Good examples of strong heritage projects using arts

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I was recently asked about good examples of young roots projects with strong heritage foundation that use arts to help engage.  I have my own list, but anyone have suggestions to share?  What made them strong heritage projects?

View Robyn Llewellyn's profile Robyn Llewellyn Feb 3 2015 - 5:04pm
  1. We have case studies for these two projects from the North East that involve the arts in some way.

    The first has been mentioned on here a few times before, but The Family La Bonche is a great project that looked at the history of circus and created a new performace based on historic characters and shows.

    The second project, Taakin Heeds (Talking Heads) explored the origins of the Geordie language, and included writing a song.

    There have been lots of theatre projects too - I will post about some of these shortly.

    What's on your list Robyn?

  2. View Melissa Strauss's profile Melissa Strauss
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
  3. “Life Stories” was a Your Heritage project way back in 2009-10.  We worked with young people using video, audio, photographs and music to explore peoples' relationships to different landscapes.

    Anyway, I just had to share this.  James, a young graduate came in to volunteer last week having recently completed a degree in video and music.  It transpired that the inspiration for taking this course was Life Stories.  I felt like a proud father!

    Some of James' work can be seen at

  4. View John Hughes's profile John Hughes
    Offline | Last seen: 3 months 1 week ago
  5. Hi all,

    Thought I’d get involved in this discussion on a Friday afternoon…

    The Portobello Youth Heritage Dig Deep project was a good example of young people working with a community arts organisation not only find out about aspects of their local heritage, but share it with others. The participants explored the medieval heritage of the castle next to the estate they lived on, then developed a performance and designed banners so that their friends, families and neighbours could share in their discoveries. In this way, not only the participants but a wide range of people from across the community were able to connect with and feel pride in the heritage on their doorstep.

    I always feel cheeky pointing people in the direction of Heritage Highways at Orleans House Gallery because it is a project I worked on before I started at HLF, but the case study is worth a read especially for anyone interested in using Arts Award in relation to Young Roots (for previous chat about this, see this thread on delivering skills outcomes). It was a strong heritage project because everything they made came out of a lot of exploring and thinking in relation to the collection – to the extent that by the end they were referring to Sir Richard Burton, Victorian explorer, on first name terms as simply ‘Richard’ (incidentally, you can play the ‘choose your own adventure’ game they designed with poet Ross Sutherland here – I recommend it for Friday afternoon surreal fun

    Finally, I would definitely second Mel's recommendation around The Family La Bonche, which involved young people delving into the heritage of their art form (circus), and then using that art form to share what they had learnt with a wider public by recreating historic acts. It was a great heritage project because the performance work they did was so well rooted in what they had discovered in the archives (Tyne and Wear Archives, Discovery Museum, the National Fairground Archive and Great North Museum), and their deep sense of connection with the historical characters they had found out about really shone through.

    Sure there are plenty more examples out there – do share!

  6. View Miranda Stearn's profile Miranda Stearn
    Offline | Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
  7. Here's an example of an arts project exploring heritage.

    A blog post on the Arts Council website highlights a recent arts and heritage project by enJOY Arts. ‘Tales of Manchester Life’ explored the life, work and times of Elizabeth Gaskell with a group of young women aged 11-16. The blog reflects on what happened when 15 teenagers, 5 artists, a heritage site and a Victorian novelist all came together.

    Read about it here.


  8. View Melissa Strauss's profile Melissa Strauss
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
  9. Participants in a recent Young Roots project delivered by the National Museum of Scotland and Glasgow's Young Sikh Leaders Network have learnt about by the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh to create films and make jewellery inspired by the objects once worn by the Maharaja which are now in the National Museum of Scotland's collections.

    Using the collections, the young people researched the history of Duleep Singh and developed new skills including film making, audio recording and visual art, as they explored this story and produced a creative response.

    See some of the amazing jewellery created by participants in this Flickr album.

    Read more about the project here:

    Panjab Connections

    National Museum of Scotland displays work by volunteers from Glasgow’s Sikh community



  10. View Annie Mottisfont's profile Annie Mottisfont
    Offline | Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
  11. You probably don't want any more examples as this is quite an old question, but… The Young Blood Project run by Hampshire Cultural Trust engaged young people in Christchurch in their local heritage through film, art, music, performance, writing interpretive text, making low-tech interactives and installing a museum exhibition.

  12. View Ruth Kerr's profile Ruth Kerr
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  13. in reply to

    Thanks Ruth, and everyone, please do keep sharing :)

  14. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 11 hours 52 sec ago
  15. Over the last year, Children's Parliament as worked with children aged 9-11 in Tranent, East Lothian to look at the history and heritage of their area to inform the regeneration of the Tranent High Street.  StreetsAhead Tranent used the creative arts to help children engage in conversations about history and heritage, the environment and conservation, and architecture and planning.  16 children created a mural that represented the views and ideas of 250 primary aged children from across the town.  

    More on this project, including films, can befound on our website:



  16. View cathy mcculloch's profile cathy mcculloch
    Offline | Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
  17. It's just occured to me that our live chat from October last year about using the arts to interpret heritage is probably quite relevant here.

    You can read the full chat transcript, or check out our summary post of the highlights.

  18. View Amy Freeborn's profile Amy Freeborn
    Offline | Last seen: 11 hours 52 sec ago
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