Today’s funding announcement is part of The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Digital Skills for Heritage initiative, which aims to raise digital skills and confidence across the whole UK heritage sector.
Seventeen projects across the UK have been awarded funding to create digital volunteering opportunities, supporting volunteers to develop and contribute their digital skills. Some opportunities will be offered online – removing barriers such as place, mobility, time commitments and confidence in returning to in-person activities due to the pandemic.
In turn, heritage organisations will gain the perspectives and skills of ‘at distance’ and on-site digital volunteers including many who may not have had the chance to volunteer before. The impact of the new volunteering opportunities and ways of working will be shared across the heritage sector.
Ros Kerslake, CEO at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Volunteers play a crucial role in supporting and sharing the UK’s heritage. Thanks to National Lottery players we are delighted to support these trailblazing projects, including the Nerve Centre and PRONI as they create exciting new digital volunteering opportunities, helping to break down barriers and inspire the sector to get even more people involved in the heritage they love.”
CollabArchive will create digital skills opportunities for volunteers at the main archive for Northern Ireland and develop a sustainable model of digital volunteering engagement. Participants will have the chance to go behind the scenes with PRONI, use cutting edge digital technologies to add their creative voice to the archives and become ambassadors for the collections through a bespoke volunteering programme.
Niall Kerr, Head of Heritage at the Nerve Centre, said: “We’re excited to begin a unique new project that will help communities across Northern Ireland to engage with the archives in new and innovative ways. Through previous projects, the Nerve Centre and PRONI have demonstrated an appetite amongst the public to use the archives as a means to explore a wide range of contemporary issues. Those archives combined with the Nerve Centre’s digital approach will give people the opportunity to engage with heritage in new and creative ways.”