What is material knowledge?

Material knowledge, as understood by the EMKP, is the understanding of the resources, skills, technologies, and social values needed to create and maintain the material world around us. This includes knowledge about things, objects, architecture, and material culture as well as about the insights gained through their making and use in cultural practices and daily life.

Material knowledge includes but is not limited to, the processes of designing, producing, and using; the materiality of things; the building and life of structures; and how these form part of the community and its events. It is about how skills are gained and mastered, how and for what purpose raw materials are transformed, and how material culture allows people to engage with and re-evaluate their relationship with the world and the community they live in.


How can material knowledge be endangered?

There are many factors that can cause the endangerment of material knowledge systems. These may include, economic and technological developments that result in materials or production processes becoming obsolete; the imposition of legal restrictions on land, resources, or cultural practices; conflict and the displacement of knowledge-holding communities; weakened practice and transmission; environmental issues and degradation, such as climate change and biodiversity loss affecting the availability of materials.

EMKP Applicants are required to provide specific details on the degree and different factors affecting the endangerment of the knowledge systems involved in their project.


What documentation formats are covered by the EMKP Documentation Grants?

The EMKP currently accepts documentation data in the form of images, audio recordings, videos, annotation files, geospatial records, and 3D object files. If you are planning to include any other forms of documentation in your project, please get in touch so that we can confirm that this data can be accepted.

Please note that the EMKP Documentation Grants are intended for projects focusing on the documentation of material knowledge systems, not the creation of documentaries about these systems.


How is documentation different from documentaries?

In ethnographic research, documentation aims to capture, describe, and create a thorough record of a system of knowledge and/or section of society. The recordings should be contextualised through the thought systems of the source community and embedded in the lived experiences of peoples and cultures.

This is not the same as a documentary, where the filmmaker may frame the narrative according to their own ideas and interpretations; and edit the recordings for screening or artistic purposes. In documentation, greater importance is placed on the collection of raw data, where the subject and knowledge being recorded is as unedited or “unfiltered” as possible.

The EMKP Documentation Grant funds material knowledge documentation, not documentary-making. This means that the material knowledge systems in question should be recorded in as much detail and with as much context as possible, through the perspectives of the source community. There should be minimal influence from outside observers, both during the documentation process and while editing or compiling the research data. Projects which are focused on the making of TV- or film-style documentaries will not be considered for funding.

What is the EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant?

The EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant funds the digitisation of ‘legacy’ material pertaining to endangered material knowledge. This includes collections and research records relating to already concluded work on material knowledge systems that were either endangered at the time the research was underway, or are now endangered.

The maximum award of the EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant is £20,000, for projects that can last for up to one year.


What types of ‘legacy’ materials can be digitised under the EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant?

Collections proposed for the EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant can include a range of records in various formats. This includes, but is not limited to, fieldnotes, photographs, negatives, videos, film reels, audio recordings, objects, and others. If you are unsure whether a particular form of documentation is suitable for digitisation, please get in touch.


What are the age requirements for documentation records considered by the EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant?

The EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant is not constrained to specific time-periods or the age of the documentation records. The content of the documentation will be the driving factor rather than the age of the material.


Who can apply for an EMKP Legacy Digitisation Grant?

We accept applications from individuals with host institutions, as well as applications from communities and institutions. In exceptional circumstances, Principal Applicants not affiliated with an institution may
apply as an Independent Researcher. In such cases, the potential applicant should get in touch with the EMKP team before submitting the application.

The original creator of the documentation can apply on behalf of their own work.


Are there any language restrictions on the documentation records proposed for digitisation?

There are no restrictions regarding the language of the documentation records.

Can I apply for more than one EMKP Grant during the same round of applications?

Yes, you can apply for more than one EMKP Grant during the same round of applications. However, you cannot be the Primary Applicant for more than one project at a time. If you have applied as the Primary Applicant for one project, you can still be included as a Co-Applicant on a different application.


Does the EMKP accept applications in languages other than English?

No, unfortunately the EMKP cannot accept applications that are not written in English. However, we endeavour to ensure that all applications are judged on merit, rather than language fluency. The EMKP application is straightforward—the main priority is providing us with the information required. We are more interested in the specific details requested than how well you frame an academic argument.


Are certain geographical regions excluded?

No geographical area is excluded, though preference will be given to projects located in countries where little funding infrastructure is available.


What is the difference between a Co-Applicant and a research assistant?

A Co-Applicant is somebody who has a defined role and will take on a degree of responsibility for the project, has specific skills that the project requires, oversees certain aspects of it, and contributes to the delivery of assets. A research assistant does not share that level of responsibility.


What types of institutions can I be affiliated with?

Applicants are required to be affiliated with an institution that can provide financial and ethical oversight. That means that the institution should be able to oversee accounts, take receipts, manage funds, and provide expenditure reports independently of the applicant. The institution also needs to provide ethics guidelines. The Primary Applicant or Co-Applicants do not need to be affiliated with an academic institution; NGOs and social enterprises can also act as host institutions. It will be positively considered if the institution can demonstrate a track record of managing previous grants.


What if my institution has no accepted ethics guidelines?

If your host institution does not have set ethics guidelines, it can agree in the support letter to adopt and follow a widely accepted standard, such as that of the Association of Social Anthropologists. Make sure the support letter includes a copy of the ethics guidelines you will be required to follow.


What makes a good project work plan?

A good project work plan should provide clear and specific details on the methodology and timelines of the project, as well as the responsibilities of individual team members. These details help demonstrate to the review panel that the applicant has thought through the actual mechanics of the project, and how they aim to achieve the project’s goals.

It is especially important to ensure that enough time is devoted to fieldwork and the documentation process itself. The EMKP values in-depth, ethnographic research and documentation—this takes time and should be properly considered and explained in the work plan template. Short or inappropriate stays in the field will be considered negatively by the review panel.


What makes a good digital asset plan?

The EMKP panel would rather see high-quality, rich records of specific practices rather than a more superficial overview of a larger range of practices. Avoid inventories of objects and/or designs as a substitute for exploring the intricacies of knowledge systems and networks.

A good digital asset plan should also be realistic in terms of the quantity and types of data that will be collected, providing adequate detail on the different processes that will be documented during the project. A common mistake in many applications is over-promising on the digital outputs of the project, as well as underestimating the amount of time and resources that will be required to process the data after the documentation phase is complete.

What is the EMKP’s policy about ‘open access’, and what do I need to be aware of?

EMKP follows Arcadia’s Open Access Policy, which promotes open access to information and requires all materials resulting from EMKP grants to be made publicly available online under a Creative Commons license, the CC BY Non-Commercial Share-alike 4.0 license (CC BY NC SA 4.0). This means that people can freely download, copy, edit, adapt, and modify the assets, but any resulting copies, adaptations, or derivatives that contain the asset (or parts of it) have to be distributed under the same license. The assets can also not be used for commercial purposes (i.e. make royalties), whether that is by yourself or anybody else.

EMKP understands that there may be situations where it is not appropriate for certain records to be made publicly accessible, due to ethical or cultural concerns. In these cases, it is possible to restrict access to the records in question, whether that is for a limited or indefinite period. If you have encountered material that you or members of the community you are working with consider sensitive, please get in touch with the EMKP Digital Curator to discuss further action.


Are we allowed to store copies of the digital assets outside of the EMKP repository?

It is a requirement to ensure that copies of digital assets are deposited in the country of research as well as with EMKP repository. Ideally, copies should also be held within the source community. Applicants must demonstrate their plans to accomplish this. Funds can be earmarked within the budget to fulfill this obligation. Please note, that following the terms of the CC BY NC SA 4.0, assets lodged elsewhere must also comply with the terms of the license.


Can I publish my research before the grant is complete?

The EMKP does not prevent grantees from publishing their research before the end of their projects. However, for citation purposes, we strongly encourage our grantees to wait until the relevant assets have been uploaded to our repository before including them in research papers. Please note that in accordance with Arcadia’s Open Access Policy, all peer-reviewed articles resulting from our grants must be made freely available without embargo and under a suitable license. Furthermore, grant recipients should make scholarly books and book chapters freely available online at the time of publication, or at a maximum of one year from the date of publication, via a publisher’s platform or another open-access repository.

Which costs are eligible?

Eligible costs include travel (local and international, i.e. to the location where the collection to be digitised is stored; visa costs), local subsistence and accommodation, equipment, insurance, translation & transcription costs, costs associated with deposition in a local repository, research assistant allowances and costs associated with community collaborations.

Please note that the EMKP cannot fund any project dissemination work, revitalisation efforts, or acquisitions.


Does the EMKP cover researcher salaries and contractual work?

EMKP cannot cover contract work or researcher salary, aside from costs associated with research assistant salaries. Co-Applicants are generally not paid from the grant. However, in certain circumstances, source community-based Co-Applicants can be remunerated for their work. In these cases, a clear motivation for this needs to be given within the ‘Budget’ section of the application form.


Does the EMKP cover overhead costs?

The EMKP cannot cover generic overhead costs, however, costs relating to project administration that can be directly justified and budgeted (for example, costs for accountancy services), are eligible.


Does the EMKP fund community engagement?

You can include a proposal for community engagement activities as part of your EMKP application. The EMKP can cover up to £1000 in community engagement costs for a Small Grant, and up to £2000 for a Large Grant. Please note that these activities are meant to invite community participation and awareness about the project and the materials generated – the funding cannot be used for general dissemination, e.g. conference presentations or publications. Examples of community engagement activities include community meetings and workshops (including planning meetings, workshops to get feedback on work already carried out, and results dissemination meetings). Other activities might include displays/exhibitions for the community and community directed outputs such as books/booklets.


If my application is successful, how will the grant funds be released?

Funding will be released in installments with 60% of the annual budget being released after the Grant Agreement has been signed, 30% on completion of the corresponding interim report, and the final 10% being released on the submission and acceptance of the complete dataset and Final Report.

I am having trouble uploading files. Are the files too big or is it the format?

An individual file can be up to 20MB in size. Letters and official documents should be submitted as PDFs, however, your digital assets plan and work plan may be submitted as either PDF or Word documents. Images can be submitted in JPEG or PNG format, and video files can be submitted as MOV or MP4.


Is it possible to edit the application once it has been submitted?

No, you cannot modify the application after it has been submitted. Please email us at emkp@britishmuseum.org if any important changes need to be made to your application after submission.


Can I download a copy of my application?

Yes, you can download a copy of your submission by signing into your account and selecting the “Download as PDF” option at the top of your application page. You can also print a copy of your application through the “Print Form” option.