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Paul Hamlyn Foundation - Arts-based Learning Fund


The Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s (PHF's) mission is to “help people overcome disadvantage and lack of opportunity, so that they can realise their potential and enjoy fulfilling and creative lives”. The Foundation places particular focus on supporting both young people and the arts.

As one of the largest independent grant-making foundations in the UK, the Foundation is able to make substantial contributions to providing new opportunities and experiences for the less fortunate members of society.

The current strategy identifies five priorities where it wishes to see change in the UK:

  • Investing in young people
  • Migration and integration
  • Arts access and participation
  • Education and learning through the arts
  • Nurturing ideas and people

The Foundation’s commitment to social justice underpins these priorities. There is particular interest in supporting individuals and organisations that share this commitment and in funding that:

  • Strengthens civil society
  • Supports social innovation
  • Champions people’s voice and agency
  • Responds to digital transformation
  • Responds to the climate emergency

The Arts-based Learning Fund supports work which enables pupils in formal education settings, particularly those experiencing systemic inequality or disadvantage, to thrive through engagement with high quality, arts-based learning.

Objectives of Fund

The funding is intended to support arts-based work that tackles the disruption caused by the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic to education and the adverse impact on children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing, particularly those experiencing systemic inequality and barriers to learning.

Value Notes

Grants range from £30,000 to £400,000 for up to two or three years. Most grants will be in the £150,000 to £250,000 over two to three years.

PHF can provide pre-application Access Support and a bursary of up to £500 to help organisations apply.

Who Can Apply

Charities, community organisations, social enterprises and not-for-profit companies active in the arts are eligible to apply.

Applicants must be working in partnership with schools or other formal education settings, such as primary and secondary schools, further education colleges, alternative provision, special schools and early years.

Priority will be given to:

  • Work taking place outside of London that is for the benefit of primary-age children.
  • High quality applications which demonstrate they support and champion people with lived experience of systemic inequality and barriers to learning with the education system in the leadership and delivery of the work. This means Black, Asian and other groups who experience racism, Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse people who experience the effects of ableism, those who identify as sitting at the intersections of several minoritized identities, and people experiencing poverty.


United Kingdom


Funding is not available for:

  • Applications made directly from schools or other formal education settings.
  • Work taking place in independent or fee-paying education settings.
  • Activity that PHF judges is, or should be, a statutory entitlement.

Eligible Expenditure

There is particular interest in applications with a focus on the following areas (not all applications need to include all of these aspects):

  • Support for pupils who experience systemic disadvantage to access and make progress in their learning.
  • Creating more opportunities for high quality arts-based teaching and learning in education settings, especially in those which have not had this work in the past.
  • Exploring the role of arts-based learning in addressing issues of inclusion, especially racism, in education
  • Effective practice in digital and blended arts-based teaching and learning
  • Enabling arts-based learning to be embedded in curricula and practice for the long-term.

The work should demonstrate the following principles of effective practice and partnership:

  • Work which responds to specific pupil and / or education setting needs
  • Approaches which are evidence-based
  • Work which is co-constructed by arts/cultural organisations and education settings
  • Work which is high quality in terms of expertise and resources
  • Commitment to reflection and continuous improvement
  • Supporting development of the cultural education workforce.

The funding can be used in one or more of the following ways:

  • Support which underpins specific programmes of work
  • Support for core costs
  • Support to develop and test new approaches.

The funding can support costs:

  • Associated with the development of evidence and learning as part of the grant. This may include, for example, user-research, monitoring, evaluation, reflective practice and sharing learning within and beyond the organisation.
  • Of training and ongoing professional development for freelancers and staff as part of the proposal.

How To Apply

Applications can be made at any time. There are no deadlines.

There is a two-stage application process for this stream. Guidance and the online application form can be found on the PHF website.

Contact the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for further information.


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