The first grants from the initiative have been awarded to institutions that have demonstrated innovative approaches at a very difficult time. The selected sites range from contemporary art galleries to museums of local history, transport, science, technology, design, arts and various other aspects of culture.

Unveiled in June, the Respond and Reimagine programme was conceived to offer funding of between £10,000 and £50,000 in order to mitigate the immediate and longer term impacts of Covid-19.

“We were inundated with applications to Respond and Reimagine, evidence of the vast need amongst museums and galleries whose funding models have been shattered by this crisis,” explains Jenny Waldman, director of Art Fund.

“It is hugely encouraging to see ambitious and creative proposals from museums all over the country who are passionate about serving their local communities and engaging audiences, despite very challenging circumstances and devastating loss of income. Our help has never been in greater demand and we are grateful to Art Fund’s members and donors to our #TogetherForMuseums campaign, whose generosity allows us to support museums.”

114 organisations submitted applications, varying in focus from offering provision for schools and young people; supporting local communities; and maximising equality, inclusion and diversity within audiences, programming and artistic practice.

Awards special recognition – Jan 2021- Mid article banner

Respond and Reimagine recipients

The successful applicants for first round funding are:

  • Aerospace Bristol, Bristol: £30,000 to create a new interactive online platform, transforming unique archive material and community stories into a digital storytelling experience
  • Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath: £40,000 to support their campaign Forward to the future, a blend of digital and traditional activity to adapt to Covid-19, including the development of a new app
  • The Box, Plymouth: £25,390 to supply visitors with a loaned stylus so they can safely interact with the exhibits and develop digital assets
  • Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth: £40,000 to support an exhibition and digital project to engage the communities of Ceredigion in recording their experiences of COVID-19
  • Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff: £40,000 to deliver a visual art exhibitions programme in 202122, support staffing and the creation of a new digital engagement programme
  • Collective, Edinburgh: £40,000 to use insight from programming in response to Covid-19 to renew the organisation, commissioning research and digital projects with artists and audiences to improve the organisations’ civic role
  • Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee: £44,759 for a broad package of support towards recovery, implementing measures to support audiences, digital engagement and workforce affected by Covid-19
  • Florence Nightingale Museum, London: £45,934 for a project drawing attention to Nightingale’s health legacy in connection to Covid-19, and for the setting up of an interactive guided experience to manage social distancing, whilst immersing visitors in Nightingale’s world at the time of her bicentenary
  • The Foundling Museum, London: £37,000 to adapt to the new normal, focusing on the hyper-local to build new partnerships, increase collections access and engage with the community
  • Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast: £38,000 to support the reopening of the gallery, enhance operations and staffing for the future and continue to support the visual arts in Northern Ireland
  • Jaywick Martello Tower, Clacton-On-Sea: £23,000 towards creating safe access to a unique heritage space in an area of low cultural provision and moving their programme online
  • National Civil War Centre, Newark: £40,000 to adapt their schools learning programme to a blended offer of film, objects travelling via loan boxes, 3D printed artefacts and live streamed sessions and workshops
  • National Glass Centre, Sunderland: £40,000 to reimagine and adapt their glassmaking experiences offer, support new income generation opportunities and encourage visitors to return
  • The National Videogame Museum, Sheffield: £40,000 to support their National Videogame Gallery, a key digital development facilitating collections access and online learning
  • The Novium Museum, Chichester: £21,646 towards an ambitious collections-based digital learning programme in response to the challenges Covid-19 poses for primary schools, consisting of virtual field trips and digital interpretation of their Roman Gallery
  • Side Gallery and Cinema, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: £20,000 to install outdoor exhibitions in marginalised communities, create a virtual cinema season of screenings and talks and collect photography that documents Covid-19
  • Void Art Centre, Derry/Londonderry: £30,000 to support the online expansion of their learning and community outreach programme Void Engage
  • Wycombe Museum, High Wycombe: £35,000 towards a new pop-up exhibition space and community hub in a shopping centre in High Wycombe, improving collections access and trialling new ways of working

A total of £1.5 million will be awarded in Respond and Reimagine grants across three rounds. The programme forms part of a broader £2 million package of adapted funding, new partnerships and digital activity to support museums through the pandemic – all of which is informed by Art Fund’s Covid-19 Impact Report.

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