Themed rounds

To enable funding to be targeted towards immediate sector needs, identified challenges in the sector, or to support topics considered to be of wider interest, we will sometimes adopt a theme for a round of Archive Testbed funding. Any project, whether it fits within the theme or not, is welcome to apply. Themes are in place to encourage thinking around the ideas presented. Themes have been selected to ensure that applications will be able to demonstrate clear innovation and impact on the archive service and wider sector, and therefore all applications in the round will be assessed using the same criteria. No additional weighting will be given to projects that align with the theme.

Our first themed rounds will take place for rounds 5 and 6.

Round 5: Reaching audiences during the Covid-19 pandemic

Applications for round 5 closed on 2 November 2020

We would like to support archive services who wish to test, explore or evolve ideas relating to how archives can better reach new and existing audiences during the Covid-19 pandemic. Covid-19 is having an impact on the usual ways we interact with our audiences, including the numbers of users able to visit archives and our use of digital technology. In this round of Archives Testbed funding, we would like to support archives who are exploring alternative ways to reach out to audiences, testing different approaches to audience development, and developing approaches to engagement that they have not tried previously.

Round 6: Addressing representation in archives

Deadline: 25 January 2021

We would like to support archive services who want to explore and test approaches to addressing issues of representation in archives. This includes but is not limited to:

  • diversification of collections and developing more ethnically diverse audiences and workforce
  • creative re-imagining of human-centred and equitable archive services
  • ethical collaborations and democratised decision making

There is a growing body of work taking place in the archive sector which challenges historic practice, aims to reveal hidden voices in archive collections and tackles stereotypes and racist language used in catalogues. The sector is also developing participatory approaches to exploring the issues relating to the representation of marginalised communities in the archive record. In this round of Archives Testbed funding, we would like to hear from archive services planning to undertake projects in this area and provide funding support for this vital exploratory work.

Get in touch

Please feel free to contact us at to discuss your Archive Testbed idea, whether it comes under either of the above themes, or is something entirely different.