ACE Funding Bid-writing Support

We are please to be able to extend our bid-writing support offer to museums to work with Laura Drane, who usually delivers our popular bid writing workshops, to receive individualised support to apply to Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants & Developing Your Creative Practice programme.

The tailored support of 30-45 minute slots can be offered one of two ways (please choose which one you would prefer):

  • an advice slot, involving a discussion about the scheme/s and application processes in relation to your circumstances, including any questions that remain after you have read the guidance


  • proofing what you’ve already drafted to offer feedback

To book one of the advice slots, we need you to confirm the following:

  • When you are aiming to submit your application
  • How you want to be contacted (phone / Zoom / GoogleMeet / Skype)
  • Contact name, email, phone number (and Skype username if wanting to use that; email alone is fine for Zoom or Google Meet)

To book Laura to have your draft proofed and feedback given, please send it to Alex Bird via email with the following info:

  • When you are aiming to submit your application
  • Contact name, email, phone number

Slots will be allocated on a first come, first served basis so do book or send your draft as soon as possible.

For more information, or to book a slot, please contact Alex Bird with the above information at

Please note that the deadline for applications to the Developing Your Creative Practice programme is 12pm on Thursday 18 February.

In terms of approaches to and tips about bidwriting, see Laura’s previous guest blog.

Please note that this support is only available to those working or freelancing in museums in the North West which are non-NPO Accredited museums, or those officially Working Towards Accreditation in the North West.

Decolonising Collections: Curatorial Research Network Call for contributions

Manchester Art Gallery © Andrew Brooks.

From The UAL Decolonising Arts Institute:

Decolonising Collections is an emerging curatorial research network led by UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute in partnership with the Arts Council Collection, British Council Collection and Manchester Art Gallery Collections, generously supported by the Art Fund Professional Network Grant scheme.

The network will focus on 3 virtual connected research residencies, hosted remotely and digitally by the Arts Council CollectionBritish Council Collection and Manchester Art Gallery Collections.

Three curatorial researchers will be awarded bursaries of £5,000 each, to support c.25 days of collections-based research undertaken flexibly on a part-time basis over a 9-month period through 2021. The virtual residencies will interrogate specific aspects of the three collections’ practices, policies, histories, holdings and objects through critical and creative strategies that engage decolonial thinking/doing and address questions of decolonisation. The network/residency programme will culminate in an online digital display and related e-publication.

Residencies will be largely remote while lockdown restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical access arrangements to the three collections are under constant review in accordance with government guidance. As such, proposals should not rely on physical engagement with the collections and need to be adaptable to the rapidly changing circumstances. Curatorial researchers may propose, for example, to work primarily with digital artefacts (digital research sources, digital art works or digital assets of art works), and/or the narrative practices and interpretative processes around the collections, and/or specific acquisition or exhibition histories.

We welcome proposals that focus on a specific collection or aspect of a collection, and/or a specific artwork(s), with approaches that may challenge, for example, dominant narratives of identity, nation, culture, language, heritage, Britishness, Eurocentrism, Westernisation, modernism, feminism, radicalism, activism, whiteness, blackness, race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, age, belief, and the politics of institutional memory and silence.

Key dates

  • Deadline for submissions: 14 February 2021, 5pm
  • Online interviews: 19 February 2021
  • Residency period: March – November 2021
  • Digital display and e-publication: December 2021

How to apply

Decolonising Collections – Curatorial Research Network call document [PDF, 214KB]

Application form [MS Word, 814KB]

Job Opportunity: Pankhurst Trust

Job Opportunity: The Pankhurst Trust (Incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid)
Job title: Volunteer Coordinator
Salary: £21,077 per annum (Pay review pending)
35 per week
Contract: Fixed Term for 2 years
Closing date: midnight 22 February 2021

From the Pankhurst Trust:

About us:

PTMWA is a women-led organisation whose vision is to ensure that people, suffering, or at risk of domestic abuse receive appropriate support. We assist recovery by providing safe accommodation, specialist support services and by working in partnership with other agencies. We also run the only museum dedicated to telling the story of women’s fight for the right to vote at our Pankhurst Centre headquarters.

We are a diverse organisation with 28% of our staff coming from BAME and 20% from LGBT communities. We span the generations with 11% of staff being aged 18-24 and 25% aged 55-64. 11% of staff identify as having a disability.

Our staff, volunteers and service users have recently taken time to reflect on who we are and what we do when we are at our best. This reflection showed that we can proudly claim to be: 

Courageous by challenging inequalitystepping forward and making change

Affirming by supporting and inspiring, paying attention to discover what matters

Generous by sharing our skills, creating energetic positive links, and thriving together

Rooted by being secure in our communities, participating and nurturing a sense of belonging

About You:

You will be a pro-active, reliable individual who reflects the values of PTMWA in all that you do. Your experiences, whether in paid or voluntary work, will enable you to fulfil the role requirements but it is your attitude and character that will make you a successful team member.

You will enjoy a challenge and actively participate in delivering and developing services of the highest standard. You will be an experienced and enthusiastic team member who has good communication skills. You will be experienced in administration and be able to work to deadlines, prioritising busy workloads. You will use your initiative to identify areas that can improve the administration and development of the volunteer programme.

About the role:

We welcome applications from people seeking part-time (17.5 hours) work as well as full-time (35). All roles are subject to a DBS check and we seek 2 x references, 1 of whom must be your current employer if applicable.

Volunteer Coordinator – 1 role available

The organisation seeks to appoint a skilled individual to lead the effective implementation of the organisation’s volunteer strategy including recruitment, induction, training, support and supervision of all volunteers. You will be required to manage the volunteer rota ensuring adequate cover for all activities and events. You will manage relationships between volunteers and the organisation. You will prepare reports for Board of Trustees and Management. You will capture outputs and inputs through monitoring the volunteer programme by completion of registration forms, monitoring forms and evaluation forms. You will be able to communicate with a range of people from volunteers to service users and partner organisations via telephone, email and letter. Ultimately you will ensure the efficient and smooth operation of the volunteer programme.

This role has been assessed and confirmed as open to women only under the Equality Act 2010, schedule 9, part 1

To Apply: Application packs can be obtained by emailing: 

Application forms should be returned to: by midnight on 22nd February 2021. Interviews will be held on 25th March 2021. If you have not heard from us by 22nd March 2021, your application has been unsuccessful.

For information in alternative formats (for example, in braille, large print or an electronic format), please email

You can also contact us by telephone on: 0161 820 8414.

Nice Things for Museum People: Online CPD Part 2

After last week’s musical interlude we’re back to business and with many people currently furloughed, you may now have the time to undertake some Continuing Professional Development (CPD), so we thought we’d pull together another list of training opportunities available to the sector.

As usual with these ‘Nice Things’ blog posts we hope they will help you feel that you’re staying connected with us and the North West museums sector in some way during lockdown. Read them if they’re helpful to you, ignore them if they’re not

But here’s the small print first – if you’re furloughed there are strict rules about what you can and cannot do, including undertaking training, so before you book a place, check the Government guidance first.

We’re a big fan of themes and lists here at MDNW, so we thought to make things easier we’d break down the training into various categories for your ease:

Social Media

Facebook Sales Funnels Explained

Using TikTok and Instagram to Diversify your Audiences

Digital engagement

Marketing to Family Audiences

Google Tag Manager

Making the Most of your CRM System

Telling your Organisation’s Story

Making Great Video on your Phone

Google Analytics and your Audiences

Running virtual work-based programmes for young people

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

AIM’s Hallmarks at Home: Tackling Inequalities

Intersectional GLAM EDI courses

See EDI guide from West Midlands Museum Development

Fundraising / bid-writing

Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy courses

Dealing with difficult people / having difficult conversations

Challenging conversations and how to manage them (not museum specific but relevant)

We’re always looking for new events to post about, so do let us know if you see anything interesting (or funny such as the vast array of comedy workshops that are being delivered over the next few months!).

And once you’ve mastered TikTok let us know how it works, we still think Twitter is cutting edge!

Consulting Opportunity: Promoting Equality at Port Sunlight

Job Opportunity: Port Sunlight Village Trust (PSVT)
Project title: Promoting Equality at PSVT
£7,500 (+ VAT)
Contract: Begins late March/early April 2021 – Commission should conclude by July 2021.
Closing date: 10am Thursday 4 February 2021

Port Sunlight Village Trust are seeking a commission to promote equality and diversity and to embed these principles within the Trust.

To view the full brief and to learn how to apply, please click here.

Sporting Heritage – Understanding Audiences Survey

Do you have a sporting heritage collection? If so, then Sporting Heritage are interested to hear from you.

Sporting Heritage ( is the Subject Specialist Network for sporting collections in the UK. They work to ensure that there is support for those working with these collections to better understand, collect, share, research, and celebrate the vibrant collections and stories which exist.

They are being supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver Diverse Collections/Diverse Audiences. A linked programme of pilot activities for the sporting heritage sector to investigate the current reach of sporting heritage across the UK, and put into place future activities which increase both the access to collections, and the relevance and representation of voices within those collections

The Understanding Audiences strand of this programme aims to gain a better understanding about the audiences which engage with Sporting Heritage Collections across the UK.

To help them build a picture of how and why audiences engage they are seeking responses to a new surveyUnderstanding Audiences Survey ( The survey takes about 30 minutes to complete.

MDNW coronavirus update

Here’s our round up of news about COVID-19 relevant to the sector from this week. These are up to date at the time of posting but please check the original source for any updates. 

Latest government information
Latest information and advice (22nd January)

Arts Council England National Lottery Project Grants
National Lottery Project Grants are open for applications. Until April 2021, the fund will focus on the needs of smaller independent organisations and individual practitioners. The fund will also focus more on activity that gives organisations the time to think, plan and test new ideas. For the first time with this fund, ACE will be able to invest in activity where the route to public engagement may take longer, and may take place beyond the boundaries of the activity you apply for.

MDNWCulture Recovery Fund Grants bid-writing support
We have extended our bid-writing support offer to museums to work with Laura Drane on applications to the Culture Recovery Fund Grants. Slots are available on a first come first served basis, for museums in the North West which are non-NPO Accredited museums or those officially Working Towards Accreditation.

In light of the impending deadline the support offered may be limited to feedback via email only, to allow applicants to make the necessary changes to meet the submission date.

National Lottery Heritage Fund National Lottery Grants for Heritage
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has resumed accepting small and medium project funding applications. This National Lottery funding is part of their ongoing commitment to support the UK’s heritage sector respond to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), to adapt and thrive again.

Grants between £3,000 and £100,000 will provide financial assistance for organisations working with heritage to build their resilience.

Association of Independent Museums AIM Hallmarks Grants
A new round of AIM’s Hallmarks grants; this year grants of up to £10,000 are available to support AIM members address the new Tackling Inequality Hallmark. Deadline 31st January 2021.

The Heritage Alliance – Rebuilding Heritage
The Rebuilding Heritage programme is providing free 1-2-1 and group support for individuals and organisations in the heritage sector in business planning, communications, fundraising, legal issues, leadership and wellbeing.

Applications for Round 3 (to receive support Mar-Apr) close on 2nd February 2021. 

The programme is coordinated by The Heritage Alliance and will be delivered through a partnership with Clore Leadership, Creative United, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, and Media Trust. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

GEMSelf-led school trails toolkit
This toolkit on developing effective self-led school trails has been updated to include Covid-19 guidance.

To look back at any of our previous blog posts and their links, find them on our website using the search term ‘coronavirus’.

MDNW Collections Care Support programme 2020-21

St Mary's Church in Preston, which now houses the Lancashire Conservation Studios.
St Mary’s Church in Preston, which now houses the Lancashire Conservation Studios.

We know many of you have been working hard throughout this challenging time on collections development projects and preparing new exhibitions ready for reopening.  MDNW are working with the team at the Lancashire Conservation Studios (LCS) to offer bespoke collections care advice to North West Accredited museums and those officially working towards Accreditation between January and the end of March 2021. 

The team at LCS have over 30 years of experience with specialisms including conservation of Easel paintings, Objects and Natural History material. The Studios support seven museums that are part of the Lancashire County Council’s Museums Service as well as supporting museums in the region and beyond with their collection care, transport and display needs.

To request support with your collections care issues (up to 3 hours support time per organisation), please email Kaye Hardyman at with an outline of the help you require. A member of the LCS team will then get in touch with you to set up a consultation discussion.  Please note that site visits will only be made under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of LCS and in line with the Covid restrictions guidance and law in place at the time.

What might you ask for help with?

Perhaps you need advice on environmental monitoring or control? Perhaps you would like advice on how to improve storage of a particular collection? Are you looking for advice on how to safely display a particlar object? Do you have signs of pest damage on collections and need some advice on how to deal with it?

What should you submit with your support request?

  • Organisation name, contact name/role/email and phone number
  • Senior Manager approval (name and role)
  • The area/s of collections care support you are requesting support with e.g., Storage, Housekeeping, Display/ Handling / Use, Pest Management, Conservation, Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Control, Training Advice
  • A brief description of the support you require
  • If the support request relates to a particular collection or material type

By submitting a request, you are agreeing that MDNW can pass on your contact details to LCS to enable the team to contact your organisation directly.

Job Opportunity: AIM Director

Job Opportunity: Association of Independent Museums (AIM)
Job title: Director (Chief Executive)
Salary: c£65,000
Location: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire / Flexible
Closing date: 8 February 2021

AIM are seeking a strong, commercial and innovative new Director to move the organisation forward. This appointment is being led by the Chair of AIM and Chief Executive of the Black Country Living Museum (BCLM).

For further information about the role and to apply, please click here.

Freelance Opportunity: E-commerce Delivery

Freelance Opportunity: The Big Draw
Project title: E-commerce Delivery
Contract: 7 weeks in total throughout February and March 2021
Closing date: 6pm on Wed 3 February 2021

The Big Draw is seeking a freelancer to undertake work that will develop the charity’s capacity for increased on-line sales and digital revenue streams for 2021. They are looking for a ‘hands-on’ and creative individual for this role who will utilise their entrepreneurial skills and sales acumen to support thier plans for the charity’s sustainability.

To see further details and to download an application pack, please click here.