Group of people standing in front of church building with plants in front of them
Members of the St Mungo's volunteer gardening group at St Peter's Church, Castle Park, Bristol © Historic England DP248591
Members of the St Mungo's volunteer gardening group at St Peter's Church, Castle Park, Bristol © Historic England DP248591

Outreach to Ownership Research Pilot

Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland are delighted to launch ‘Outreach to Ownership’, an innovative research pilot which will run until September 2022 funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

The £250,000 pilot project is distributing funds to five partner organisations in Scotland and England:

Partners will co-deliver innovative research with community organisations. The research will investigate the social and economic value of a range of approaches to inclusive community engagement across the culture sector. 

Since January 2022 partners have been working together to share knowledge and experience as they develop their projects. Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland operate as a supportive research hub for the programme; distributing grants, delivering a capacity building programme, evaluating the programme with support from Bright Culture, and building the networks and promoting the research of partners.

Themes explored across the course of the pilot include:

  • Community ownership of buildings or monuments
  • Community delivery of inclusive cultural services
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers to participation
  • Promoting equality, diversity and inclusive best practice.

At the heart of the programme lies a commitment to encouraging active participation of communities in all of the research projects and ensuring that the research activities and creative outputs will be co-created with community participants. 

Working together, this innovative, co-creative research partnership will make a strong case to AHRC for a scaled-up version of the programme in the near future. It will also seek to influence funders, policymakers and researchers at large to recognise and better support inclusive community-led research across the culture sector.

The Art House is thrilled to be part of the Outreach to Ownership pilot project with Historic England and Historic Environment Scotland.

Our interim-use spaces project 'Makey Wakey' has been developing since 2019. The project is a partnership between The Art House, a visual arts centre, and The Ridings Shopping Centre in Wakefield, exploring potential futures for traditional retail spaces through alternative uses. We have built a community of artists, social enterprises, and community groups in the shopping centre and anecdotally we know that this project is making a difference in our city, but we haven't had the chance to really explore that and find out just how much change we're making.

This community research project will provide us with sessions from research experts and capacity building training, as well as an amazing opportunity to look at our work objectively, challenge our assumptions, and empower our community partners along the way."

Lucy Norton, Project Coordinator The Art House

Funded by

Arts and Humanities Research Council logo in 2021

Outreach to Ownership