Our Grants

Our grants are available to anybody to carry out documentation work on still active material practices and knowledge systems. Applications from applicants with varying degrees of research and fieldwork experience are welcome, including from people without a PhD or from non-academic backgrounds. There are no disciplinary restrictions, however, applications should demonstrate previous experience of community-based fieldwork (or the intention of, if a student), and that the source community endorses the research. There is no restriction on the nationality of the applicants, nor on the regional coverage of the work being proposed. However, please note, preference is given to projects that will carry out work in areas/countries with limited local funding infrastructure.

We do not fund revitalisation work (where the particular knowledge system has already been lost and you are concerned to revive it).

EMKP provides three types of grants (further details can be found below):

  • small grants of one year duration and up to £15,000
  • large grants of up to two years and with a maximum value of £70,000
  • joint grants with the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme

Applications are peer reviewed by regional specialists and final decisions are made by the EMKP advisory board. Please note, if you are a PhD student we will require a letter of support from your supervisor. 

The grants cover all relevant fieldwork costs including equipment, travel, subsistence and allowances for research assistants and community collaborators.  We do not fund replacement teaching/salary costs for the principal investigator or co-investigators. We do not fund institutional overhead costs.  Successful applicants are invited to a a week-long training course, usually held in London in September, which is designed to provide practical and theoretical training in key skills needed during documentation and preparation for upload to the digital repository. The costs of this training are covered from a separate budget and it is not necessary to include these costs in your application.  

You can apply through our submission portal. The next call will open in October 2020.

Please closely check the guidelines on the application structure. Note, you must use the most up-to-date form available for your application. Forms may change slightly from year to year, so please use earlier templates as a guide only. 

For Frequently Asked Questions, see here.

Small grants

Small grants can last up to one year with a maximum award of £15,000 . This type of grant is recommended for targeted material knowledge research focusing on a single or a few associated objects/practices. Small grants are also recommended for research aiming to establish how many practitioners and producers are left and the viability of setting up a larger project in the future.

Large grants

Large grants can last up to two years with a maximum award of £70,000. The grant is recommended for projects aiming to document a broader set of material practices and associated knowledge of one or a few ethnic communities. The scale and causes of endangerment should generally be known. Large grant projects can consist of a team of researchers with different specialisms and roles.

To find out more about past successful projects, click here.

Joint grants with the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme

EMKP and ELDP are offering grants for collaborative projects that combine language and material knowledge documentation. This call is in response to the recognition that cultural knowledge of the made world is encoded in the language of its makers, and that both are critically threatened by rapidly changing social, political and economic factors across the globe. This call offers an exciting opportunity for trans-disciplinary work that integrates the documentation of endangered material knowledge and its expression in the endangered language of its speakers, exploring how people understand, learn and make their worlds in their own terms. This call provides the opportunity to give the makers a voice, and to preserve their knowledge in the language in which it was developed.

Applicants will need to submit applications to both EMKP and ELDP and complete a joint call form that can be found here. Applicants are asked to complete both the EMKP and ELDP application so that the linguistic or material knowledge part of the project can be funded on its own. You are welcome to apply for either a large or small grant.

During the EMKP review process we see the same issues recurring that make projects un-fundable. Sometimes these are omissions or the lack of specific information; sometimes these are larger issues around eligibility. In preparing your application please follow the guidelines closely so you do not make small mistakes which make your application invalid. In addition, here is some general advice that should help you think about your application, how to prepare for it, what to include and how to write it. 

  • The EMKP application is designed to be fairly straight forward and uncomplicated. The main priority is ensuring you provide us with the information we ask for so we can assess the viability of the project.  We are less interested in how well you frame an academic argument, although your language needs to be clear, coherent and checked for mistakes. Focus therefore on answering the specific question we ask, rather than adding irrelevant detail to pad out an answer. 
  • One of the main criteria for selection is tangible proof of endangerment. Applicants should make sure they clearly explain why the specific material practice is directly endangered. Too often, applications list vague threats and don’t explain how these relate to the specific case-study.  
  • If the material practice/knowledge system you are proposing to record is widespread and not unique to your area/community, and is also widely threatened, it is useful to show why your particular case study is important and needs to be documented. For example, pottery use is in decline on a global scale, and has been the subject of many studies. Why should we fund another case-study when we already know so much about this practice? What makes this case-study stand out? 
  • Too often applicants fail to provide enough detail on the specific knowledge systems that are under threat. Vague descriptions of material culture that is disappearing is not enough. Reviewers want proof that you are familiar with local traditions and know exactly what practices are under threat.  
  • Don’t be over-ambitious – applicants sometimes suggest that they will document all the material practices within a community. In some cases, such an ensemble approach can work, but in general, detailed and thorough recording of a smaller number of practices is preferable. The EMKP panel would rather see high quality, rich records of specific practices rather than a more superficial overview of larger group. 
  • EMKP is explicitly focused on material knowledge and practice not necessarily objects or object design. Projects that propose to record and document individual artefacts or designs, without paying any attention to the technologies and knowledge systems around them are usually not successful
  • Pay attention to your fieldwork plan – too often fieldwork plans and methods are not adequately explained or spelt out. By providing details (e.g. timelines of when you will do what, who will take responsibility for which aspect) you are showing the review panel that you have thought through the actual mechanics of the project, and how you can achieve your goals. This question also tends to show the experience of the applicant as those with a strong record of prior research are familiar with in-the-field realities and can put together tailored plans.
  • Ensure you have enough time in the field – many of the applications failed because the proposals only include very short field trips. EMKP values in depth ethnographic research and documentation – this takes time, and cannot be done through short week long trips, or only spending a few days in a community before moving on to the next group. As discussed above, EMKP values detailed, rich socially informed records rather than general or quantitative surveys. 
  • Be realistic in your budget. Just because you can apply for more (up to £15,000 for small grants and £70,000 for large grants) doesn’t mean you should. The review panel will reject applications where the budget seems to be inflated and not value for money. They are also regional specialists so they are familiar with local costs and research environments – if your costs seems unusually high (or low) explain why. 
  • We often see applications involving a large team of collaborators and/or research assistants. EMKP actively supports such meaningful collaborations. However, too often, applicants fail to explain the role of different team members and what they contribute to the team. Sometimes reviewers feel that collaborators are listed for the sake of listing them and with no indication of their role; in other cases, applicants may place too much responsibility on research assistants instead of doing the work themselves. Have a clear statement of who will do what and make sure it is appropriately balanced. 
  • Applicants often fail to explain how they will deal with issues around language and translation. As well as explaining the team’s language competency in the application (and how you might overcome language issues – e.g. three stage translations of local language to regional language to English) please remember to include sufficient time and budget for such translation and/or transcription work.