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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday June 7, 2024

Updated on Friday June 7, 2024

portrait of Marta Musso

Marta Musso

PR & Communication Manager , Archives Portal Europe

Research, digitise and create: the Archives Portal Europe grants

Archives Portal Europe, an accredited Europeana aggregator for archives from and about Europe, runs a grants scheme to support the digitisation and accessibility of archive material, and research into it. They tell us about the grants, the winners of the latest rounds, and how you can apply!

The recipient of the 2023 APE Creative Grant: Giulia Giannola, Archival Ghosts, turned archival elements into holograms for archival institutions. The image shows the original project of the fountain in Villa d’Este in Tivoli, from the State Archives of Modena, and the hologram project elaborated by the artist
Villa d’Este in Tivoli – hologram elaborated by the artist. In copyright.
Giulia Giannola

The recipient of the 2023 APE Creative Grant: Giulia Giannola, Archival Ghosts, turned archival elements into holograms for archival institutions. The image shows the original project of the fountain in Villa d’Este in Tivoli, from the State Archives of Modena, and the hologram project elaborated by the artist.

Archives across Europe hold a treasure trove of materials, from ancient manuscripts to modern records. The job of the archivist is to make this enormous material available, findable, and as open as possible; as anyone working with archives will know, it is no easy feat.

That's where initiatives like the small grants offered by Archives Portal Europe (APE) come in. They support both projects that digitise and make this material more accessible, and research projects which make creative and meaningful use of the archival heritage searchable and available in Archives Portal Europe.

APE currently offers three annual grants: the Digitisation Grant, designed for archival institutions; the Research Grants, designed to help scholars conducting archival research through trips or digitisation requests; and the Creative Grant, which aims to open up archival research outside of history research and academic circles, to embrace a more creative usage of archives.

The Digitisation Grant

The Digitisation Grant is reserved for archival institutions that are current or prospective content providers for APE. The aim of the grant is to increase and improve the amount of metadata ingested in the portal. While most digitisation grants focus on the scanning and digitisation of the actual documents, this grant focuses on the digitisation of archival catalogues (the preparation in digital format and ingestion in APE of archival descriptions). The digital object is a welcome extra which allows direct online access for users, but APE focuses on the digital research and findability of archival collections. The grant is open to both new content providers, and already existing content providers that want to increase and improve the quality of their metadata in APE. It is a medium-size grant with up to 10,000 euros offered to archival institutions based on the soundness of the project, and on the aim to diversify the type of archival documents and the geography of the heritage present in APE.

This year’s winner is the historical archive of the National Bank of Greece, with a project on the documents related to the hydroelectricity projects the Bank financed. The archive will prepare all archival descriptions related to the documents in digital format, and ingest in the portal. It will also digitise a selected portion of the collections to make them available online for immediate access.

The 2025 grants will open at the end of 2024 with a deadline in early March at the latest, in order to allow at least nine months for the project to be completed.

Research Grants

The Research Grants are two small grants (500 euros each) to support research projects with a scholarly output, such as books or academic papers. This could include supporting trips to the archives, digitisation work or acquisition of usage rights. These grants are meant for historians and humanities researchers, particularly early-career scholars. The grants are issued in two rounds, one at the beginning of the year, and one in the second part of the year.

In 2024, the first round was awarded toDr. Karine Varley from the University of Strathclyde, who examines the ethical and moral inconsistencies in the conduct of the British and Free French during World War II. She will explore case studies of moral justifications behind military violence in several archives in the UK and France.

The second round is currently open, with a deadline to apply of 30 June 2024. Find out more and apply.

Creative Grants

Finally, the Creative Grant aims to promote the usage of archives for creative practices beyond research in academia. The grant supports artists with projects that are based on archival material; it is open to any discipline and idea, as long as the projects are based on the creative usage of the past and of archival material. The grant can be awarded individually, or to a collective of artists.

In 2024, the recipient of the grant was Lia Carreira, based in Portugal. Her project reconstructs the history of the Palácio das Belas Artes in Lisbon online, inviting audiences to explore the intersection of history, art, and technology by telling the story of one of the most iconic arts buildings in the country.

The grant opens early in the year to again allow at least eight - nine months for completion.

Find out more

All grants are open to any researcher, practitioner, or archival institution in the world, as long as the work is based on archives belonging to the APE network. In exchange for the grant, we ask awardees to spend some time as volunteers for APE, helping the network with various online tasks related to portal testing, research, and other online activities.

Even though (unfortunately!) the grants can be only awarded to one project, APE offers non-financial support to runners-up projects, offering help with the research and other type of support.

More information about the grants, including the reports from past recipients, can be found on a dedicated section on the website.