Cambridge Community Heritage (CCH) were invited to showcase their community heritage and archaeology projects in London yesterday as part of the Arts & Humanties Research Council’s Connected Communities programme.
Connected Communities is a cross-Council research programme which aims to understand the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the value of communities in sustaining and enhancing our future quality of life. The showcase event took place at Congress Centre in London and was attended by David Willetts MP, minister for Universities and Science who addressed the delegates.
CCH is funded by the AHRC to enable University of Cambridge researchers to help community groups and schools develop, run and analyse their own heritage projects funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) via the ‘All Our Stories’ programme, a nationwide scheme of 500 projects that will help people to explore and discover their community’s past. Nearly 90% of local groups in East Anglia who received advice from University of Cambridge researchers in preparing their application were successful in being awarded up to £10,000 funding each from the HLF. Cambridge Community Heritage are now providing ongoing support to All Our Stories projects including training and help with running activities in 2013, with additional funding by the AHRC.
Karen Brookfield, Deputy Director of the Heritage Lottery Fund, singled out the University of Cambridge and one of the projects we are supporting, ‘100 Years of Coconuts’ celebrating Cambridge United Football Club’s centenary, for especial mention in her speech.
The CCH stand featured images, artefacts, video and literature showing how community excavation projects work and the impact they have. This included a three-dimensional hands-on ‘reveal’ display which enabled visitors to experience the anticipation of the excavations and find out about discoveries made during test-pit excavations.
We had staff and community members on hand to talk about the aims, experience and outcomes of the projects for communities, academia and society. Thank you to Alex Pryor (CCH early career researcher), Dane Comerford (Public Engagement), Sarah Talks (Friends of Ashwell Museum) and Kathryn Betts (Meldreth Local History Group) for their contribution to making the event such a fantastic success.
The Twitter hashtag for the event was #ahrcconnect and you can read about highlights from the event here.