What does it cost?

The Programme represents an investment of £7,500 per participant by Arts Council England. 


No, we make a registration and administration charge of £795 (£954 inc. VAT) payable to the Black Country Living Museum.  For this you get the year's programme of 8 workshops and 2 residentials, all learning materials, access to the MRL learning legacy resource bank, mentoring support throughout the year, UK travel (see below) and the costs of the Overseas Study Visits (OSVs).  See also Bursaries.


There is a travel allowance of £1,350 per participant and you are expected to plan and book your travel within the UK and overseas within that sum (including any VAT which your organisation applies to reclaims to MRL - see below). Refer to the current programme and OSVs to see the likely pattern of travel for your programme.  

The workshop start and finish times are organised to allow for the use of public transport for the vast majority of participants. 

You are free to top up the travel budget from your own or your organisation's funds, i.e. if you wish to go over the £1,350 allowance. MRL administration keeps a running record of your expenditure and there is a prompt repayment system, once you have made a claim.


The Black Country Living Museum (BCLM), has an arrangement with HMRC which means it only makes a partial reclaim of the VAT it is charged on any goods or services it buys to run the Museum.  BCLM has calculated that, for the overall Museum operation, this is a beneficial financial arrangement. This rule applies to expenditure on the MRL Programme.

What this means:

  • If you make a personal travel booking, for say £500 in total, and make a claim yourself to BCLM (you will submit a claim backed by invoices, receipts and a mileage calculation, if applicable, based on 45 pence per mile) you will be reimbursed for the full amount = £500
  • If your organisation books this same travel on your behalf and then makes a claim to BCLM, it is obliged to add VAT @ 20% e.g. a £500 reclaim bill becomes £600 (£500 + VAT @ 20%).
  • BCLM will refund the £600 to your organisation, but it cannot fully reclaim the VAT element = £100.  The amount BCLM cannot reclaim will be approximately £60. Your £1,500 travel budget will therefore be reduced not by £500 but by £560. Which means...
    • It is more cost effective to submit claims yourself than through your organisation
    • It is important to make a claim promptly after incurring expense....

Reclaim Procedure

You are required to submit your travel, expenses and accommodation claims within the month during which they were incurred.

overseas study visit

Our experience is that it can take several weeks of patient organisation to put all of the elements of the OSV in place.  It's important that the organisation you visit has been on a 'resilience journey' and that you can get access to the right people to learn more.  The OSV also takes a large proportion of the MRL travel budget for each participant.  All of this indicates that if you are accepted on the Programme you should start start planning immediately. 

MRL and You