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Grants to Reimagine the Future of Biodiversity in the UK

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By Museum Development England / Posted on Tuesday 27th September 2022

The Great Escape has been officially re-named The Wild Escape. This evolution of the project’s name from its earlier working title now directly captures Art Fund’s aim to encourage the next generation to picture the future of UK wildlife through museum collections. The name change has no impact on your application if you are in the process of an applying or if you have already applied.

Museum Development England is working in partnership with Art Fund on The Great Escape – a new UK-wide creative project for museums to engage with schools and families, inspired by the nature around us.

The Great Escape will bring museums, schools, and families together to engage young people with the UK’s natural environment, drawing inspiration from the art and objects in museums and the creative and learning opportunities they can offer.

It will bring schools and families into museum spaces, inviting primary school children aged 7-11 to explore the animals in their collections and create stories and pictures that imagine a creature’s journey to a future habitat rich in biodiversity. The things they make in the classroom, online and in museums will be brought together in a collective work of art, unveiled during a weekend of activities for all ages on Earth Day 2023.

Together with Art Fund we are encouraging as many museums, galleries and historic houses to participate as possible by running your own activities, workshops and events – big or small – to support the project.

If you want to get involved, the best way to start is by registering your interest so you’ll be the first to get exclusive updates about the project. Funding is not a prerequisite for getting involved, but where organisations do require financial support, we have a limited number of small grants from £500 to £3,000 (and for consortia up to £24,000) available. The Great Escape is made possible with support from Arts Council England’s National Lottery Project Grants.

Key information

  • Grants are available from £500 – £3,000 for individual applicants and up to £24,000 for consortia applications
  • Applicants can apply for 100% of project costs. Match funding, cash, or in-kind support is not a requirement.
  • Applicants can apply for existing staff deployed to deliver the project (up to a maximum value of 50% of total project cost)
  • Activity must be delivered between 21 November 2022 and 1 May 2023

Scheme dates and deadlines

  • Application deadline: 9am, Wednesday 2 November 2022
  • Outcome letters issued by: Monday 14 November 2022
  • Grant acceptance deadline by: Monday 21 November 2022
  • Projects can start from Monday 21 November 2022
  • Projects completed by Monday 1 May 2023
  • Submission of grant claim paperwork deadline is Friday 5 May 2023

What type of projects are we looking to fund?

Our funding can support The Great Escape projects in one or more of the following ways:

  • Connecting with local primary schools: Build or expand one or more connections to a local primary school near to you and or offer The Great Escape workshop(s) (online or in person) to primary age classes aged 7–11-years-old at some point in the 2022/23 academic year
  • Connect with families: Engage and widen participation from families with children, including those between 7-11 years-old in your organisation’s activities online or in person
  • Connect and work other local community groups or organisations: Build your relationships and or partnerships with local community groups to support your engagement with primary schools and families with children aged 7-11 years-old
  • Earth Day activity: Invite the schools/ families/ visitors and community to join you on Earth Day 2023 (Saturday 22 April) for a participative event at your organisation or in your community that connects back to the workshops

Who should apply?

We will consider applications from museums, galleries, and historic houses, that:

  • Have a public presence (eg a building open to the public) or a public outcome (eg a festival or public art programme)
  • Can demonstrate that they operate to standards of best practice within the sector (eg through Arts Council England accreditation)

Individual National Trust, English Heritage and National Museums may form part of a consortia to work in partnership in their local area but cannot be the lead applicant.

If you are unsure about your organisation(s) eligibility to apply, please contact Art Fund direct at

Where can I find out more and where can I get help?

Please read our grant scheme guidance for full details: The Great Escape Grants Guidance

The Great Escape grant application questions:

To help you draft a strong application we will be hosting workshops to help organisations with this application process. Please select the workshop at the time and date most convenient to you and register via the Museum Development England host Eventbrite link.

Please contact us here at West Midlands Museum Development for further information and application advice.

Art Fund will also be holding a series of online workshops every month where, as well a project update, they discuss a specific topic to support you in delivering activity related to The Great Escape. Simply register your interest on their website for all the booking details, plus get exclusive updates, including news about partnerships, funding and free resources throughout the project.

How do I apply?

Applicants must apply online via the following form:

Please contact us if you have access requirements and require an alternative format for applying.

Applications received after the grant scheme deadline of 9am, Wednesday 2 November 2022 will not be considered.

Applications submitted via any other method without prior approval will not be considered.

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