Cambridge University Support for Community Heritage Projects

A group of University of Cambridge archaeologists and historians, led by Dr Carenza Lewis, are poised to help community groups in the East of England with proposals to research aspects of local heritage.

The Cambridge Community Heritage initiative will be part of a national scheme involving the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the BBC.

Michael Wood’s BBC TV series ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’, broadcasting in May and June 2012, will inspire many groups to want to find out more about their own local heritage. In support of the programme, the HLF have launched a fund called ‘All Our Stories’ and the AHRC is funding a parallel initiative, ‘Research for Community Heritage’, to provide the academic support that community groups applying for HLF awards will be able to access.

Dr Lewis ran the community excavations to be featured in ‘The Great British Story’ in addition to a wide range of previous television and public outreach work. She explained some of the types of projects on which the academic researchers may be able to provide advice. ‘Perhaps you are keen to carry out archaeological investigations in your community?’ she suggests. ‘Maybe you are interested in using local historical records to find out about your community’s past? Or making local museum collections more widely accessible? Or developing a learning pack about community heritage for local schools? Or recording an oral history of local people’s recollections of past lives and events?’

The Cambridge Community Heritage group will be present at a BBC event at Ickworth Hall, Suffolk, on Sunday 20 May, when community group members are welcome to talk to team members about getting involved in the project. There will also be two dedicated open days in Cambridge, on Thursday 21 June, and Saturday 23 June, when groups who have registered can come and talk to researchers interested in working with them on their project.

There are ten Cambridge researchers taking part in the project have expertise in archaeology from prehistory to medieval and modern times, as well as local, landscape and oral history and museum collections and outreach. You can read more about their expertise here.

To find out more about how your group in East Anglia could get involved, and to register to attend one of the June open events, please visit the CCH website here. Other UK groups interested in community heritage can find out about the national scheme here.

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