Warwickshire Library and Information Service is delighted to announce that a partnership bid with Nuneaton Museum and the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum to the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund has been successful. The partnership was granted the largest award of £119,711 and was one of only five successful bids to the Museum Association run fund.
Together, the internationally significant locations, including Nuneaton Library, form the largest collection of publically held items in the UK belonging to George Eliot, her family and friends and material about her life and work.
The award will fund an 18 month project led by Nuneaton Museum, and will enable a project officer to be appointed who will work between the collections, researching them further, before arranging a series of activities for people to take part in. Most of the activities will take place next year to commemorate 200th anniversary of Eliot’s birth. A new website and trail will be created to enable people to learn more about her life, the three collections, and the local area. This will be especially useful when Coventry celebrates being City of Culture in 2021.
Born as Mary Ann Evans, in Nuneaton in 1819, George Eliot grew up in Nuneaton before moving with her father to Coventry when she was twenty one. Her writing was influenced by her early experiences growing up in rural North Warwickshire and the intellectual friendships made with a group of radical thinkers while in Coventry.
The partnership believes that Eliot’s life has relevance today and that by delving into the collections, people will find that although there have been many technological advances people still share similar concerns with those who lived long ago. Her radical life and the choices she made can speak to local people, reflecting their concerns and experiences in order to contribute to their wellbeing.
Councillor Kam Kaur, Portfolio Holder for Customer and Transformation said:
“I’m pleased to hear that Warwickshire Library and Information Service has been successful in being part of this funding partnership to raise the profile of George Eliot a Warwickshire author renowned worldwide. I look forward to seeing how the partners work together to provide opportunities for local people to find out more about her life and work.”
The Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund is run by the Museums Association, funding projects that develop collections to achieve social impact. It has awarded 90 projects since it’s launch in 2011 with grants totaling over £6.7m in 14 funding rounds. Between 2017 and 2019 it is offering a total of £3.5m in grants to Museums Association members, as well as providing events and resources for the whole sector. www.museumsassociation.org/collections