TWA Digitisation Grant 2023: Judges top tips for gaining funding


APPLY NOW: View the grant application form here

How are we halfway through the TWA Digitisation Grant period already? It seems ludicrous to say it but it’s true, the deadline of 28th July 2023 is fast approaching and downloads of the grant application continue! If you have a collection that you would dearly love to see digitised then make sure you are one of them! 

So now we find ourselves at an ideal point to share a little insight into what our three judges are looking for in a winning grant application. Every year our dedicated and experienced panel share details of what they personally are looking for in a stand-out TWA digitisation grant application and every year they continue to be overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of projects they find before them. 

For those who haven’t downloaded an application form yet, there is still time to apply and we genuinely take great pleasure in reading every single submission, so do keep them coming. 

Applications need to demonstrate the following criteria.


Heritage Need

Heritage value, uniqueness, and importance of the collection.

Social / Community Impact

How local people and communities will benefit from the collection.

Research Value

Whether academic, social historians, genealogists, or other researchers.

Improved Accessibility

Accessibility plans for your collection, such as platforms, preservation, and websites.


During their time working with the TWA Digitisation Grant, our judges have developed their own unique thoughts on what makes an application really jump out of the page. Here they share a few hints and tips to help yours do the same:


John's top tips:

  • I am open to any applications that have made real attempts to stand out and capture my attention, so consider me ready to be persuaded by your application.

  • Don’t assume that I know anything about your particular archive or area, and don’t let the word limit stop you including vital, compelling information. If your archive is ‘world class’, tell me why. I’m here and waiting; I want to know more.

  • A standout application is one that gives itself a real chance; that means an application that has ticked all of the scoring boxes. It can be the most wonderful project in the world, but if areas of the application have not been completed fully it can’t be considered. This would probably be one of my main pieces of advice.

  • I would say that my outlook has remained consistent and the great thing about having a panel is that it offers balance. The events of 2020 have not changed what I would consider a deserving application.






Claire's top tips:

  • I love a good story! If you can get me hooked on the story of the material to be digitised I am far more likely to fall for your project.

  • The project needs to be grounded in reality – a project that is about local history is unlikely to attract world-wide attention. So be realistic about who will find your material interesting and then maximise the story (see the comment above!)

  • A project plan that is based on need – why do you want to do this project? Can you show that the community (in whatever form) needs the project to happen?

  • An engagement strategy that includes interesting ways to use the material that is being digitised. I want to know who will be involved in the project and how you will be engaging with them; and what impact this can have on them.

  • The past few years have seen massive changes to how heritage is understood and used - with Covid, the Climate Emergency, Brexit and now the cost of living crisis, it would be really interesting to see how these major events are affecting your thinking for this project.

  • By the way, did I say that I love a good story? I want to be excited to see the material in the images or on the website – I want to know more.



Casper's top tips:

  • Just like last year, TWA are offering match funding to every applicant on a first come, first served basis. This is great news and I expect that it will lead to even better quality applications. It will make our job, as judges, even more challenging as we search for projects that really stand out. So my first tip would be to read ALL of the judges’ tips, as well as the grant entry criteria, and make it as easy as possible for the judges to spot yours. Basically, tick all the boxes!

  • And on the subject of ticking boxes, it's important that your reasons for digitisation are fully considered, explored, and detailed. Whether that be preservation, reproduction, engagement, accessibility, or perhaps the less glamorous (but no less important) functions, such as admin tasks, workplace efficiency, or enabling collaboration.

  • Finally, once digitised, I personally would like to see how the content is going to be used. There's an opportunity here to breathe new life into these digital assets and to showcase them in innovative ways. You may not have a fully-fledged plan, or any kind of system/mechanism for doing this, and that's fine, but some well considered thought here is definitely worth the effort

It's not too late!

For more details and to apply, please watch the video below and then visit our TWA Digitisation Grant page! Also, make sure to sign up to our blog for all grant-related news and resources!

APPLY NOW: View the grant application form here

Get started on that application form today and don’t hesitate to contact us with any digitisation grant queries and questions you may have. Remember, all completed applications should be submitted by 28th July at 11.59pm (BST). The winners will be announced on 30-31 August 2023 at the ARA Annual Conference


Good luck from all of us at TownsWeb Archiving!

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