Art Fund grant for BRLSI Project

Bath’s Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) has won a grant for £40,000 from The Art Fund toward an exciting new project ‘Forward to the future – with our 4.2 billion years of history’. With Art Fund support, this will enable BRLSI to undertake an exciting project in order to revitalise their mission to share knowledge and stimulate exploration of science, literature, and the arts, and reimagine future ways of reaching audiences post the challenges of COVID.

The Project, with Art Fund support, will involve:

  • ❖  A BRLSI branded app taking digital visitors on artefact trails around the City of Bath – designed with staff and artists from Bath Spa University – blending our own rich and varied collections with the work of a team of artists and a new BRLSI App downloadable to mobile phones
  • ❖  The creation of digital platforms fit to deliver its diverse programme to the 21st century and beyond.
  • ❖  A social media campaign marketing BRLSI and its mission to the more diverse audiences it can nowreach with the help of this exciting project.
  • ❖  Utilizing Bath’s local creatives and one of our leading creative universities; contributing to the localeconomy and community while introducing new skills to its own staff and volunteers.Chris Garcia, BRLSI Director of fundraising says “The grant has been awarded through the Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine programme and allows the BRLSI to step beyond the immediate challenges posed to all museums by the Covid-19 crisis with a greater degree of resilience than might otherwise have been the case; providing a welcome injection of digital rocket fuel when most needed. “By boosting re-engagement with audiences who haven’t been able to visit the building, the grant places the BRLSI in a far stronger position to overcome the financial and cultural impositions of lockdown, and not only survive but flourish. By enabling BRLSI to take their programme further afield, the institution is being encouraged to step out of its comfort zone in a way that is both invigorating and exciting and empowers its programme to reach wider sections of the community. Through the development of new kinds of digital user- engagement with collections, trialling new platforms for sharing content, promotional activities that bring fresh skills into their workforce, and the reaching out to new and more diverse audiences, an institution founded in 1824; viewed perhaps as lacking dynamism and rather traditional will become fitter to face the future with a renewed sense of confidence and creative impetus.Tim Vyner, Professor of Illustration at Bath Spa University, says: “‘Forward to the future’, is a fantastic opportunity to bring the BRLSI collection to a wider audience through an interactive app that takes the user on an artefact trail around the city of Bath. Curators from the BRLSI will be working in collaboration with postgraduate designers and artists from BSU, School of Design, to develop content that will bring these objects to life by telling their stories in drawing, print, 3D collage, sound, light, film and moving image.”

Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine grants offer flexible and responsive funding designed to meet immediatechallenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis and reimagine future ways of working. In the first round, 18 grants were given, from a total of 114 applications. Developed in consultation with museums and galleries, the grants meet needs in four priority areas of collections, audiences, digital, and workforce. They may also cover costs to support reopening, as well as encouraging creative and innovative projects as organisations look to reopen with fundamentally different operating models. Respond and Reimagine Grants will provide £1.5m in 2020 to support museums, galleries, historic houses, libraries and archives, and non-venue-based visual arts organisations, and is part of Art Fund’s £2m package of funding to support museums through crisis. The deadline for the next round of Respond & Reimagine grants is 17 August 2020, and a final round will take place in the autumn.

BRLSI are delighted to be part of that first round and not only look forward to providing audiences with fresh and creative ways of connecting with their programme, collections and libraries but will look to share the dividends of these newly invigorated digital platforms with other smaller museums and arts institutions in the area and beyond.