We have all seen the funding landscape for Museum and exhibition projects change dramatically in recent years due to the coronavirus pandemic and other factors. Securing funding for a project can be a long and challenging process, and making your project stand out in a crowd has never been so important.
One of the services Mather & Co offers is support through the various stages of a funding application, whether that is small grants or for large transformative projects. As an experienced attraction design company, we have good experience and knowledge in National Lottery Heritage Fund applications at all stages of the process, and have supported clients on Aim Biffa Historymakers, Wellcome Trust, Arts Council and other funding. We can guide clients through each stage, offering expertise and assistance with visual material to support their bids.
We are currently supporting Historic England and the Friends of Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings on their new transformative project, which received a £20.7m National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, one of the largest in the country. The site will be reinvigorated with restoration work to the heritage buildings and an introduction of a new exhibition and tour programme in 2022. Mather & Co has been working hand in hand with the Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings project team at every step of the way, working through design stages and meeting with funding mentors and other experts to move it forward.
Another related question we often get asked is does a restrictive budget limit experience potential? The short answer to that is no, and we have an example of a project we are working on with a limited budget at the moment – the Pankhurst Centre.
When the team at the Pankhurst Centre got in touch, we discussed a number of funding avenues to support the redevelopment of the exhibition displays. Aim Biffa Historymakers funding became the first viable step on the road to a National Lottery Heritage Fund application later down the line. As part of this support, Mather & Co produced a creative document that served as an application for Aim Biffa Historymakers funding and demonstrated what could be achieved on the story of the Pankhurst Family and the formation of the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Throughout the project, we have pushed hard to ensure we could achieve our goals on the available budget without compromising on quality or experience. Working with a tighter budget does not necessarily mean that you are limiting the potential of the experience, it just means we simply have to be more creative. The space we have to work with at the Pankhurst Centre is small – a series of three domestic rooms of the original Pankhurst Family home – but we want to make sure each room offers an experience that feels like a different chapter in the Pankhurst Family story. We have had to think more imaginatively about the materials, forms, and methods of interpretation, but the DIY approach the suffragettes used to campaign for Women’s Suffrage, such as breaking glass or chalking statements onto the floor, has offered us unique but effective ways of adding drama in a simple way.
Our concept has allowed us to explore more creative ideas of representing the family members, be more playful in our interpretative approach and create an experience that will hopefully surprise and engage people in new ways.
To read more about the Pankhurst Centre project, click here.
If your project needs support with funding applications, contact us to see how we can help you.