Funding Resources

Working internationally, like any strand of museum activity, requires funding.  Financial support might come from an organisation’s core budget, an external source, or more likely a combination of the two.

Given the delicate financial climate of the sector at present, it is important to identify the motivations and expected benefits of working internationally at the start of a project or programme of work so that resources can be used effectively.  Although working internationally can generate income, only occasionally does it create a profitable and sustainable income stream, and often it requires an initial investment of time and resources.  However, it may be possible to cover the delivery costs, which in turn may reap a host of wider benefits for an organisation and pave the way for further international work and partnerships.

Many of the general principles of fundraising also apply to securing funds for working internationally, and this type of work may present a unique and attractive offer with additional benefits for potential supporters.

Working in partnership with UK or international organisations can enable cost-sharing and might open more doors to funding opportunities as financial support is sometimes only available to individuals and organisations from or working with particular countries.  It is also worth contacting international embassies and cultural organisations in the UK, and British Embassies overseas, who in addition to offering support and contacts may also consider offering financial support.

The following pages do not provide an exhaustive list of funding opportunities for working internationally but provides a starting point for exploring the range of options available.  Click on each link below for further information.

General fundraising information
Arts Council England funding
European funding
Funding for international travel
Trusts and Foundations


WIRP International Travel Grant Scheme

ICOM UK and its partners in the WIRP are delighted to announce the successful applicants to the WIRP International Travel Grant Scheme.

A total of £12,000 for six grants was available under the scheme, which was oversubscribed with applications.  The WIRP hopes the number and standard of applications will demonstrate to sector funders and supporters the value and need for small amounts of seed funding to enable non-national museums to undertake international visits to develop projects and partnerships.

The successful applicants are:

Beamish Museum – part-funded to make a reciprocal visit to Sovereign Hill Museum in Ballarat, Australia to develop a partnership focussed on innovative business practices in open air museums to enhance sustainability and resilience.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery – part-funded to visit to the Natural History Museum in Jamaica to develop a collaboration based on shared collections and historical ties between Bristol and Jamaica, which will deepen engagement with the Jamaican community in Bristol.

Craven Museum & Gallery – funded to visit Simback am Inn, Germany to develop a heritage town twinning project based on the shared understanding of what life was like in both towns during the First World War.

Fashion & Textile Museum – funded to travel to Gallarate and Milan, Italy to develop exhibition exchanges.

Haslemere Educational Museum – funded to visit Stockholm, Sweden to develop collections knowledge and profile, and explore developing an EU partnership project.  Read the trip report here.

Horniman Museum & Gardens – funded to travel to Lagos and Benin City, Nigeria to develop content for a new permanent anthropology gallery and develop a collaboration with the Lagos Photo Festival.

Manchester Art Gallery (Manchester Museums Partnership) – funded to visit Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan to meet artists and develop collaborations with Pakistani museums and galleries.  Read the trip report here.

Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Special Collections – funded to travel to Beijing, China to develop a touring exhibition in collaboration with CAFA Art Museum.  Read the trip report here.

People’s History Museum – funded to visit Copenhagen, Denmark to undertake peer learning with The Workers’ Museum and The Labour Movement Library and Archive, and explore the potential to develop international collaborations with other WORKLAB museums.

Royal Cornwall Museum – funded to travel to Pachuca and Real del Monte, Hidalgo Province, Mexico to develop a collaborative project involving FE and university partners in Cornwall and Mexico, leading to a physical and digital exhibition in both countries that draws on a shared mining history, and developing a model for working with Cornish diaspora communities internationally.

As the scheme received a number of applications for less than £2,000 then the WIRP Project Board has been able to award more than six grants.

The successful applicants will undertake their international visits in 2016.  They will blog on the ICOM UK website during their visits, and provide reports and images that the WIRP will include in its online resources.  A workshop or round table will be organised in early 2017 to share the experience and learning from the visits.