MDY CPD Bursary 2023-24


We are pleased to announce the launch of our CPD Bursary 2023-24, with support from Art Fund.


This year’s scheme has a larger funding pot and extended remit.


Please read the Guidance Notes for full details and before making an application.


You will find a link to the application form in the Guidance.


What is the funding for?

Funding is being made available to support the museum sector to mitigate pressures resulting from the cost-of-living crisis, and to enable the retention and training of the museum workforce. The funding is also intended to contribute to the continued recovery of the sector from the pandemic.

Applications for funding must support one of three key aims:

  • Develop the use of collections in new ways, e.g. through collections care and access
  • Audience development, e.g. visitor engagement through learning, exhibitions or other programming initiative.
  • Volunteer and workforce development including:
    • Staff and volunteer retention and training.
    • Support for activity to ensure museums can keep curatorial and other collection-centred roles (including collection care, learning and engagement).
    • Support for in-house training and places on training courses and conferences.
    • Wellbeing offers for staff and volunteers.
    • Bespoke personal development opportunities to upskill collection and curatorial staff.

Additional consideration will be given to applications from:


  • Museums with fewer than 50,000 visitors per year seeking to reconnect with visitors or reimagine their future as vital community spaces.
  • Museums in areas of low cultural community engagement, where the museum is the main cultural offer in a locality.
  • Museums in urban areas that have niche collections and specific cultural offers outside the larger city institutions.


How much funding is available?

Grants of up to £1,000 are available for individual activity.

Museums and museum networks can apply for up to £5,000 for activity benefiting more than one participant.

Match funding of at least 20% is required for grants of over £1,000.

Which museums are eligible?


The CPD Bursary is open to museums which are:

  • Accredited with Arts Council England
  • Working Towards Accreditation with Arts Council England
  • located in Yorkshire and the Humber

The CPD Bursary is not open to museums which:

  • receive funding from Arts Council England as National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs)
  • receive funding from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as National Museums

What is the closing date?


All grants must be allocated to museums by 30th November 2023.

The scheme will close earlier if all funds are allocated.


We were delighted to support Ian Richardson, Head of Memorial & Heritage at Yorkshire Air Museum to attend AIM Conference in June 2023.


We are grateful to Ian for this report on his experience:


“The AIM 2023 Conference once again offered a great opportunity to meet a wide range of colleagues from the museums, arts and related sectors and celebrate the great contribution to society that independent organisations offer, from great visitor offerings to a huge range of volunteering opportunities and much more. Prior to the Conference, delegates were asked to say what being part of an independent museum meant to us and I was delighted when, although uncredited, my contribution to this was read out in full! As submission of this was by a direct link, I do not have the full transcript of my response but I noted that” ….. independent museums are largely started by an individual, or small group of people, who share a vision to preserve, or create something, for the benefit of others that would not otherwise be saved. It takes vision, courage, determination in the face of adversity, the ability to seize opportunities as they present themselves, networking etc, to get ideas off the ground, bring them to fruition and maintain the momentum going forward. Sometimes it actually takes sheer bloody mindedness to achieve these objectives.”


These are attributes that define many independent museums and their staff that was borne witness to in many of the plenary sessions and panel discussions and my contribution seemed to kick off the initial discussion pretty well, so I was very pleased with this. It was good to hear from representatives of Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and DCMS with updates on funding streams coming through for independent museums and galleries, such as the continuation of the MEND Scheme, with the urging for organisations to think ‘big and ambitiously’ in their applications for project and development grants. Post session conversations promoted the idea of more Core Funding for staff and utilities, which would take a lot of immediate pressure off many independent organisations, particularly in the foundling stage, thus allowing them to invest their own resources more freely to develop their offering, thus generating more access by the public, thereby increasing resources and finances for the organisation until they are possibly able to stand on their own two feet or at least require reduced support from state / local government sources. It in effect creates a ‘Virtuous Circle’ of funding. It would be interesting to hear this discussed more, particularly within the context of the International Council of Museums’ latest definition of museums as:


“A museum is a not-for-profit, permanent institution in the service of society that researches, collects, conserves, interprets and exhibits tangible and intangible heritage. Open to the public, accessible and inclusive, museums foster diversity and sustainability. They operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing.”


This offers the question as to what responsibility society has to an independent museum if, by this definition they are ‘… a permanent institution in the service of society..’. This could indeed make an interesting theme for a future AIM Conference.


I attended various other Plenary Sessions and breakouts which were all interesting and covering a good range of topics, such as leveraging public emotion for support and fundraising, examining the role of the Board of Trustees, with a particularly engaging session entitled From Meaning Well to Working Well, and bringing these governing bodies into a forward thinking and purposeful body. There is indeed much to still digest and take in, but it is really good to engage with fellow professionals as we tackle the challenges of being an independent museum in the modern world.”