this early-stage work.

Working in partnership with SWMD, the British Museum has made available a pilot year of funding for 2019, designed to support curators to develop ideas and further their research by covering the direct costs of research visits and facilitating collaboration between colleagues.

We seek proposals from Accredited museums and cultural heritage institutions in the South West of England wishing to undertake a curatorial research visit to the British Museum in the current financial year 2019/20. We hope to support collections research tailored directly to the interests, exhibitions projects or organisational priorities of those taking part. Priority will be given to projects with the potential to lead to a loan request or exhibition collaboration; however, we do not expect proposals to contain definitive project outputs.

A total of £3,500 is available and we aim to support c. 4 or 5 proposals. We are unable to cover staff time, but expect the majority of the funding to be used to cover the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence during the visits. We anticipate that most visits will be made to the British Museum, but are open to ideas that include collaboration with / visits to other UK organisations as well. Proposals can be made by individual colleagues on behalf of an organisation, or as part of a consortium.

We particularly welcome proposals for research which would support a potential loan request from the British Museum, as prospective borrowers are encouraged to carry out preliminary research before making a loan request. The Museum welcomes informal, early contact to discuss object selection and the practicalities of borrowing, as set out in its loan guidance online. We hope that this pilot fund might support this process.

Please submit a proposal of no more than 500 words to Roz Bonnet by Monday 17th June with the following information:

  • Museum, name, job title and contact details of the staff-member(s) who would lead / undertake the proposed visit(s)
  • Aim, focus and purpose of the visit(s) e.g. What collections are you choosing to focus on and why? How does this link into and support your work at your organisation? What do you hope your research visit may lead to? Do you already have a working relationship with relevant staff at the British Museum, or collaborative projects underway with us?
  • Estimated timeframe and budget needed

This funding opportunity is a pilot and designed to be a flexible, responsive approach to providing ‘seed funding’ for the development of ideas. There is therefore no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to approach the application! Successful projects will be selected based on the overall strength of the proposal, and capacity within the relevant teams at the British Museum. If you have any questions or would like to discuss ideas before submitting a proposal, please contact Roz Bonnet, Programme & Projects Officer, South West Museum Development at [email protected] in the first instance.

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