Cultural Protection Fund: £30mil from UK Govt for projects in the Middle East


Have you got a preservation project that you’re itching to implement?

The UK Government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport and the British Council have just formally announced that the first round of funding under the new Cultural Protection Fund is open for bids. This amounts to £30 million in grant chunks from £5k to £500k over the next few years. This is a very interesting development.

I’ve been in various meetings related to the development and the application of this fund and there are some specifics to consider which I will list below. That said, high quality applications are needed and they want to give this money out quickly.

Cultural Protection Fund: 2016–2020


And, of course, if your proposed project needs a cultural property, antiquities trafficking person, drop me a line. Small contributions where I write or advise are easy to say yes to. Larger ones are a definite maybe.

Specific Countries

Only projects focused on Afghanistan, Palestinian Territories, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey, Libya, and Yemen qualify for this fund.

Existing Partners

At least for now, only projects that have existing partners in one of those countries can apply. The definition of existing partner is a bit loose, but this isn’t a network building exercise.

In-country Work

The projects really do need to be focused ‘on-the-ground’ in some way, hence the need for existing partners. I mean remote sensing and that kind of work qualifies, but not analyses of, say, the market for Syrian material in the UK. Make sense?

Specific Focus

The projects need to focus in on one of three core areas: Cultural Heritage Protection (read, conservation and documentation), Capacity Building, or Education. In other words, a good chunk of my own work falls outside the scope because even though I work in Cultural Heritage Protection, I don’t work in conservation or documentation. Then again, a strong case that X is needed documentation could work.

Frantic Deadline

Expressions of interest are due in, first round, on 1 August. Yikes. There will be a second call opening 1 September however if you can’t get it together by then.

Outcomes, Outcomes, Outcomes

This is meant to support practical work with tangible results. Academics are invited to this party, but the emphasis needs to be on real-world results.

All and all the team supporting it are passionate and capable. If you have questions, talk to them: