Introducing Dynamic Collections funded project; Community Led Collecting Fit for the Future

By Laila Benhaida, Community Archivist and Project Lead; Community Led Collecting Fit for the Future

We are excited to announce that we have begun a new project; Community Led Collecting Fit for The Future, funded by the Dynamic Collections funding scheme of the National Heritage Lottery Fund.

In March this year, we completed our six year long project ‘Coming in from the Cold’, which through community led collecting increased representation of Global Majority histories that are documented in Greater Manchester archives.  We marked the end of this project with a community showcase event and an exhibition displaying the valuable collecting work of the many global majority community groups we supported.

We are currently transitioning to the new project which will increase accessibility and discoverability of the collections we hold and more importantly support us to build digital resilience so we can better preserve digital material and ensure it is accessible for many, many years to come.

This project will also allow digitisation of lesser researched and known historic collections which will uncover further forgotten histories and support wider access and discoverability.

The project which will run for two years will support capacity building throughout the organisation which we aim to pass on to community groups through skills and knowledge sharing, training and engagement events. 

The funding will also support us to develop a critical friends heritage panel where we will work with a group of global majority community heritage experienced individuals to help us look critically at our collecting policies and decisions around prioritising resources as well as collection development practice. 

This is not specifically a collecting project like Coming in From the Cold, however we will continue our partnerships with global majority heritage groups in a more strategic way through training such as oral history training, capacity building and continue to support with sharing events and activities.

As well as improving our collections management the project aims to deliver a key coproduction and engagement thread which will allow us to partner with expert organisations where through knowledge and skill sharing, we will curate a series of engagement events that accommodate and represent diverse, lived, intersectional experiences of the many communities we work with.

Through this project we aim to develop and continue to build on our inclusive collecting and engagement practices that will inform the way we work going forward.