Janet Arnold Award

Grants for researching the history of Western dress


Background: Janet Arnold (1932–98) was an artist, teacher and fashion designer. Her practical skills, together with a passion for accuracy, made her a powerful advocate for the study of historical dress as a serious discipline. The use of archival material and visual and literary records are important, but as she demonstrated in her own work, a real comprehension of historical dress depends on the close examination, and understanding, of surviving garments, both whole and fragmentary.

Scope: These grants are to further in-depth study of the history of Western dress.  Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they wish to pursue a particular piece of original research based on items of dress or their remains with a view to eventually disseminating the results through publication, display, cataloguing, teaching or through practical use in conservation or accurate reproduction.  The award may be used for travel, accommodation and incidental expenses such as purchase of photographs.
Usual amount of award: £350-2,000

Applicants should also note that:

  • If you are in full-time employment in a field related to the subject of the proposed study, assistance may be given, in agreement with your employer, to help pay for a short-term substitute while the research is done. The Society will not fund the payment of overheads.
  • There is no age limit and formal qualifications or previous publications are not necessary; but any relevant work relating to dress will be taken into account.
  • Your research must not already be covered by published work and must be accomplished without potential damage to the item(s) of dress concerned
  • Consent must be obtained from the owner(s)/custodian(s) of any item(s) to be examined
  • You must show that you have the skills necessary to bring your project to fruition
  • Your research must be adequately planned in respect of time required and estimated costs.  (It may be that the award will cover only an agreed part of some larger research project.)
  • Successful applicants will be expected to submit electronically a report showing the results of their research and accounting in general terms for the costs involved.  In the case of a larger award leading, for example, to a publication, interim reports will be necessary.  Acknowledgement of the Janet Arnold Award should be made in any publication or practical use of the research.  Should any part of the award remain unspent it is to be returned to the Society of Antiquaries for reinvestment in the Janet Arnold Award Fund.
  • Grants should be taken up by 31 December of the year in which they are awarded
  • Your application must be made on the form provided and should not exceed 5 sides of A4; the font size should be no smaller than 10 point. Your application will be considered solely on the basis of the information you provide on your application form.
  • Applications (12 copies) and references (12 copies) must be submitted by 15 January in the year of application. Late applications or those with late or missing references will not be considered. It is your responsibility to ensure your references reach the Society by the deadline.
  • Members of the Award Panel (John Cherry, Maria Hayward and Santina Levy) and the Research Committee are debarred from acting as referees.

Download the Application form and the Referee form