Guide: Sources of Funding for heritage digitisation projects 2020

 
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Sources of Funding – a quick directory
Last Updated: 15th July 2020

Anyone who has embarked upon or has, indeed, read about any of our many digitisation projects will know that it’s not without its costs. From early collection and transportation of delicate archives, to the digitising, transcription and publishing of that material, careful time and handling adds up and funding can present a real issue.

As a result, TownsWeb Archiving set up their annual grant scheme back in 2017 and demand looks set to keep it rolling for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner and one runner up (three winners for 2020), but there are other funding options available too. So, don’t be dissuaded, we’ve made a quick directory to get you started.

It is our hope that, through funding opportunities, the barriers and obstacles to digitisation will slowly and surely be removed, paving a much smoother journey from physical archives to digital archives and the freedom, security and accessibility that this affords. 

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COVID-19 Update: July 2020

COVID-19 seemingly sprung from nowhere in early 2020 and has since caused unprecedented upheaval and uncertainty across all sectors. Sadly, the heritage sector has been one of the areas worst hit as a result of closures, lockdowns and social distancing measures. Funding has consistently been an issue for organisations, but the priorities for funding have now changed, as have the ways in which organisations are looking to share their content - both remotely and in preparation for further financial challenges ahead. Consequently, a number of funding bodies have made changes to their grants and the process through which they are applied for and approved, in an attempt to meet the crisis where it’s needed most. We have identified some of these organisations and brought them to the top of our list of funding options to try and take some of the legwork out of your research.


New Sources of Funding:

The following are a selection of funding options that cover a variety of needs resulting from the pandemic crisis:

Heritage Emergency Fund
The Heritage Emergency Fund is looking to support organisations at immediate risks, providing stability through the following grants (application forms available until 12 noon, 31 July 2020):-

Grants of £3,000 - £50,000: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/heritage-emergency-fund/3-50k

Grants of £50,000 - £250,000:
https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/funding/heritage-emergency-fund/50-250k


Arts Council England
Arts Council England have recently announced a rescue package of £1.57 billion in grants and loans and, though this is yet to be set out more clearly, it is understood that this will be available to heritage institutions across the UK and will include “bricks and mortar organisations such as theatres, museums and galleries”.

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/blog/governments-arts-culture-and-heritage-rescue-package


Museums Galleries Scotland (MSG) Fund
The Museums Galleries Scotland’s Urgent Response Fund seeks to help independent accredited museums most at risk as a result of COVID-19, making available up to £60,000 to cover core costs.

https://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/funding/urgent-response-covid-19-fund/

The Museums Galleries Scotland’s COVID-19 Adaptation Fund will see up to £7,500 (£10,000 for partnerships) made available to applicant museums, to purchase equipment and provide the training necessary to reopen safely.

https://www.museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/funding/covid-19-adaptation-fund/


Adapted Sources of Funding:

The following funding options consist of existing grants that have been adapted as a result of COVID-19, in attempt to make them as responsive as possible

Townsweb Archiving
The TWA Digitisation Grant opened early this year and has been adjusted to give three winners £3,000 each and an equal chance to “protect, preserve and make accessible their precious holdings”. Shortlisted candidates will each receive an optional £500 of match funding.

https://www.townswebarchiving.com/2020-twa-digitisation-grant/


Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund has adjusted their grant timelines to respond to the impact of COVID-19. They are looking to  award c.£500k of Innovation and Engagement grants with a new deadline of 14th September 2020. Strategy and development grants will then be awarded in 2021. 

https://www.museumsassociation.org/collections/esmee-fairbairn-collections-fund

Should you come across any other useful resources and funding options then, please, do let us know so that we can share these with others. We hope that by working together, as a community, we will see the heritage sector recover quickly and evolve to be stronger than ever before. Good luck and all the very best with your next application.



Sources of funding for Digitisation Projects:

TownsWeb Archiving

The TownsWeb Archiving Digitisation Grant accept applications for UK based heritage digitisation projects. Applicants bidding for the funding awards of up to £6000 (3 x £3,000 for 2020) have ranged from business and local authority archives, national museums and university special collections and public and private libraries and galleries.

Types of Project Digitisation of public and private archives
Opens 19th June 2020 (earlier for 2020)
Closes 20th November 2020
Grants Available Usually:
  • Primary Grant £6,000
  • Secondary Grant £3,000
  • Match Funding £500

For 2020:

  • 3 x Primary Grant of £3,000
  • Match Funding £500
Helpful Links townswebarchiving.com/twa-digitisation-grant


Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust provides funding to support cultural heritage digitisation projects, provided that they support or relate to one of the organisations priority areas where work seeks to make a positive change across the UK, or across one or more of its member countries – England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Types of Project Cultural heritage digitisation projects
Opens Always open but please be aware account registration deadlines apply, so be sure to register on time for each of the following windows:
Closes
  • March
  • August
  • September
Grants Available £10,000 - £150,000+
Helpful Links jrct.org.uk/funding-priorities


Heritage Fund 

An open programme for heritage projects across the UK using revenue generated from The National Lottery to fund digitisation projects and heritage enterprise by not-for-profit organisations and private owners of heritage and partnerships. There are a number of different grants available.

Types of Project Local, regional and national UK heritage projects
Opens Always open (check for changes to terms during COVID-19 where some grants won't open until October 2020
Closes Deadlines for grants over £250,000:
  • May
  • August
  • November
Grants Available
  • £3,000 - £10,000
  • £10,000 - £100,000
  • £100,000 - £250,000
  • £250,000 –£5 million
Helpful Links hlf.org.uk/looking-funding/our-grant-programmes


The Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe

The Rothschild Foundation’s overall aim is to ensure the conservation and preservation of Jewish heritage material. They offer a range of grants for charitable organisations concerned with heritage preservation, including digitisation projects, “provided the application clearly explains the purpose for digitisation”.

Types of Project Jewish heritage projects run by charitable organisations
Opens Spring
Announced  March
Grants Available Education, Archives, Libraries and Museum
Helpful Links rothschildfoundation.eu


Charles Hayward Foundation

The Charles Hayward Foundation Main Grant programme seeks to support projects that are unique and of national importance, inviting applications for UK charities in respect of heritage, preservation and conservation projects. The grant covers funding for pictures, manuscripts, books and objects for public display, use and interest. It also covers the development of libraries, museums and galleries and adaptions of heritage sites for education.

Types of Project Heritage and Conservation
Opens Always open for outline proposals
Closes Quarterly reviews of applications
Grants Available £20,000 - £50,000
Helpful Links charleshaywardfoundation.org.uk/heritage-and-conservation


Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund

The Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund is run in partnership with the Museums Association and awards up to £1.2million per year to projects that “have a strong link between relevant collections and audiences; are able to use the project to contribute to the long-term plans of the organisation(s); and are ambitious, interesting and sometimes exploratory”. There are two types of grant and both have a two stage application process.

Types of Project

Grant 1: Collections Innovation and Engagement Grant

Grant 2: Collections Strategy and Development Grant 

Opens 2 Rounds each year: March & September
Closes September
Grants Available

Grant 1: Up to £90,000 over two years

Grant 2: Up £25,000 over five years

Helpful Links https://www.museumsassociation.org/collections/esmee-fairbairn-collections-fund


The Golden Bottle Trust

The Golden Bottle Trust was established by the bank in 1985 to donate money to a diverse range of UK-based causes and covers the funding to arts, culture and heritage with the aim of, “deploying some of the Trust’s invested capital for positive social impacts”.

Types of Project Projects in respect of arts, culture and heritage
Opens Not stated
Closes Not stated
Grants Available Up to 25% of funds are put towards social investment
Helpful Links hoaresbank.co.uk/golden-bottle-trust


The Pilgrim Trust

The Pilgrim Trust is working to preserve and conserve the UK's heritage through moderate funding made available through two grants open to UK charities for the preservation of such things as artifacts, books, and manuscripts. The Trust considers all applications for funding digitisation projects, but does give funding priority to projects it considers to be of national importance.

Types of Project Two grants available with an emphasis on conserving historical buildings, monuments and collections
Opens This two stage application is always open
Closes Applications considered quarterly
Grants Available
  • Main Grant Fund £5,000 +
  • Small Grant Fund up to £5,000
Helpful Links thepilgrimtrust.org.uk/grants


Marc Fitch Fund

The Marc Fitch Fund offers special project grants which are small and intended to be of last resort for projects that might otherwise fail and have exhausted alternative funding strategies. Applications are considered for the, “cataloging, scanning, transcription and study of significant primary resources”.

Types of Project Heritage digitisation projects for pre-1945 collections
Opens Always open via email submission of brief outline 
Closes Applications considered:
  • March
  • August
Grants Available 2018 awarded 23 grants totalling £69,424.00
Helpful Links marcfitchfund.org.uk


The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust offers funding in respect of UK based archive and library collections through the Research Resources Award scheme and to those working in “a publicly-accessible library, archive, museum or digital repository”. Projects must have “the potential to make a significant difference to health research in the humanities and social sciences”.

Types of Project To develop library and archive material for humanities and social science researchers
Opens Open to email submissions
Closes Applications considered:
  • April
Grants Available Up to £500,000 over five years
Helpful Links wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Humanities-and-social-science/Funding-schemes/Research-resources-awards


Clore Duffield Grants Programme

The Clore Duffield Foundation mainly supports cultural learning in relation to museum, gallery, heritage and performing arts learning spaces for UK charities. A small number of grants are approved each year.

Types of Project Heritage and cultural learning
Opens Always open
Closes Approved:
  • June
  • December
Grants Available £10,000 - £1million
Helpful Links cloreduffield.org.uk/main-grants


The Mercers Company

The Mercers Company offers grants under three key areas: young people & education, older people & housing and church & communities. In order to establish if your project is covered it would be advisable to email them directly with specific details.

Types of Project Projects that fall within one of three key areas
Opens Always open
Closes Considered every four months
Grants Available Up to £25,000 per year.
Helpful Links https://www.mercers.co.uk/philanthropy


Museums Galleries Scotland (MSG) Fund

Museums Galleries Scotland provides support to the sector via strategic investment in order that Scottish museums may develop their work and improve outcomes in four key areas: collections, audiences, sector workforce and sustainability. Funding has been adjusted to take account of COVID-19 and react to immediate need and further funding and changes will be announced in coming weeks.

Types of Project Museums applying for up to three months of core costs for loss of income as well as equipment and software
Opens Opens April
Closes
  • No set deadline during COVID-19
Grants Available
  • Urgent Response COVID-19 Fund - Up to £60,000
  • Digital Resilience COVID-19 Fund - Up to £3,000
Helpful Links museumsgalleriesscotland.org.uk/funding

 

British Academy for Humanities & Social Sciences

The British Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences pledge around £25 million in grants every year on a wide variety of projects. Their grants are primarily post-doctoral research based but digitisation of humanities and social science-based resources have been funded too. When applying for the Academy’s small research grants, “applicants can propose a wide range of possible outcomes from their research. These can include the digitisation of material that will be subsequently made available online.”

Types of Project Projects relating to post-doctoral academic research
Opens Various funds and application dates
Closes N/A
Grants Available Various - it might be advisable to email in the first instance
Helpful Links britac.ac.uk/funding-opportunities


The Wolfson Foundation

The Wolfson Foundation has a long history of supporting the arts and humanities and recognises the importance of the cultural sector, providing grants to charities and organisations with charitable status. The Foundation offers specific funding streams for both the Performing Arts and Museums & Galleries, and will consider funding cultural heritage digitisation projects depending on the significance and importance of the collection(s) being proposed. There are two types of grants: Funding for Places and Funding for People.

Types of Project Funding for Places: Archives, Museums, Galleries and Performing Arts collections
Opens Currently paused due to COVID-19 but funding for schools and universities still apples and this is the current focus
Closes N/A
Grants Available £15,000+
Helpful Links wolfson.org.uk/funding/arts-and-humanities


Arts & Humanities Research Council

The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) offers a number of funding streams that will support the creation of digital resources, with a variety of projects funded, including their Standard Research Grants and Follow-on Funding scheme.

Types of Project Funding for research supporting the creation of digital resources - would suggest emailing in the first instance to see what projects are currently covered
Opens Always open
Closes N/A
Grants Available

Awards up to £100,000

Smaller awards of up to £30,000

Helpful Links ahrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/current


The Foyle Foundation

Supporting UK charities and state schools only, this foundation operates two grant schemes open to heritage digitisation projects. The Main Grants Scheme supports charities whose work covers Arts and Learning, with priority given to sustainable projects offering a service to the general public. The Small Grants Scheme supports smaller charities in all fields providing their annual turnover does not exceed £100,000.

Types of Project Digitisation projects for charitable institutions with an emphasis on sustainability, public benefit and accessibility (Main Grant scheme – learning)
Opens

Small Grants Scheme: June

Main Grants Scheme: Currently suspended due to COVID-19 (further guidelines will be provided July 2020) 

Closes No deadline
Grants Available Not specified but available for email queries 
Helpful Links foylefoundation.org.uk/how-to-apply

 

Funding Scotland

Funding Scotland provides funding for small grants right up to large capital projects across a wide range of areas (to include arts, heritage and building preservation). The website offers a comprehensive search facility and a whole host of funds and grants are available to peruse and apply.

Types of Project Garfield Weston Foundation - arts, heritage and preservation
Opens Currently open
Closes Not specified
Grants Available

A range of grants available for unspecified amounts. Sign up to find out more:

https://fundingscotland.com/search?keywords=&activities=heritage-and-building-preservation&type_of_funding=grant

Helpful Links https://fundingscotland.com/search

 

West Midlands Museum Development

The Small Grant Scheme supports museums in the West Midlands area. Projects invited with the aim of, “improving the services on offer, strengthening sustainability, building resilience and creating new conversations and activity around collections”. The current round is looking particularly for, “applications for digital audience engagement projects which widen access to stored collections”.

Types of Project

Projects that seek to increase access and engagement.

Opens Ongoing rounds
Closes Latest round closed April 2020
Grants Available Up to £3000
Helpful Links https://mdwm.org.uk/news/small-grant-scheme-open/


If you discover any other funds and grants, please do let us know and we will happily include them here for the benefit of others. Funding opportunities are subject to change so, if you find anything to be incorrect or out of date, then please let us know by emailing
jsc@townswebarchiving.com or tweeting @townsweb. Help us to keep this page as relevant and helpful as possible.

If you found this article useful, you might also like our Best Practice tips for Planning a Digitisation Project post.

Good luck with your project!