Heritage Highways

A young person taking part in the project

For three of the young people, the Arts Award they gained through Heritage Highways was the highest accredited outcome they have achieved

Making a difference

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for heritage

  • The Borough Art Collection was better interpreted through new thematic displays.
  • New approaches to interpretation were explored and evaluated, including new digital resources. This will contribute to the gallery’s digital interpretation and engagement strategy.
  • Young people taking part uncovered new information relating to one of the art works, adding significantly to our understanding of the relationship between the artist and sitter.

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for people

  • Participants gained heritage skills such as object handling, research, exhibition design, interpretation, and planning heritage engagement activities.
  • They also developed transferable workplace skills such as communication, working in a team, customer service, presentation, digital and new-media skills, practical numeracy, IT, and CV-writing.
  • “I’ve learnt about working alongside other young people to plan activities for others and us to enjoy. I also learnt leadership and teamwork.”
  • Young people learnt about the heritage of their local area, including the borough art collection, royal heritage and significant local historical figures.
  • Participants changed their attitudes and built their confidence. They also influenced other people’s attitudes to young people by creating high-quality public displays: “I am most proud of finding out research about a painting no-one knew anything of and creating a short clip about it.”
  • Young people enjoyed themselves, taking pride in their work and discovering new aspects of their local area: “I enjoyed the royal connections project the most because I got the chance to take the lead and support other teenagers. I also really liked [it] because I got to meet the Duke of Edinburgh in Richmond Park.”

How the project achieved HLF’s outcomes for communities

  • By emphasising the transferable work skills and the heritage skills, a wider range of young people were attracted to the project. 

Lessons learnt

  • Young people enjoy engaging with heritage. Those young people who undertook heritage work skills as one part of their wider arts engagement with the gallery consistently referred to the heritage activities as a highlight of their involvement. They enjoyed the research and uncovering hidden histories.
  • Young people can bring their existing skills to bear on heritage projects and enjoy sharing them with others.
  • It is possible to deliver a heritage-focused Arts Award, with the award acting as a helpful structure as well as a motivating factor when engaging young people.
  • Working with a variety of referral partners is invaluable when recruiting young people to projects. Developing sustained relationships with these partners helps to build long-term relationships with the young people too. Apprentices, closer in age to participants, can also be a great asset engaging with young people and connecting them with institutions.
  • Using existing, widely available, non-sector specific technologies and platforms (for example tablet computers, free to access blogging platforms) is a helpful way to try out ideas in the digital realm without the need for huge initial investment.
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