Unlocking the Collections: Eligibility Criteria and FAQs

These are the eligibility criteria and the frequently asked questions for the Unlocking the Collections research residency at Museum of the Home. Please read these thoroughly before completing the application form that is accessible at the bottom of this page.


To be eligible to apply for this residency you must be

  • A London based visual artist working in any medium
  • An early career artist (See the FAQs on how this is defined for the purposes of this opportunity)
  • Not be enrolled on a full or part-time course of study at any level (Foundation, BA, MA or PhD) at the time of application, or at any point during the project period.

We welcome applications artists from under-represented groups in the arts, including on the basis of gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin, experience of migration, socio-economic background, and maternity / paternity.


What do we mean by Visual Artist working in any medium?

Painting, drawing, sculpture, performance art, photography, video/film/moving image, installation, text, craft/maker, sound art, comics, book art, new media/online, socially engaged practice, printmaking, interdisciplinary or any combination of the above. It does not include dance, theatre, graphic and product / graphic design or architecture.

What do we mean by London based?

We appreciate that working as an artist means you may live in one place and work in others, particularly given the current rise in rents increasingly artists are moving to the fringes of the capital to make living more affordable. To qualify as London based you should:

  • Have a correspondence address with a London postcode (this could be your home address, a studio address or other work address) OR spend at least half the week working on projects in London at the time of making your application. There is a minimum time commitment for the residency and no travel budget is available for artists.

What do we mean by ‘Not be currently studying on a BA, MA, PhD course or similar’?

You are not eligible for this opportunity if you are on a full-time or part-time course of study at the time of application, or are to be enrolled on any such course during the project period.

What do we mean ‘early career artist’?

We appreciate that many artists may not have attended art school, or may have graduated some time ago but had a break from practice and returned to later it so might still be early in their careers . For the purposes of this opportunity early career is defined as:

  • Having graduated from art school in the last 5 years AND/OR
  • Not yet have had a solo show in a commercial or publicly funded space AND
  • Not received a public grant/award of more than £5,000 in one go

I did not attend art school, am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, if you meet the other eligibility criteria.

What happens if lockdown regulations change during the Residency period?

The Museum of the Home and Artquest are committed to ensuring the safety of all residents and staff, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. We shall therefore be keeping the programme format under constant review, in line with the latest governmental guidance.

Can I arrange a meeting with Museum staff or access to the collections archive prior to making my application?

No. Unfortunately due to the high volume of interest that these opportunities attract, the limited time and capacity of Museum staff, and the administration required to access material in the archive, it’s not possible for applicants to discuss collections or proposals with Museum staff or access collection materials which aren’t otherwise on public display. All of the information necessary to make an application is available online on our project and in these FAQs and materials in the Museum of the Home collection can be researched online.

If selected, can special arrangements be made for artists who are shielding to access the collection in other ways?

Yes, Museum staff will work closely with the selected artists responding to their particular needs to ensure they can access the collections safely to complete their research.

When will decisions be made?

  • Shortlisted candidates contacted/invited to interview: Week commencing 9 August 2021
  • Interviews: Week commencing 16 August 2021
  • All applicants informed of decision / Selected artist announced: Monday 23 August 2021
  • Residency research period: 20 September – 26 November 2021 (10 weeks)

We will respond to all applicants to let them know if they have been successful or not.

Will you give feedback on applications?

We recognise that feedback on applications is an important professional development process for artists. While we aim to provide feedback to all applicants who request this, previous open submissions have attracted several hundred applications, making detailed feedback from our small part-time team too onerous. We expect a very high demand for this award. If you are unsuccessful and request feedback on your application, please be patient while we process these requests.

Who will see my application?

Applications are selected by Artquest, Museum of the Home and 3 external panelists made up of curators and other art world professionals. Panelists will be announced at the deadline date.

How do you make selection equitable?

We have made changes to our application processes that recognise and try to address structural inequalities in the arts. We acknowledge that these are not perfect, and we continually review our processes and accept feedback from artists and others to help improve these in line with our statement and action on equity, focusing on Black Lives Matter. If you have comments or suggestions, please contact Nick Kaplony.

  • Applications are processed anonymously. As far as possible names and other personal identifiers are removed from the application materials before they go to panel. If applicants write their names or identifying information in other sections of the application, we cannot guarantee, however, that these will be removed.
  • Selection is undertaken by a member of Artquest and Museum of the Home staff and 3 external selectors with expertise relevant to the opportunity.
  • We recruit culturally diverse selection panels.
  • We work with diverse publicity partners to ensure as wide a reach of opportunity as possible.
  • The selection panel is not announced until the application deadline to reduce the chance of submission being encouraged from panelists’ networks and existing relationships. Panelists are also asked to keep their involvement in selection confidential to further reduce the chance of any conflict of interest.

Can we use this award to part-fund activity while we seek funding from elsewhere?


If I get the award how soon will I get the money?

This opportunity is funded by the Museum of the Home. Payment of the award will be made in two parts – £2,100 (70%) immediately, with the remaining £900 payable at the end of the award period (26 November 2021). The first payment should reach awardees 30 days after all necessary information and an invoice has been received.

Can artist collaborations apply?

Yes, if you working regularly together it is possible to apply as a collaboration. We are unable to increase the amount of the award for collaborating artists but they are welcome to apply.

Will I be expected to propose and realise a completed piece of work as a result of this award?

No. This is a research residency and it is intended to give the selected artist time and inspiration to develop their practice without the pressure of producing a completed body of work or exhibition.

What are the expected outcomes of the residency?

  • Participation in x 4 recorded audio interviews which will foreground your experiences of working with the Museum collections to benefit other artists interested in working in a similar way
  • X 3 pieces of artists generated online content which record, make visible and share your research and experiences in some way.
  • A public event that showcases your research, thinking and work in progress (if appropriate). There is an additional £850 available to support this.

I can’t complete online applications because of a disability or digital access requirements. Is there another way to apply?

Yes. Please email Nick Kaplony to arrange an alternative way of making the application: via phone, email or video call. In exceptional circumstances, a meeting may be arranged where physical distancing and public health can be guaranteed, but we consider this extremely unlikely.

I still have questions

Please email Nick Kaplony.