New Stories New Audiences

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Applications for the first round of funding have now closed, but look out for news of round two in Summer 2022.

We know that all museums need to increase and widen their audiences to enhance their sustainability, and to widen participation to groups that are currently under-represented. We want New Stories New Audiences to inspire museums to stay relevant to their audiences and to increase their impact.

Funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, New Stories New Audiences is open to all AIM members in the small museum category (up to 20,000 visitors). AIM members in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all eligible to apply.

We will fund projects up to £15,000 that result in a wider range of people being involved in heritage at your organisation. We expect you to have identified a new story that you wish to tell and undertaken some initial research to identify who the new audience will be. We also expect you to work with a new partner, to work differently and to try something new.

What we will fund

Projects could include:

  • Developing new interpretation
  • Creating a small display or exhibition
  • Developing new educational resources
  • Creating art works
  • Undertaking new collecting
  • Developing a website or other digital resource
  • Organising an event
  • Creating new volunteering opportunities
  • Developing a new tour

Examples of partners could include a school, local history group, university, local charity, community, social or volunteer groups or individuals such as artists. Examples of new audiences could include members of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, people with a disability, young people or local people from particular socio-economic groups.

Your new story could be related to your local area, mission, groups, individuals from the past or present that you do not currently explore. Museums specifically have a unique opportunity to use and develop their collections to highlight discrimination, identify and address missing perspectives, and encourage debate and discussion. You’ll need to find what may spark non-visitors’ interest from among the collections, sites or stories of which you are the custodians. It is a good idea to consult people from those groups to identify what may encourage them to visit and explore further.


Taken from AIM’s 2021 conference, hear AIM Director Lisa Ollerhead, in conversation with Chair Andrew Lovett, explain the importance of new funding scheme New Stories New Audiences and how it could help your small museum:

Application process

The full eligibility criteria and terms and conditions can be downloaded below.

You may also find it useful to read AIM’s Understanding Audiences Success Guide, which is full of advice on how to undertake research with visitors and make use of the data on who visits you and who doesn’t. Click here for Understanding Audiences Success Guide>>

Successful projects will be allocated an experienced project mentor and will take part in the New Stories New Audiences network with other successful applicants. At the end of your project, you will be brought together to share learning, contribute to the evaluation of the experience and inform the creation of new resources.

Please do talk to us while you are developing your project and we will tell you whether your project is eligible and help you make your application as strong as possible.

You can download the application form below.

Deadline for Applications 

Applications have now closed, but look out for news of round two opening for new applications in Summer 2022.

Contact details

For more information on New Stories, New Audiences contact Margaret Harrison, AIM Programme Manager on or Tonia Collett, Programme Support Officer for NSNA on

New Stories New Audiences is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to provide this funding scheme to AIM members.

24/06/2021 in Finance New Stories New Audiences terms and conditions

New Stories New Audiences terms and conditions

24/06/2021 in Finance AIM New Stories New Audiences guidance notes

AIM New Stories New Audiences guidance notes

24/06/2021 in Finance AIM New Stories New Audiences application form

AIM New Stories New Audiences application form