The Museum Freelance CPD Fund Opens

Museum Freelance is delighted to announced that they have secured funding to provide 28 grants of £500 for freelancers who work with museums, heritage sites, galleries, archives and libraries in the UK to use for their Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

The Museum Freelance CPD Fund will enable successful applicants to invest in their professional development in a way that works for them, in particular to enable freelancers to stay relevant and address the changing needs of the organisations they work with after the upheaval of the last 18 months.

We know from our survey and research on the impact of Covid-19 on the freelance community that being able to fund and set aside time for training is a big challenge for many. So we are enormously grateful to the charitable trust that has generously funded these grants (and wishes to remain anonymous) and to the Museums Association that is distributing the grants on our behalf.

Apply now

About the grants

There are 28 one-off £500 grants available to freelancers and they do not need to be repaid.

Freelancers can use their grants on:

  • Online or in-person training, webinars, workshops

  • Online or in-person conference attendance

  • Membership of a professional organisation

  • Mentoring sessions

  • Business coaching

  • Attendance at relevant networking events

  • Purchasing relevant books and/or accessing digital content

  • Covering their time spent on CPD, in recognition that freelancers need to forgo client income to undertake CPD which is a huge barrier for some.

Applicants will need to meet certain eligibility criteria as detailed below.


Applications are now open (from 13 September) and will close on Monday 4 October 2021 at 12 noon. Applicants will be notified about the outcome by 18 October and successful applicants will receive their grant via the Museums Association by 5 November 2021.

Eligibility criteria

The Museum Freelance CPD Fund is for freelancers who work with museums, heritage sites, galleries, archives or libraries in the UK in areas such as: activity planning, audience development, collections, conservation, curation, engagement, events, exhibitions, fundraising, governance, interpretation, learning, marketing, organisational development, research and training.

To be eligible for a grant of £500 from the fund, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are a resident of the UK

  • You earn the majority of your income through self-employment with museums, heritage sites, galleries, archives or libraries

  • You have identified a professional development need which will help you survive and thrive as a freelancer in the sector (in particular in response to how the sector is changing and adapting due to the pandemic and funding changes)

  • Without the grant you would not be able to undertake this CPD

  • You will use the grant within 12 months (by November 2022).

We reserve the right to request additional documents which confirm your eligibility and may contact you if we have any questions about your application.

When applying please consider whether you truly need these funds – we want to make sure this fund goes to those who are most in need in the museum freelance community. We welcome applications from all backgrounds and actively encourage applications from freelancers who belong to one or more of the following groups: Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic group, Refugee, D/deaf, Disabled, Neurodivergent, Working Class and LGBTQI+.

The grant can be used as part-payment, for example towards a professional qualification that costs £1,000.

Freelancers who applied to our two rounds of Covid-19 Hardship Fund are eligible to apply to this CPD Fund (whether they received a hardship grant or not). This will not impact their chances of receiving a training grant – applicants will be anonymised before a random draw takes place with the Museums Association.

How to apply

Complete this short form by 12 noon on Monday 4 October 2021.

Awards administration

Museum Freelance is organising the promotion, administration of and applications to the fund; the Museums Association is responsible for distributing the grants to successful applicants.

Applications that meet the eligibility criteria will be anonymised, with 28 drawn at random by the Museum Freelance team, observed by Museums Association representatives in an online live draw.

We understand the sensitivity for applicants and will treat applicants’ data confidentially and with respect. Only the Museum Freelance team and a core team from the Museums Association will have access to this data. Please refer to our privacy policy.

For any questions about the grant, please contact [email protected].

Marge Ainsley