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Art Fund New Collecting Awards will expand UK's collections
Timothy A. Long, Curator of Fashion & Decorative Arts and Dr Danielle Thom, Curator of Making, inside the Costume Store at the Museum of London. © Andy Smith 2018.

LONDON.- Today Art Fund announced that four ambitious UK curators will receive funding to expand their museums’ holdings through new avenues of collecting. This year’s New Collecting Awards - the seventh round of grants in the scheme - will enable the Museum of the Home to collect objects that reflect the true diversity of London and tell stories of migration, build the holdings of films at the Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, raise the visibility of trans identities through the acquisition of new works for the V&A’s collection and expand the British Library’s Arabic collection through the acquisition of contemporary graphic novels, zines and other objects.

The scheme has awarded 39 curators a share of over £1.8 million over the past seven years. A total of £149,725 was awarded in this round, providing each curator with a budget for acquisitions alongside funding for research, travel and training, as well as mentoring support.

Jenny Waldman, Art Fund director, said, “The New Collecting Awards are a key part of Art Fund’s commitment to the development of curatorial talent. We are delighted to support these brilliant projects that will allow the UK's world-class museums to tell more inclusive and diverse stories and help make their collections more relevant to their audiences and communities”.

Aiming to support curators and their professional development, the New Collecting Awards provide individuals with funding to research and buy works that will grow their museums’ collections in new directions or deepen existing holdings. The programme responds to the need for ongoing collections development in museums, underpinned by curatorial experience, vision and ambition.

The 2022 recipients are:

Louis Platman, Assistant Curator, Museum of the Home, London

Louis Platman aims to collect objects that will broaden the stories told in the Museum of the Home’s Rooms Through Time galleries to represent the diversity of London and tell stories of migration. These galleries recreate living spaces from the 1600s-1990s and are currently mostly representative of the white middle classes. Working with the local community, Louis will explore stories including those of West African migrants, who are now the largest ethnic minority in Hackney, and create new rooms including a multi-occupancy Jewish tenement flat, which would have been common in the area in the 1930s.

Kari Adams, Curatorial Assistant, The Pier Arts Centre, Stromness

Kari Adams’ project aims to establish a new body of artists’ films building upon The Pier Arts Centre’s Collection, which currently includes works by pioneering Orcadian filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait, as well as films by Katy Dove, and a recent commission by Rosalind Nashashibi. The project will develop holdings of films that link to the Modernist concerns of the Collection by artist filmmakers, which will enrich and unfold the legacy of moving image and the narrative surrounding the creativity of filmmaking through twentieth and twenty-first century culture.

Zorian Clayton, Assistant Curator, Prints, V&A, London

Aiming to improve the visibility of trans identities in the V&A’s collection, Zorian Clayton will research and build the collection of works by trans and non-binary artists, focusing on contemporary artists working in Europe and the Americas over the past century.

Daniel Lowe, Curator of Arabic Collections, British Library, London

Through network-building in the Middle East and North Africa, Daniel Lowe will build the collection of modern and contemporary Arab visual cultures by established and emerging artists in the region, as well as diaspora communities. The project will focus on book-objects and other printed matter including artists’ books, comics, graphic novels, zines, photo books and ephemera that will expand and diversify the British Library’s existing Arabic collection. The project will benefit from the expert mentorship and guidance of Dr. Zeina Maasri.

Previous New Collecting Awards have supported projects that have resulted in:

• exhibitions like Counted: Scotland’s Census 2022, opening at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in March 2022

• acquisition of works by world-renowned artists like Zanele Muholi (acquired by National Museums Liverpool) and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (acquired by The Bowes Museum)

• the New Collecting Awards have also contributed to Yorkshire Museum’s recent acquisition of the Ryedale Hoard and Touchstones Rochdale’s acquisition of work by female artists including Sutapa Biswas, Rachel Kneebone, Anthea Hamilton, and Helen Cammock.

The New Collecting Awards are made possible by a number of generous individuals and trusts including the Wolfson Foundation.

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