£250,000 project for community groups to research collections in galleries, libraries, archives and museums across the UK

National Museums Scotland has been awarded a grant by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with the National Maritime Museum, London to enable organisations around the UK to work with community groups to explore experiences of empire, migration, and life in Britain through their collections.

The £250,000 pilot project, entitled  Exchange: Community-Led Collections Research, will see funding distributed to galleries, libraries, archives and museums to work with South Asian, African and African-Caribbean diaspora organisations to answer research questions identified by these community groups. 

The year-long project will see National Museums Scotland and the National Maritime Museum, London working as a hub; gathering evidence for best practice guidelines, providing expert guidance and holding a central fund which will be distributed to partner organisations around the UK. 

Outputs will include new research into the historic and contemporary meanings of objects, which will inspire new, creative projects defined by community groups and centred around partner organisations’  collections. These will challenge and expand on established representations of diaspora experiences. 

Confirmed partner organisations in Scotland include Museums & Galleries Edinburgh, Glasgow Life and David Livingstone Birthplace. In England, they include the Museum of the Home, National Museum of the Royal Navy, Brunel’s  SS Great Britain and Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums.   

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