The Programme


Highlighting, documenting and making accessible the disappearing knowledge around material cultures, crafts and practices, the Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP) is a major grant-giving programme that supports new work to document critically threatened material practices globally. In this rapidly changing world, traditional material practices and skills are being lost at an unprecedented rate as mass produced goods and industrial technologies overwhelm local, small-scale and diverse material traditions. Alongside this, environment and habitat loss upset local ecologies and access to raw materials, while shifting social dynamics and increasing urbanisation often mean older forms of learning, apprenticeship and knowledge transfer are crumbling. EMKP was established to support the documentation and recording of this rich material diversity through a programme of grants, and the creation of an open access repository to house and preserve these The programme is therefore an important resource for communities and a point of reference for all interested in the global variety of crafts, practices, skills and ways of knowing the material world.

Launched in 2018, EMKP provides grants to record disappearing practices through videos, recordings, 3D and other media, making it available in an open access digital repository. As well as being an important online resource for communities themselves, the repository will also be a point of reference for all who are interested in the rich variety of global crafts and skills. In addition, we aim to connect communities to museum objects globally and to re-contextualise them to reflect their present and local meanings. EMKP is the first programme of its kind relating to the ‘made’ world. It offers grants to applicants from across the globe to undertake in-depth fieldwork in understudied areas and where local funding opportunities are limited. We support research that benefits communities, is culturally sensitive, and builds long-lasting co-operative relationships. As culturally-specific knowledge is made available online, we assess how that impacts communities, and make sure that information is accessible, and any documentation appropriately preserved.

The Team


Sister Programmes


Endangered Languages Documentation Programme

The goal of the Endangered Language Documentation Programme (ELDP) is to preserve endangered languages globally. It gives grants worldwide  for linguistic documentation projects. The funds allow grantees to undertake fieldwork to record speakers of endangered languages on audio and video, compiling a documentary collection of an endangered language or genre. These documentary collections are then archived and preserved and are made freely available through the digital online Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR). Many of these collections contain the only recordings of last speakers of an endangered language, recordings of languages which have already fallen silent or which will fall silent in the next few years.

Endangered Archives Programme

The Endangered Archives Programme (EAP) facilitates the digitisation of archives around the world that are in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration. It has provided grants to more than 400 projects in 90 countries worldwide, in over 100 languages and scripts.

Modern Endangered Archives Programme

The Modern Endangered Archives Program (MEAP) is a UCLA Library granting program. It aims to digitize and make accessible endangered archival materials from the 20th and 21st Centuries, including print, photographic, film, audio, ephemeral, and born digital objects.

Our Support

We are generously supported by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. Arcadia supports charities and scholarly institutions to preserve cultural heritage, protect the environment, and promote open access.