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 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.

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.

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

Yes you can, but please seek feedback on your original application by emailing archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk before re-submitting your application.

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 the 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, as long as 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 actually be catalogued by the Archives Revealed cataloguing grant, not the entire 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 describe clearly 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‘ webpage.

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 make a contribution from their own resources or other funding sources. This could be in the form of a cash contribution, confirmed funding from external sources or in-kind contribution.

Please bear in mind that one of our assessment criteria relates to value for money, thus any applicants able to secure additional in-kind or cash contributions against the project costs will score more highly in this area. 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?

No firm limits have been set for the size of individual applications as we do not wish to artificially constrain project development. However, the size of the total fund is modest and applicants should be aware that it is likely the panel will wish to support a number of different projects spread across the UK. It is therefore unlikely that a project to benefit a single institution 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 support full economic cost recovery. However, we will ask for details of other project costs in the Phase 2 application so that we can understand and assess the viability of your project.

Do you give grants for more than 2 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. We will provide a link to the online application form after your pre-application chat. Please see our ‘how to apply‘ webpage for details.

Can I talk to you before submitting my application?

Yes! In fact we actively encourage you to call us to discuss your application before submitting it. 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?

In relation to consortium bids, the given word limits can appear restrictive if you need to respond on behalf of several applicants. You should assume that for questions which relate to conditions at individual repositories or to individual collections, the word limit applies per applicant body/collection. Where the question relates to the project itself, the word limit applies to the whole bid and a single response is required. Please contact us at archivegrants@nationalarchives.gov.uk if you have any further questions relating to this.

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 will my application be assessed at Phase 1 (expression of interest)?

Full details of how we assess Phase 1 applications can be found on our ‘assessment process‘ webpage.

How long will it take my application to be assessed?

The timetable for the cataloguing grant programme can be found on our ‘how to apply‘ webpage.

I haven’t applied for funding before – I don’t know where to start. Is there any additional support available?

We’ve 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 significant 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.

Archives Revealed aims to help organisations both with the application process for our own funding strands, and also more widely. We provide archives with access to e-learning, webinars and workshops designed to ensure that more organisations are able to access support and build resilience for the future.

Do you visit projects?

It is possible that the Archives Revealed team may visit your project after the application process has ended but not during it.

What support is available if my application is unsuccessful?

Unsuccessful applicants will be invited to attend a telephone feedback session with a member of the Archives Revealed team. Feedback can also be received by email if preferred.

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, 30-35% of Phase 1 applications are invited to Phase 2, which is usually between 16 and 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.