To apply for Designated status for a museum, library or archive collection, you must complete an online application process.

Please refer to the Designation scheme Guidance for Applicants for full details of how to apply. 

A two stage application process

The application process has two stages. The two stage process ensures that applicants are guided at an early stage as to whether the collection they are putting forward is appropriate for the Designation scheme.

The first stage asks you to demonstrate that your organisation is eligible to apply and the collection you are putting forward has the potential to meet our definition of a Designated collection.

The definition of a Designated collection is:

“A nationally significant, coherent assemblage of items; held in trust in the long-term for public benefit. A Designated collection is an essential research resource for its subject.”

If you are successful at the first stage you will be invited to the second stage of the process and will be requested to complete an application form based on three main criteria:

National Significance, Outstanding Quality, Research Value.

All three criteria must be fully met in order for the collection to receive Designated status.

Please read the application guidance in full before commencing your application (to the right of this page).

Once you have done this, you can begin your application on this application portal

The Designation panel 

The Designation panel will assess the application at both stages. Appointed by the Arts Council, the panel makes independent decisions on its behalf. The panel is made up of respected members in the fields of arts, cultural heritage and historical research. The panel usually meets twice a year to consider applications for Designated status.

There are set deadlines for applicants to be considered at each panel meeting.

The latest deadlines to complete applications at stage one, are:


5pm, 8 July 2015 for the October Panel meeting


5pm, 20 January 2016 for the April Panel meeting

5pm, 22 June 2016 for the October Panel meeting