New legacies of heritage research:
Experiments for understanding the outcomes, impacts and legacies of Connected Communities projects
What differences can Connected Communities heritage projects make? What are the values and impacts of collaborative heritage research?
In 2014 The ‘Heritage Legacies’ AHRC project funded small-scale experimental activities to explore and test the outcomes, impacts and legacies of Connected Communities research on heritage – by which we mean collaborative or co-produced research on the past.
We invited Connected Communities projects to put forward innovative proposals that addressed at least one of our overall goals:
(1) Explore and enhance the legacies of Connected Communities research;
(2) Understand the values and outcomes (whether positive or negative) of Connected Communities heritage research.
Seven projects received funding for their experiments, which we called ‘micro-legacies’.
Transmitting Musical Heritage micro-legacy project
Led by Kate Pahl, University of Sheffield
The original project explored the diverse contemporary musical heritage of the city of Sheffield. As a micro-legacy, academics and musicians worked together on a substantial piece of writing for publication that discussed collaborative writing and music-making, thinking about improvisation, voice and rhythm.
Digital Building Heritage micro-legacy project
Led by Nick Higgett, De Montfort University
The Digital Building Heritage project worked with 11 different heritage groups on digital resources for community engagement. The micro-legacy work involved a follow-up study to investigate how far the digital resources had been successful in achieving their aims, in order to inform future work.
Sharing and Sustaining Black Heritage in Nottingham micro-legacy project
Led by Susanne Seymour, University of Nottingham
Based on a grouping of Connected Communities projects, an experimental community-focused workshop was held to share and take forward Black heritage research in Nottingham. The well-attended day provided much useful thinking on the nature of collaboration and how to sustain the research.
Who Owns the Heritage? micro-legacy project
Led by Jodie Matthews, University of Huddersfield
The original Connected Communities project reviewed Humanities research on Britain’s Romani/Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Micro-legacy funding enabled the identification and further development of the most useful parts of the work for these communities (a bibliography and a podcast), along with a theme on visual imagery not previously considered.
The Lavender Project – Woodend Barn micro-legacy project
Led by Helen Smith, Robert Gordon University
This project was about generating community reflection and feedback on a collaborative art project about historic lavender production in rural Aberdeenshire, undertaken as part of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship. A film informed by artistic values was made in order to create further dialogue.
Not Lost the Plot micro-legacy project
Led by Colin Hyde, Leicester University
The original ‘Not Lost the Plot’ community project about the heritage of set of private allotments in Leicester. A film-maker was engaged to produce a documentary film based on interviews with community members and academics. It noted the value of considering legacy as a retrospective activity at one step removed from the research itself.
Discovering First World War Heritage and Leeds Stories of the Great War micro-legacy project
Led by Alison Fell, Leeds University
This micro-legacy work produced a large showcase event for a group of First World War community heritage projects. Projects shared their findings with each other and the wider public, and legacy interviews with participants also took place. A particular benefit was in enabling re-connection and continuity between different groups and projects.