Frederick Bearman Research Grant | Book & Paper Group

​The Frederick Bearman Research Grant offers an annual grant of up to £1000 to support new research in the conservation of books, paper and archival materials.


Who was Frederick Bearman?

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© Dr David Anfam Fred at the Public Record Office in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Frederick A Bearman led a diverse international career as a distinguished conservator, educator and administrator in the field of rare books and archives. He spent 26 years at The Public Record Office where, among numerous other projects, he was part of the team that rebound the Domesday Book for its 900th Anniversary. He later became Head of Conservation & Collections Care at Columbia University Libraries, New York, before returning to the UK as Preservation Librarian for University College London.

Fred was also a key figure in conservation education in the UK for many years. In 1997 he became Director of Conservation at Camberwell College of Arts, where he was course leader for both the BA and MA courses. After moving away from his post at Camberwell, he continued to be a strong supporter of the conservation courses there. Whilst Preservation Librarian at UCL he hosted countless placements that enabled students to expand their practical experience, and helped to provide and advise on many final projects. The students benefited greatly from his vast knowledge and his animated lectures.

After joining UCL, Fred dedicated his time to researching the university’s special collection of rare books, manuscripts and archives. His further studies of the practical aspects of the account binding provided his book and paper conservation colleagues across the world with valuable insights into the history and materiality of this common binding-style. He was widely loved and respected by colleagues across the profession.

What the funding can support

The grant is available to any professional regardless of specialism or area of practice - you might not even be a conservator! We are eager to hear from people with backgrounds in conservation, heritage science, art history, curation, literature, printmaking, craft making, book arts, calligraphy etc. 

As some examples, your research project could be a preliminary investigation into old or new materials, tools and techniques, or a study of a particular collection, binding style or an artist's work. You may use funds to purchase equipment, materials and tools and/or fund travel, books, workshops or courses, visits, materials, fees etc. so long as you can demonstrate its relevance to your research.

We welcome applications from individuals at all stages of their careers, either as individuals or collaborations and projects of any scale.

The recipient of the award will be selected by a panel and will present their investigations as the keynote speaker(s) at the Frederick Bearman Memorial Lecture, which will provide an exciting, informative and welcoming platform through which to share your research with the conservation community. The Icon B&PG will support the recipient every step of the way and assist with any relevant issues that arise.

How to apply

To apply for the research grant, please send your application by email to [email protected]. All the information required for the application can be found within the ‘Application Notes and Guidance' document below. This also includes the Terms and Conditions which you will need to accept and give details of a referee who can provide a letter of recommendation.  Applications are currently closed and will reopen late 2023.

You do not need to be an Icon member at the time of applying, but if awarded the grant, you will need to become a member to be awarded the funding.



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