Please note that the Designation Scheme is currently undergoing a review and during this period is closed to new applications. 

The review of Designation considered the purpose and principles of the Scheme to establish its effectiveness as a means of identifying vitally important cultural collections.

Our clear vision of the power of Designation and our plans for the future of the Scheme have been laid out in the publication ‘Pearls and Wisdom’. These plans will enable the Scheme to thrive and will focus attention on these exceptional and outstanding collections.

The publication is based on recommendations from an extensive consultation. This consultation showed that Designation continues to be greatly valued, and that the founding principles of identifying and celebrating the best collections should be repositioned as the foundation for future awards.


Pearls and wisdom, Arts Council England’s vision for the Designation Scheme for collections of national significance  

Prior to the creation of this publication the Arts Council commissioned an independent survey to gather opinions about the purposes, principles and future of the Designation Scheme. 

Designation Review - Results from a Survey of Stakeholders

Using the findings of the survey as well as points raised during key stakeholder conversations and discussions within the Arts Council, we have developed a proposal on the future of the Scheme. 

Designation Scheme - a proposal for its future

This proposal informed the development of a new application process for the Scheme, which is currently being tested by pilot applicants.

We will be accepting applications to the revised Designation Scheme in spring 2015. Please check back for updates.