The Activist Museum Award 2020-2021

The Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG), in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, is delighted to announce the second round of the Activist Museum Award. This award is for an individual or group working in/with museums to support the research and development of an activist project that reflects the ideas presented by Robert R. Janes and Richard Sandell in their recent book, Museum Activism (Routledge, 2019). Museum activism refers to ‘museum practice, shaped out of ethically-informed values, that is intended to bring about political, social and environmental change.’ The Activist Museum Award is the vision of Robert R. Janes in recognition of the pioneering work of Richard Sandell in the field of museums and social justice. It is intended to encourage, inspire and support similarly activist museum work throughout the UK museum community and the world.

This award was made possible by a gift from Robert R. Janes.


One award will be made in 2020. The successful applicant will be awarded £1000 to support the development of their project. The deadline for applications is Monday 23 November 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of December 2020. The project must be completed within one year. Successful applicants will share their process and outcomes at an event for practitioners and researchers hosted by RCMG at the University of Leicester by the end November 2021, and will be offered support throughout the year in the form of three virtual consultations to, if needed, help plan their project or prepare for the event. This award is available to any UK-based practitioners and researchers (Staff in the University of Leicester are not eligible to apply). 


All applications will be assessed by the selection panel:

  • Sara Wajid, Museum of London 
  • Ross Parry, School of Museum Studies 
  • Jocelyn Dodd, Research Centre for Museums and Galleries
  • Richard Sandell, Research Centre for Museums and Galleries 

The selection panel are looking for proposals that will help advance our understanding of how museums can address climate/environmental crises and/or foster progressive social or political change. Applicants will be judged on:

  • Fit to this call
  • Quality of concept 
  • Feasibility
  • Potential to have impact

How to Apply

Please apply through the Application Form (docx, 47.4kb) using the Call for Applications (pdf, 235kb). If you would like to discuss your proposal or have questions about eligibility, there will be two opportunities to do so in advance of the application deadline. Virtual application surgeries will take place on 28 September and 28 October 2020, please get in touch with Ceciel Brouwer to book a slot through or Once the application form is complete, please return to

Activist Museum Award colorful banner

The Activist Museum Award 2019-20 Winners

The winners of the 2019-20 Award have been announced. The panel have decided to award three Activist Museum Awards of £1000 to activist projects by Museum as Muck, Climate Museum UK and the International Slavery Museum. Watch the video below to hear more from Robert R. Janes about the Activist Museum Award.

Robert Janes

The Activist Museum Award