Guidance for Applicants


Submissions for the Outset Partners Grants Programme open in February and close in March. Applications are extended by invitation to the international network of institutions and art spaces supported by Outset to date, as well as those institutions additionally invited by Outset Partners, Trustees and staff members. If you would like to submit your institution to be considered to join this network, please get in touch with grants@outset.org.uk.

The Outset Partners Grants Programme is unique in its open approach and non-prescriptive criteria, providing a space in the cultural sector for developing new aspirations. It has been specifically devised to offer arts organisations a rare opportunity for experimentation and impact and is intended to inspire emboldened thinking.

Outset Partners Grants enable practitioners to transform the way the art institution thinks and acts in the world, acknowledging the need for more experimental forms of funding to do this.

The funding scheme has two strands of support: a single Transformative Grant and a number of Impact Grants each cycle. 


The current cultural and social context offers a strong momentum for transformation as well as the opportunity to rethink the art institution of the future and its relationships with the wider community in an ambitious, critical and sustainable way.

Outset Partners are keen to learn what art institutions need and why, what motivates them and where they want to be tomorrow. They are willing to take risks on behalf of genuine innovation and the prospect of meaningful impact.

A ground-breaking Transformative Grant of £150,000 will be awarded to a public institution to realise a significant project or develop an initiative with a marked transformative aspect. To be eligible to apply, projects have to be announced to the public in the same year as the application cycle, regardless of their realisation date.


Outset Partners will also award several Impact Grants to public institutions in support of projects that seek to generate a ripple effect and explore new directions in practice and learning. Eligible funding proposals would generally fall under one or more of the following areas, however, please note the below are illustrative and not prescriptive criteria:

  • Delivery of empowering projects with a focus on education for young people;
  • Projects that transcend socio-economic or geographical barriers with a focus on underrepresented groups;
  • Realisation of innovative, challenging art productions, exhibitions and publications;
  • Growth of public collections;
  • Nurturing of artistic development and curatorial leadership;
  • Mindfulness of potential economic impact within the creative sector, such as the provision of affordable workspaces;
  • Championing international creative exchange;
  • Reaching new audiences through advancements in digital infrastructure;
  • Consideration of accessible programming and sustainable practice within the cultural ecosystem.