Endangered Material Knowledge Grants

Endangered Material Knowledge Grants

Endangered Material Knowledge Grants

The programme offers small and large grants to document material knowledge systems that are under threat and in danger of disappearing.

This includes knowledge systems associated with the making, use, repair and re-purposing of material objects, spaces, architecture, performances and environments.

In order to qualify for these grants, these knowledge systems must still be actively pursued, or at least practiced within living memory of the knowledge holders.

EMKP does not support work to revitalise a lost or forgotten tradition.

EMKP was launched in 2018 and is funded by Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, and is hosted by the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the British Museum.

Project Scope

  • Applications must focus on topics that have a strong material dimension. Applications that include aspects of intangible practice and culture (e.g. dance, music/song, performance) must link these to material acts and knowledge – e.g. musical instruments, costume, staging.

    Projects that seek to document ecological knowledge systems must also ensure a direct connection to material and cultural practices.

    They do not, for example, support applications that exclusively document food collection or production, but can support applications that document disappearing foodways in terms of food preparation, consumption and sharing, and the materials and object used in these processes.


  • EMKP will offer training opportunities to successful applicants to help them prepare for their fieldwork, and particularly planning for digital content development and preservation.
  • Under normal circumstances, training takes c1 week (± for travel) in London and is offered in early September of the year of award (i.e. September 2021).

    Uncertainty over future travel because of Covid-19 at the time of writing means that this training may have to be offered remotely; this will be discussed with successful candidates following the grant offers in mid-2021.

    Assuming on-site training in London is possible applicants should consider this in their planning and timetable.

    Costs associated with attending the training course are provided separately by EMKP so there is no need to include these in your budget.

    Attendance at the EMKP training course is a condition of acceptance for successful applications, and can only be excused in exceptional circumstances.

    If your application is successful and you think you are unable to attend the course you should contact EMKP in the first instance.

    Funding Information

  • Small Grants can last up to one year with a maximum award of £15,000. Small Grants are intended for projects that are focused on a specific/individual material practice and which are limited in scope.

    They are also suitable for initial pilot work to establish the nature and extent of material knowledge systems where these might not be previously known, or for early career applicants who are building new projects.

  • Large Grants can last up to two years with a maximum award of £70,000. Large Grants are suitable for mature projects where intensive and more diverse documentation is proposed, a larger team is needed, multiple strands of work are happening simultaneously and/or more time is needed to complete the documentation (e.g. because of seasonal cycles of working).

    Eligibility Criteria

  • EMKP operates a Principal Investigator (PI)/Collaborator system.

    It is the responsibility of the PI for overall project management and coordination, including reporting to EMKP.

    Collaborators should be closely involved in the project management and delivery, and demonstrate relevant skills and experience.

    EMKP cannot provide salary costs for PI’s.

    Salaries for Collaborators are only awarded in exceptional circumstances, and are restricted to Collaborators based in-country, and whose collaboration (and salary) is essential to the completion of the proposed work.

    Please contact EMKP in advance if you wish to claim for Collaborator salary.

    Local research assistants can be provided with a modest allowance.

  • There is no restriction on the nationality of the PI. S/he must however be affiliated with an appropriate academic or community institution (e.g. museum, archive, university, NGO2 ) who will take responsibility for administrative oversight of the project including financial reporting.
  • Applicants should show extensive and relevant experience and will preferably have a PhD.

    3 If an applicant is currently enrolled in a PhD, they must provide a letter of support from their supervisor, undertaking to ensure the work is carried out according to the terms of the grant.

    Apply by 31st January.

    For more information and application details, see; Endangered Material Knowledge Grants

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