Writing Our History and Digging Our Past Showcase

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It’s been a busy week at the DBHG with three of our AHRC Connected Community, Community Heritage projects drawing to a conclusion and an AHRC film crew coming to record one of them (of which more in a future post). However we found time this weekend for four members of the DBHG to drive up to attend the University of Nottingham’s end of project showcase event for their AHRC Connected Communities project “Writing Our History and Digging Our Past”, a parallel to our own AHRC funded Digital Building Heritage project. This substantial project at the University of Nottingham incorporated the interests of a diverse range of heritage groups in the Midlands from those involved with canals to churches, wartime remembrances to medieval neighborhoods and early industrial mill buildings to archaeological investigations of various sites. The speakers were a mixture of institutional representatives and members of the community heritage groups. The Diseworth Heritage Trust who we have also been working with by laser scanning their St. Michael and All Angels Parish Church in Diseworth were represented by Mrs. Pat Guy who touched upon the work the Digital Building Heritage Group had done with them. Mr. David Stocker of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s East Midlands Committee gave a delightful and very positive insight into the state of present HLF funding in the region and Ms. Jenni Chambers from the NCCPE gave a whirlwind resume of the present state and likely future shape of collaborative funding between the HLF and the AHRC, it has to be said struggling valiantly and good humouredly with the symptoms of a cold. It’s clear that community heritage is alive and well in the East Midlands with a number of Universities including De Montfort contributing substantially to this grass-roots form of engagement with heritage. The funding routes for Community Heritage Groups through the Heritage Lottery fund are well established and increased sales of lottery tickets mean that there is more money than ever available to redirect back into the community for this kind of work. The Universities also have clear funding routes for this kind of co-produced community research in the UK, particularly through the AHRC and there was considerable agreement that the linked AHRC Connected Communities and HLF All Our Stories Funding programmes from which much of this recent community heritage research has sprung is successful and worth repeating, despite the inevitable teething problems. The work on show at Nottingham certainly demonstrated a rich diversity of approaches and interests which prove the point. De Montfort University will be hosting its own AHRC Symposium and Showcase Networking event called “Before the Last traces Are Gone” on Monday 16th December at De Montfort University in Leicester where there will be a range of speakers and exhibitions by the Universities of Leeds, De Montfort, Leicester, Nottingham, Hertfordshire, Sheffield and UCL and representatives of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

About Douglas Cawthorne

Reader in Digital Heritage at De Montfort University.
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