Icon’s Impact: Funding conservation projects overseas

17 Nov 2022


What was the goal we set out to achieve

Icon’s strategy sets out our strategic aim to extend our reach within the UK and internationally, championing the value that conservation brings to all societies in all places.

Together with Tru Vue, Icon has been running the Tru Vue Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme to support conservation and care of collections teams to deliver projects that will address conservation and exhibition challenges. Grantees receive £2,000 in cash and an in-kind donation of Tru Vue materials for their projects.

This year, we were able to open up the applications internationally for the first time, extending our reach across the globe and forming relationships with new institutions.


copyright Camborne City Council.jpg
A Tru Vue grant-funded conservation project taking place at Camborne Library


What did we do

We have changed our eligibility criteria so that projects outside the UK can apply for the grants.

We changed our communications strategy and reached out to heritage networks globally, aiming for a wide geographical spread when it comes to applications.

We made use of existing contacts and reached out to new organisations, forming mutually benefiting relationships with heritage networks abroad.

We also ran a drop-in session with Tru Vue where prospective applicants came to ask questions about their projects and eligibility.


What was the outcome

We received applications from all continents, from countries like Peru, Zimbabwe, Australia, Northern Ireland, the Philippines and Barbados.

We were able to award 7 grants consisting of cash and Tru Vue materials to the following institutions:

  • Barbados Museum & Historical Society (Barbados)
  • Hopetoun and District Historical Society (Australia)
  • Kabarnet Museum (Kenya)
  • National Historical Commission of the Philippines (the Philippines)
  • People’s History Museum (UK)
  • Trowbridge Museum (UK)
  • Geoffrey Bawa Art & Archival Collections (Sri Lanka)
ceremonial object leather etnoghraphy kenya tru vue grant
Traditional skirt Seree, a significant ceremonial object used by the Tugen community of Baringo County, Kenya, currently being conserved at Kabarnet Museum 


What did we learn

We learned the benefits of a targeted communications campaign, striking a balance between sharing our message far and wide, and avoiding being inundated with an unmanageable volume of enquiries or ineligible applications.

We also learned that there is a lot of demand for conservation funding internationally, particularly from underdeveloped countries where institutions often don’t get allocated collections care budgets.

While shipping logistics can sometimes be difficult for shipping materials overseas, in many cases the conversion from GBP to local currencies meant that our funding was able to cover extensive work and fairly big projects.  

portrait before conservation Barbados Museum & Historical Society tru vue paper.jpeg
The only existing portrait of London Bourne, currently being conserved at Barbados Museum & Historical Society with a Tru Vue grant


What will we do next

This round has been very successful in terms of reaching out to global heritage networks. We are planning to continue to keep the applications open to international applicants.

Moving forward, we are aiming to increase our reach to continental Europe and build collaborative relationships with like-minded European organisations.


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