Bright Sparks

This is a joint grants fund for artists and museums

Cornwall has the richest of histories, explored by more than 70 museums located right across Cornwall. It also has a wealth of artists eager to engage with the people, stories and communities of Cornwall.

Now Cornwall Museums Partnership and FEAST are challenging museums and artists to work together to generate original ideas for bringing more and different people into the museums of Cornwall to enjoy Cornwall’s unique heritage.  We have established a joint small grants fund to enable the best ideas to be tested and delivered.

We are looking for genuine innovation and collaboration between artist(s) and museum, and for ideas which would appeal to a broad range of the community.  We are inviting proposals for creative projects which spark interest in what museums have to offer: we want more people interested in their local history and more people doing or experiencing something creative.  At this early stage we are offering a number of small grants of up to £2,500.  The project must involve some form of tangible activity or event with which the community can get involved.

Applications must be made jointly by artist(s) and museum.  Ideas must be generated collaboratively and plans for delivery shared by both. We imagine that some of the strongest ideas may come from an artist working with their local museum, but are not making this an absolute condition.  You choose whether it is the artist(s) or museum who is the grant recipient on behalf of the project.

Download an application form from the FEAST or Cornwall Museums Partnership website.

Our criteria:

  • Quality and the ability to excite
    We are looking only for work of a high professional standard that is fresh and inspiring
  • An innovative approach to involving as wide a range of people of all ages and backgrounds as possible
    Show us how you plan to include people who normally assume arts and heritage activities are not for them
  • Imaginative ways of rewarding and enhancing the experience of museum volunteers
    We want projects which ignite the enthusiasm of the volunteers and give them new ways to get involved
  • Value for money
    We will take into account other match funding raised, but this can be in kind and will vary according to the scale of the project and amount requested.
    We will also be looking at the difference the project could make to the museum’s offer – the value added
  • Evidence of genuine collaboration between museum and artist
    We want jointly developed proposals that draw on the strengths of both (Artists should not be used simply to deliver workshops devised by the museum and museums should not be used simply as a venue by the artist)
  • Legacy
    We are looking for projects with a longer term impact and which build skills, confidence and innovation within the museum and its volunteers

Additional factors

  • In selecting projects we will be looking at geographical spread of activity.  This is obviously outside of your control, but please understand that this is a factor for us.
  • We will also be looking for projects of different scales. Don’t be afraid to apply for a few hundred pounds to make something small but perfectly formed happen in the museum!


The deadline for first round of applications can be found on the Application Deadline page.  Do not plan for any activity to start until at least 3 weeks after that date.

Ideally projects will be delivered through the winter/ spring of 2018 / 19 but we can be flexible if there are really great ideas which don’t fit that timescale.

For grants over £1,000 we will pay in 3 stages: 50% up front, 40% on receipt of an interim report and the final 10% on receipt of a project evaluation (templates provided by us).

For grants under £1,000 we will pay 90% up front and 10% on receipt of evaluation.

Selection of successful projects will be made by a panel of FEAST and Cornwall Museum Partnership directors and a member of each organisation’ s board or advisory group.

Please phone the FEAST office and speak to Jack Morrison, or Cornwall Museum Partnership office and speak to Chloe Hughes if you are thinking of putting in an application. We are very keen to offer advice and support – even if your application is not successful you might find these conversations helpful!  If you are a museum which wants to pick up this opportunity but are uncertain about which artist to approach, Jack or Hayley may be able to help.


Contacts: Tel: 01209312502 Tel: 01209500750

Download an Application Pack Here