Funded Travelling Fellowships for Designers

Published: 9 May 2016

Funded Travelling Fellowships for Designers

In 2017, The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust will be investing around £1.3 million in British citizens, by awarding 150 Travelling Fellowships.

This will directly support British citizens who want to travel overseas to gain knowledge, experience and best practice to benefit others in their UK professions and communities, and society as a whole.

Travelling Fellowships will be awarded in the Designers category, and the application process is now open.

The UK has the largest design sector in Europe, and employs almost 180,000 people1, making designers a cornerstone of the UK economy.

The Design Fellowships will run, for the third year, in a prestigious partnership with the British Council’s Architecture, Design and Fashion (ADF) Department. Successful applicants will then be able to apply to ADF for a follow up grant to help with events, exhibitions, and further international collaboration to further their Churchill Fellowship. This partnership has so far seen 13 Fellowships awarded, an investment of over £80,000 into British designers.

Designers working in the applied arts in architecture, interiors, product and graphic design, are all encouraged to apply.

Camilla Buchanan wanted to investigate how design is being used to tackle complex problems in society.  In governments around the world, design methods are being used in the development of frontline services and public policies. Camilla visited Tokyo to look at the relationship between design and responses to a rapidly ageing population. She also travelled across the USA and met people from government, university research centres, not-for-profits and businesses who are using design to address strategic challenges such as the development of healthcare systems and resource management. On her return to the UK Camilla organised several events involving people she met and insights she gained from the trip. The knowledge she gained continues to significantly inform her writing and wider work. One of the most important benefits of the Fellowship was the space and structure that it created for Camilla to talk first-hand with the people leading design into new areas, particularly in the public sector. This improved her knowledge of where design methods can be applied in government, as well as her ability to explain the relevance of design in this context and to reflect critically.

Among those travelling this year, in this category, are:

  • William McMorran, Director of Architectonics in Bromyard. He will be travelling to Australia, Canada and the Netherlands to study the transformative integration of dementia care and the care environment.
  • Alexander Groves, a designer from London, who will be travelling to Brazil to research design projects which promote sustainable products from the Amazon Rainforest.

Successful applicants must demonstrate the commitment, the character and the tenacity to travel globally in pursuit of new and better ways of tackling a wide range of current challenges facing the UK, and upon their return work to transform and improve aspects of today’s society.

A travelling sabbatical for people with the drive, determination and desire to help others, can further their leadership and role model abilities.

Employees who are awarded Fellowships bring great benefits to their employers, not only in terms of the positive impact on their personal development, but also with the advantage of their enhanced knowledge, new ideas and examples of best practise that they bring back to the organisation.

Applications are judged purely on project merit, and these opportunities are available to all UK residents over the age of 18, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Successful applicants will receive an average Fellowship grant of over £6,000, covering return airfare, daily living costs, insurance and travel within the countries being visited, for approximately six weeks overseas.

Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established shortly after Sir Winston’s death in 1965, as his national memorial and living legacy. Since then it has awarded over 5,250 Travelling Fellowships.

The application process for travel in 2017 is now open, and there are 14 varied categories in which people can apply.

Churchill’s beliefs and passions are still living on through the Fellows – who are remarkable individuals, representing a wide range of backgrounds, qualifications, interests and professions, but sharing the desire to do something for the improvement of individuals and communities in the UK.

The deadline for the 2017 applications is 5pm on Tuesday 20th September 2016.

In total 150 Fellowships were awarded in the UK in 2016, an investment of over £1.4 million. The Fellows are currently travelling to 52 countries between them, across 6 continents, carrying out a wide range of projects.

To maximise the impact of the Fellowships partnerships have been developed with other organisations, focused on specific areas of concern and relevance for the UK today. Lessons learnt from overseas travel are effectively coordinated and disseminated, and incorporated into best practice in the UK for the benefit of others in similar communities and professions.

The British Council’s Architecture, Design and Fashion (ADF) department creates links between designers and cultural institutions around the world, through a diverse range of projects across the three disciplines. They form part of the British Council’s Arts Group, which works across 109 countries to build trust and opportunities for the UK through the exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas worldwide. For further information about the British Council, please visit Design at British Council.


1. From Creative Industries Economic Estimates - January 2015, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, January 2015