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Arts Council England publishes latest National Portfolio investment process for museums

We Dwell Below by Ooni Studios at Hancock Museum. Photograph by Mark Savage

Arts Council England has published information about the application process for its next National Portfolio, which will come into effect in April 2023.

The National Portfolio is a group of museums, libraries and art organisations that get regular funding from the national development agency, which invests public money for creativity and culture in England.

Its new information for applying to its National Portfolio gives more detail around the timeline, who can apply, and how this new portfolio will help it deliver its strategy, Let’s Create.

Committed funding

There are currently more than 800 NPOs across the country receiving committed funding from the Arts Council from 2018 to 2022. In return these national Portfolio organisations (NPOs) provide a backbone of creative and cultural provision across the country.

“Our new National Portfolio is a huge opportunity for us, and for the organisations that will join it,” said Arts council England CEO, Darren Henley.

“But mostly, for the communities we serve, bringing creative and cultural access to as many people as we can. With this portfolio we’ll continue to move the dial on progress we’ve made so far: on balancing our investment across the country; on making sure the cultural sector we invest in is more representative of our nation; and on working with and investing in our talented freelance creative community.”

Through the portfolio the Arts Council will invest in museums, libraries and arts organisations who are ‘excellent at what they do: engaging communities, collaborating with others, and producing high quality work that engages and moves us’.

More representative

It said its intention is that our new national portfolio will be its most representative yet in terms of its location and the communities it serves, and its investment in it will play an important role in helping deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.

“I know that some people reading this post might have some doubts about what I’m saying: ‘I’m not in the National Portfolio at the moment…. I’ve never heard of Arts Council before… I applied for funding a while ago, but I don’t think it’s for me’,” said Henley.

Whatever your relationship with us, if your organisation makes a difference to lives through creativity and culture, then this could be an opportunity for you.”

Delivering one of three outcomes

Organisations that will create work for the public in this portfolio will deliver on at least one of the Arts Council’s three Outcomes:

  • Creative People
  • Cultural Communities
  • A Creative & Cultural Country

The Arts Council will publish full guidance for applicants in January 2022, before applications open 12pm (midday) on Monday 14 February 2022 until 12pm (midday) on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

About the author – Adrian Murphy

Adrian is the Editor of MuseumNext and has 20 years’ experience as a journalist, half of which has been writing for the cultural sector.

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