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15 November 2021

New pilot scheme explores inclusive ways to empower community organisations

Using an innovative ‘hub and spokes’ structure Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England will support eight partner organisations across Scotland and England to explore a variety of inclusive approaches to community engagement.

8 people smiling standing in front of a historic wall with some greenery in front of them
Image © Historic England Archive

‘Outreach to Ownership,’ an innovative cross-border research pilot has been announced by Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England. The project will run until September 2022 and is being funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Community empowerment is a key focus for governments and organisations and increasingly the culture sector is asking communities to shape, participate in, and even take responsibility for the design and delivery of services.

This pilot will enable communities to undertake research into these trends across the cultural sector encompassing galleries, libraries, archives, museums, heritage organisations, historic places, parks, and gardens.

Using an innovative ‘hub and spokes’ structure Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England will support eight partner organisations across Scotland and England to explore a variety of inclusive approaches to community engagement.

Across the course of the next year £125,000 will be given in grants to the partner organisations to support their research. Alongside this funding, Historic Environment Scotland and Historic England will facilitate a programme of workshops to build connections, answer the training and skills needs of partners and allow them to share their knowledge with a view to demonstrating the contribution that an inclusive, community-engaged culture sector can make to local development and national policy. A call for partner organisation is now live: 

Apply to take part

George Findlater, Head of Community and Economic Development at Historic Environment Scotland said:

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Historic England to deliver Outreach to Ownership.  Community groups are at the forefront of tackling inequality, and promoting environmental, social, and economic regeneration.  By supporting them to undertake and share their own research into how heritage contributes to these goals, this project will help to share good practice across the UK and enable us all to work more productively together in future.”

Amy Pitts, Director of Communications and Public Engagement at Historic England said: 

Historic England are delighted with the award from AHRC and the opportunity to partner with Historic Environment Scotland on this innovative research pilot.

Encouraging inclusive, active participation with local heritage and working closely across the heritage and culture sectors are key priorities for us. We’re committed to empowering partners and their community networks through the programme to demonstrate the important value of inclusive engagement to people and places."

About Year of Coasts and Waters 2021

The Year of Coasts and Waters (#YCW2021), led by VisitScotland, will be showcased throughout 2021. Activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink - whisky.

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES) 

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
  • View our press pack and keep up to date by registering for media release email alerts. If you wish to unsubscribe, please contact us.

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For enquiries about the programme, please contact:

Ben Thomas
Research Manager at 
Historic Environment Scotland
ben.thomas@hes.scot

Historic England
outreachtoownership@historicengland.org.uk

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Barry McPherson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
Mobile: 07880 134 601
barry.mcpherson@hes.scot

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