Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland have jointly launched a cross-border research pilot which is hoped to help community groups research trends across the heritage and cultural sectors, including museums, galleries, libraries, archives, parks and gardens.

The ‘Outreach to Ownership’ project will run from now until September 2022 and is being funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

This pilot has been designed to enable community groups to undertake research into trends across the heritage and cultural sectors, and is part of Historic England’s move to engage communities in the design and delivery of cultural services.

Historic England said it and Historic Environment Scotland will support eight partner organisations across England and Scotland to explore a variety of “inclusive approaches to community engagement.”

Across the course of the next year, grants totalling £125,000 will be given to the partner organisations to support their research.

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Alongside this funding, the two organisations will facilitate a programme of workshops to build connections, answer the training and skills needs of partners and allow them to share their knowledge.

The goal, said Historic England, is to demonstrate “the contribution that an inclusive, community-engaged culture sector can make to local development and national policy”.

Amy Pitts, Director of Communications and Public Engagement at Historic England said “inclusive, active participation with local heritage and working closely across the heritage and culture sectors are key priorities for us.

“We’re committed to empowering partners and their community networks through the programme to demonstrate the important value of inclusive engagement to people and places.”

George Findlater, Head of Community and Economic Development at Historic Environment Scotland said community groups “are at the forefront of tackling inequality, and promoting environmental, social, and economic regeneration.

“By supporting them to undertake and share their own research into how heritage contributes to these goals, this project will help to share good practice across the UK and enable us all to work more productively together in future.”

A panel consisting of internal and external experts will judge the proposals and those that are successful will be expected to start their research projects in January 2022. The deadline for applications is 5:30pm on Monday 6 December 2021. 

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Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland  have launched  the ‘Outreach to Ownership’ research pilot, which looks toward local communities for work on cultural services.