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A shortlist of up to 10 curators will be given a total of £50,000 that they will be able to use to cherry-pick significant works by their favourite artists at Collect, the contemporary applied and decorative arts fair that runs at the V&A from January 25-29, 2008.

They will have just three hours during a special VIP preview at the museum to choose their preferred works. The Art Fund’s aim is two-fold: to bypass the often cumbersome decision-making processes and help curators jump the queue of private collectors, and to raise the quality of contemporary craft collections in the UK. “Great works of contemporary craft are still available for affordable sums if you seize the opportunity offered by fairs like Collect,” said Art Fund director David Barrie.

The scheme will be launched at the Craft Council’s annual curator’s conference at the Middlesborough Institute of Modern Art on November 9.