Frequently asked questions

What are the aims of the Archives Revealed programme? 

The long-term vision for Archives Revealed is to ensure that significant archive collections – representing the lives and perspectives of all people across the UK – are made accessible to the public for research and enjoyment. You can find out more about the six aims of the programme on the ‘about Archives Revealed‘ webpage. 

What is the difference between Cataloguing Grants and Scoping Grants? 

The Cataloguing Grants strand awards grants of up to £45,000 for archives to create catalogues of archival collections. The Scoping Grants strand awards grants of up to £3,000 to support archives to explore and assess collections and services. 

What is an archive for the purposes of Archives Revealed? 

We are using the definition of an archive as detailed by the Archive Service Accreditation scheme. 

Who can apply for the fund? 

You can find all the eligibility criteria for the Cataloguing Grants programme on our ‘about the grants’ webpage.

What staff (including volunteers) can I employ on project?  

For most projects, we anticipate that professionally qualified staff should deliver the cataloguing project – which usually means an appropriately qualified archivist should undertake the main part of the cataloguing, take the lead role in the design of the catalogue structure, and lead the implementation of your chosen cataloguing approach. 

In these cases, you may choose to employ a new member of staff to deliver the cataloguing, or use an existing member of staff with appropriate qualifications and backfill their post. 

Salaries: please note that we expect professional staff funded through the Archives Revealed programme to be paid in accordance with the most recent ARA Salary Recommendations. 

Unqualified staff: there may be some circumstances where a cataloguing project would benefit from employing a member of staff with lived experience of the archive that is being catalogued or additional knowledge not held by the applicant organisation. We are happy to discuss options for structuring grants as part of a training programme that encourages new pathways into the archive profession and supports the diversification of the archive workforce. Organisations who wish to investigate this approach further should discuss this with us before submitting an application. 

Using volunteers: you can use volunteers to contribute to your project in support of the cataloguing archivist, but the archivist should take the leading role in project delivery. 

Please contact us at archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk if you have any questions about salaries, professional qualifications or working with volunteers and the extent of their role in the project. 

We also ask that you plan for how your organisation will ensure the appropriate care and management of the collection after the completion of the cataloguing project.  

If you have any questions or concerns about how to build on-going professional support into your organisation or your project, then please contact us for further advice on archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk. 

Will Archives Revealed accept bids from consortia? 

Yes, partnership bids are welcomed. 

Can an institution submit, or be a partner in, more than one bid? 

No. An organisation cannot participate in more than one application at a time, either as a lead applicant or as a partner. You can find out more about eligibility on our about the grants‘ webpage. 

If the parent organisation is based in the UK, but the archive is held outside the UK, is the collection eligible? 

Archives must be held within the UK to be eligible. 

Can the same organisation apply for funding two years in a row? 

Yes, there are no restrictions on past applicants applying.  However, you must have finished the first project, submitted the final project report, and received the final project payment before submitting a subsequent application. 

Estimating In-Kind Costs 

(Please remember that at this phase these are just estimated costs.) 

Volunteer time: When estimating the costs of volunteer time, you could estimate the hours needed for the project and use the national living wage to guide the potential contribution that volunteers make to the project. If the volunteers have specific skills, then you might consider using the para-professional scale from the ARA (Archives and Records Association) salary recommendations as a guide for the potential value of the contributions from skilled volunteers. 

Management time or technical support: If the project requires some time from existing management (line management or other senior management) or other technical support, then estimate how many days this might require over the course of the project and use your existing salary information to estimate the value of this. 

If my application has been rejected, can I re-apply for the same project? 

There are no restrictions on past applicants applying – however, our data shows that second-time reapplications are no more likely to receive funding than first-time applications (and are substantially less likely, on a third or fourth reapplication). Before asking the panel to consider a collection for the second time, you should consider carefully whether the application is likely to score higher and discuss your proposed project with the Archives Revealed team.  

Who should write the application to Archives Revealed? 

The best applications tend to be written by someone with close links to the archive collection or a clear familiarity with the archive organisation and the content of the collection. You are welcome to get assistance from your fundraising or development staff if you have access to these, or an external consultant, but we advise that this is done in close collaboration with archive staff to ensure that knowledge and passion about the collection is translated into your application. 

Can we apply for a project which catalogues a deposited, rather than owned, collection? 

Yes, if you can provide a commitment from the depositor that the collection will not be withdrawn from public access or sold within 10 years of the project end date. If Archives Revealed funding is awarded to a deposited collection, the depositor will be asked to commit to returning the funding on a pro-rata basis, if the collection is withdrawn from public access during the 10-year commitment period. 

Can we apply for funding for a collection which is part of a larger project? 

Yes. However, there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Firstly, your significance statement needs to relate to the section of the wider collection which will be catalogued by the Archives Revealed Cataloguing Grant, not the whole collection. 

Secondly, you will need to clearly demonstrate the impact that cataloguing this section of the collection will make to both collection users and to your organisation. This impact will need to be demonstrated independently from the wider project. 

Can we apply for a Cataloguing Grant if the collection is partially catalogued or not yet catalogued to standard? 

Yes, we welcome applications for improvements to existing catalogues and the completion of partial catalogues. We also welcome applications for enhancements to digital cataloguing or metadata sets relating to a digital archive collection. 

In the case of improvements to existing cataloguing, it is important to clearly describe the impact the changes will make on the accessibility of the collection, and why such improvements are needed. 

What projects are eligible for an Archives Revealed Cataloguing Grant? 

Only applications for the cataloguing of archive collections are eligible. Library collections and object-based collections are not eligible for Archives Revealed funding. Eligible collections may contain a variety of media, including manuscripts and typescripts, annotated printed material, photographs, film, sound recordings and born digital records. 

The collections to be catalogued must be accessible for primary research (without charge in the case of publicly funded institutions), and there must be a reasonable expectation that this will continue for the foreseeable future. For more information about eligibility, please see our ‘about the grants’ page. 

We are considering using a new innovative cataloguing approach, can we still apply to the cataloguing fund? 

Yes, we welcome innovative approaches. If you are unsure and would like to discuss your project further, please email archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk. 

Can we use volunteers to carry out the cataloguing on the project?  

The intellectual control for the cataloguing arrangement and approach does need to be undertaken by an appropriately qualified archivist. The qualified archivist would need to be taking a leading role in the cataloguing of the collection. However, some activities in relation to the project can be fulfilled by non-professional staff, including interns and volunteers, with appropriate structured training and support provided. Archives Revealed is committed to The National Archives’ guidance for volunteer cataloguing in archives, produced by Red Quadrant in 2018. Please see this guidance for further advice about how to approach the use of volunteers in your project or contact the Archives Revealed team. 

What is the payment schedule for successful applicants? 

Grants are paid in two instalments: 50% at the start of the project and 50% upon completion. Grant payments are made directly to the recipients by the Pilgrim Trust, which acts as banker for the scheme. If alternative payment arrangements are needed, you are welcome to discuss this with us prior to the project start date. 

Is match funding required? 

The programme can supply up to 100% of staff project costs, however we strongly encourage applicants to contribute from their own resources or other funding sources. This could be in the form of a cash contribution, confirmed funding from external sources or an in-kind contribution. 

The panel reserves the right to request an additional contribution from those applicants that are assessed as being able to afford to do so. 

How much can we bid for? 

The size of the total fund is modest, and applicants should be aware that the panel will wish to support several different projects, spread across the UK. Our funds are limited, and you should apply for what is really needed to complete the project. We expect applicants to make efforts to find funding from other sources and it is therefore unlikely that any project would receive more than £45,000. 

Will a Cataloguing Grant pay for the full economic cost of the project? 

No, the Cataloguing Grant will fund the additional staff costs required to deliver the cataloguing project. Archives Revealed does not fund overheads or full economic cost recovery. 

Do you give grants for more than two years? 

In general, no – we expect the project applied for to be completed within a 24-month period. However, if your project is going to take longer than this, please contact us to discuss your application prior to submitting it. 

Do you accept applications via hard copy? 

No, we ask that you complete your application using the online application form. Please see our how to apply webpage for details. 

Can I talk to you before submitting my application? 

Yes! Please email archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk to arrange a mutually convenient appointment at the earliest opportunity. If you have any specific access requirements, please let us know. 

Do the word limits given on the application form also apply to consortium bids? 

Yes – please be succinct in summarising each organisation’s contribution, if applying on behalf of a consortium.  

Is there a deadline for applications? 

The deadlines for applications, as well as other key dates, can be found on our ‘how to apply‘ webpage. 

How long will it take my application to be assessed? 

The assessment period can vary based on how many applications are received, however, you should expect to receive confirmation of your phase 1 application status within two months of the closing date. As a two-stage process, funding decisions can take around six months from the closing date of the fund.  

I have not applied for funding before – I do not know where to start. Is there any additional support available? 

We have tried to make our ‘help with your application‘ webpage as comprehensive as possible, to enable inexperienced applicants to apply as successfully as experienced applicants. We may be able to offer you some additional support with your application, especially if you do not have extensive experience of working with archive collections or in making grant applications. Please talk to us about this at your pre-application discussion.

If you have any particular access needs throughout the application process, for example British Sign Language interpretation, please get in touch and we would be happy to help provide the support you need. 

We have made our application forms as simple as possible and will be assessing the strength of your collection and approach, rather than your grant-writing skills. Archives Revealed aims to help organisations both with the application process for our own funding strands, and more widely. We provide archives with access to e-learning, webinars and workshops designed to ensure that more organisations can access support and build resilience for the future. 

Do you visit projects? 

It is possible that the Archives Revealed team may visit your project during or after your grant. We will not visit applicants as part of the assessment process. 

What support is available if my application is unsuccessful? 

Unsuccessful applicants will be provided with feedback following their application. A feedback session with a member of the Archives Revealed team can be arranged by contacting archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk. Feedback can also be received by email. 

What happens if my application is successful? 

If you are successful at Phase 1, you will be invited to submit a phase 2 application. On average, 30% of Phase 1 applications are invited to Phase 2, which is usually less than 20 applicants. 

Phase 2 has a focus on understanding the significance of the collection and the need for the cataloguing to take place, alongside a more detailed description of how the project will be approached and managed. 

If you successful at Phase 2, you will be asked to sign a grant agreement. Once the agreement is received, 50% of the grant will be paid at the beginning of the project and 50% at the end.