A museum dedicated to telling the stories of Burnley’s once thriving textiles industry is among the raft of organisations selected for support via the National Lottery Heritage Fund Digital Skills for Heritage initiative.

After a year in which digital outreach has proven more pivotal than ever before, this latest funding has been facilitated by the release of an additional £1 million from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Awards include a £99,200 grant for Gawthorpe Textiles Collection in Burnley, £119,100 for London-based Wikimedia UK, and £435,300 split between the Arts Marketing Association, University of Leeds and The Heritage Alliance, who will work collaboratively research and answer the heritage sector’s 100 most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic we have all seen the essential role that digital skills have played in helping heritage organisations continue to work, communicate and connect,” says Josie Fraser, head of digital policy at National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“The £1 million Culture Recovery Fund boost from DCMS recognises the value of digital skills and allows us to expand the initiative. These new grants focus on what organisations have told us they need most – digital innovation, enterprise and business skills to improve and rethink how the sector operates.”

Student Opps Grant

Enhancing the sector’s digital skills has been viewed as increasingly vital for the funding body, especially since a survey last year laid bare the current digital skills and attitudes of the heritage sector.

Caroline Dinenage, minister for digital and culture, says she has been “really impressed by the innovative ways that sites and projects have already pivoted during the pandemic, but now more than ever it is essential that our heritage sector has the latest digital skills to bring our history to life online”.

The new funding awards will, she concludes, “ensure that staff and volunteers have the skills they need to keep caring for the past and conserving for the future through the sector’s reopening and recovery”.

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