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Major boost for contemporary art collecting, as the Art Fund announces winners of its New Collecting Awards
Richard Parry, Curator at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool was awarded £80,000 to build a collection of light-based art.

LONDON.- The Art Fund announced the winners of its £400,000 funding programme, which invests in the development of some of the UK’s most ambitious and exciting curators. Through the New Collecting Awards, curators are each given a budget to pursue a completely new avenue of collecting in their museums. For the scheme’s second round these are in Brighton, Edinburgh, London, Cambridge and Blackpool. Five out of six of the awards were presented to support contemporary art collecting. The scheme not only benefits the museums’ collections, but helps the curators to learn at first-hand about the process of making great acquisitions, and contribute significantly to their professional development.

The six winners:

• Richard Parry, Curator at the Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool was awarded £80,000 to build a collection of light-based art.

• Julie-Ann Delaney, Curator at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (SNGMA), Edinburgh was awarded £80,000 towards a project focussing on contemporary performance art, collection care and display.

• Jenny Lund, Curator of Fine Art at Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM), Brighton & Hove, was awarded £80,000 to build a nationally significant and inspiring new collection of artists’ moving image works.

• Rebecca Newell, Curator at the National Army Museum, London was awarded £60,000 to build a collection of contemporary art that explores hidden histories in the British Army.

• Mark Elliott, Curator for Anthropology at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge was awarded £50,000 to build a collection of contemporary works by artists and makers from indigenous communities in India.

• Thomas Hockenhull, Curator: Modern Money, Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum, London was awarded £50,000 to build a collection of numismatic material from socialist and former socialist governed countries.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “Following on from the unprecedented success of the first round, we were able to unlock a further £100,000 of funding for the scheme’s second round. This means we are able to support even more generously some of the UK’s brightest early-career curators. I look forward to seeing how these six innovative and pioneering projects unfold, further confirming the importance of developing and supporting curatorship.”

The six winners were selected from a shortlist who each presented their proposals to a panel of judges.

This announcement follows on from a successful first round of the scheme, which was launched in September 2014. £300,000 was awarded to five curators from London, Liverpool, Barnard Castle (Co. Durham) and Edinburgh. The scheme aims to: offer special acquisition grants to help a new generation of curators hone their skills in developing museum collections and in buying works of art; help museums and galleries extend holdings into new areas, or deepen existing holdings in imaginative ways; promote the value of research-led collecting and foster curatorial expertise at individual and institutional levels, thus enriching museum practice over the long term.

The New Collecting Awards recipients will also receive funding dedicated to their own professional development – to spend on research, travel and training costs to support their proposed collecting plans, as well as the ongoing support of a mentor, Art Fund staff and trustees.

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