Material knowledge—the understanding of the resources, skills, technologies and social values necessary to create and maintain the material world around us—is endangered. In this precarious world, the diversity of material knowledge is being lost at an unprecedented rate as mass-produced goods and industrial technologies subsume or replace local practices. Changes to the environment and habitat loss—through industrialisation, deforestation, green grabbing, and other factors—jeopardize local ecologies and raw material sustainability. Meanwhile, shifting socio-political dynamics, such as large scale urbanisation and rural depopulation, imperil long-practiced forms of learning, apprenticeship, and knowledge transfer.

The Endangered Material Knowledge Programme (EMKP) supports knowledge holders, practitioners, and scholars with grants to conduct new research on critically threatened material knowledge globally, especially in understudied areas and where local funding opportunities are limited. EMKP also helps to connect source communities with museum objects stewarded around the world, and provides access to their material knowledge in a digital repository dedicated to its preservation.

EMKP offers small and large grants annually (please see details of grants here), which are managed by the EMKP Team at the British Museum, and awarded based on the recommendations of the EMKP Expert Panel.


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