Showcase Event

Afterlife of Heritage Research Showcase Event
Tuesday 29th October
Kanaris Theatre, Manchester Museum

The ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ Skills Training Project (2012-13; funded by the AHRC) aimed to support research students and early career researchers (ECRs) in developing skills, capacity and profiles for professional careers in the heritage sector. The project’s tailored training provision (including training guides, collaborative projects with cultural institutions, work placements and industrial mentoring) have assisted students and ECRs in identifying, understanding and ‘translating’ the benefits of their heritage research in ‘real-life’ public, professional and business contexts.

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Research to Profession – Workshop One 06/03/2013


The first Research to Profession workshop took place on 6th March 2013 in the Roscoe Building at the University of Manchester.  The aim of the session was to greet the shortlisted candidates for the Research to Profession strand and to outline expectations of the process.


The first question under consideration was: “what does a research to profession placement look like anyway?”.  The researchers in attendance shared ideas about the “perfect placement” and what that might look like (see photo above).  We also had a lively debate about what to call these partnerships – many believed that the word “placement” was not suitable for researchers and that “partnership” or even “researcher in residence” were perhaps more appropriate terms. As with the Research to Public workshops, we spent some time discussing the benefits of working with cultural organisations, as well as how researchers might work with cultural organisations when designing research partnerships.  The final part of the day was spent discussing the importance of reflective practice in the whole process.

It was an excellent opportunity to meet those who will be involved in research partnerships and we look forward to working with them as they embark on this exciting opportunity!

Research to Public – Workshop Two 28/02/2013


The second Research to Public workshop took place on 28th February 2013 in the Kinaris Lecture Theatre at the Manchester Museum with a great mix of researchers and representatives from cultural organisations in attendance.  The aim of the day was to discuss how researchers and cultural partners can better work together and to hear case studies, from both perspectives, of working together on cultural engagement/public engagement projects.

The Morning

The day began with an icebreaker exercise focussing on the meaning attributed to certain words associated with public and cultural engagement.  Everybody had the opportunity to pick a word and discuss what it meant to them – words such as “heritage”, “communication”, “impact”, “community” and “collections” were included.


Henry McGhie, Head of Collections and Curator of Zoology at the Manchester Museum (above) started the day’s talks with a fantastic account of the museum’s collections and the development of the Living Worlds gallery which opened in 2011.  Henry spoke of the importance of engaging visitors with research and debates.  His account took in the history of the collections and the involvement of Thomas Henry Huxley in engineering the University/Museum partnership, including a diagram, dating back to 1868 showcasing the public gallery and curator space.  These designs were pivotal in establishing the museum as a social, as well as an intellectual, space.  Henry also discussed the University’s third strategic goal, social responsibility, and how the museum contributes to the promotion of understanding between cultures and working towards a sustainable world.  Finally, Henry drew on the potential of collections and for cultural organisations to connect with the public through emerging technology, such as tablets and smart phones, and to collaborate with researchers – ensuring that each partner plays an important part in the process.


Henry’s talk was followed by a great presentation by Antonio Benitez (above), PhD Researcher at the University of Salford (Antonio’s slides can be accessed at the bottom of this post).  Antonio’s presentation focussed on a researcher’s perspective of University-museum partnerships.  Antonio’s research focusses on older audiences (post-75) and their engagement with museums and his work has involved cross-institutional collaborations with a number of cultural organisations across Manchester.  Antonio views these partnerships as an excellent opportunity to learn about developing projects with older people.  Antonio’s talk considered the many benefits of working with cultural organisations such as offering networking opportunities, insight, clarity, the development of ideas etc.  The most important feature of collaborations is to ensure that the expectations of both partners is realistic – both in terms of expectations and responsibilities.

Antonio’s talk was followed by Esme Ward’s presentation on Public Engagement and Audiences which included an excellent quote from Benjamin Franklin (see title photograph).  Esme focussed on the importance of involvement in learning, drawing on current research and expertise to understand what is happening in cultural spaces.  Esme’s talk went beyond the Humanities and considered the importance of science communication, moving from the “chalk and talk” to a more experiential form of learning.  She emphasised that researchers have the necessary skills and knowledge to engage large numbers of school audiences with their work, and acknowledge the immense value of this social form of learning and interaction.  Esme also touched upon the importance of practitioner research, highlighting that researchers can challenge museums to think differently (and vice versa).

The Afternoon

Evernote Camera Roll 20130228 134122

After lunch, participants were divided into two groups.  The first group consisted of those who had a working proposal already (some of whom were accompanied on the day by their cultural partner).  They were tasked with fine-tuning their ideas by reflecting and critiquing.  The second group consisted of researchers and cultural partners who had not yet partnered up.  The aim of the session was to broker potential partnerships and to present back ideas on what works well and what might not work so well when researchers and cultural partners work together.  Suzanne Spicer presented a great document about “finding the right people” for partnerships which can be downloaded here: Reflecting on Your Planning Proposal.

Antonio’s slides are available here: Afterlife presentation

Research to Public – Workshop One 24/01/2013

Workshop Pictures

The Creative Process – Avoiding Jargon

The first Research to Public workshop took place on 24th January 2013.  The quality of applications received for this strand was superb – and the Afterlife panel found the shortlisting process very difficult.  Congratulations to those researchers whose projects were shortlisted!  Over twenty researchers arrived eagerly for the 10am start.  The programme for the day was extremely busy and the workshop was led by Suzanne Spicer (Social Responsibility Manager) and Emily McIntosh (Programme Manager, artsmethods@manchester and Afterlife Project Coordinator) – we found that the day just flew – the atmosphere was tremendously positive and it was great to hear more about everybody’s project proposals.  Here are some of the highlights:

Kostas Arvanitis (Afterlife Project Lead) started the day by introducing the project, speaking about the importance of translating research into real-life contexts.  Suzanne started with an excellent activity about jargon and research – and how avoiding the use of jargon can often be more powerful when working with different audiences.  Each group had an envelope containing pieces of paper each with a different word – the task was to construct a sentence using all the words on the paper.  The task proved very popular and proved that communication is central to research.  Suzanne then went on to consider Public Engagement and its relationship to research, asking the question “Who is the public?”.  Researchers were asked to consider The Onion (pictured below) which demonstrates the different layers of Public Engagement.  With each layer the focus moves from two-way dialogue and co-design or co-decision making to telling or information giving.  Hence the impact on research or on influencing policy decreases as activity moves towards the outer layers of the onion.  Researchers were asked to think about typical public engagement activities and to add them to The Onion:

The next part of the workshop considered working with cultural partners and research identity.  It tasked researchers to think about their research profile – and why might cultural organisations and the publc be interested in working with them?  Why were they motivated to work with the public and cultural organisations?  The task was to produce a research profile (such as the one you may post on LinkedIn) which described the researcher and their interests.  It was based on Simon Sinek’s idea of The Golden Circle, and start with why (  The importance of reflective practice was also emphasised and there were various opportunties througout the day for participants to reflect on their work.  To find out more about reflective practice, consult the new “Reflective Practice” page on this blog.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly Jenna Ashton’s talk about her work with the public.  Jenna is the current artsmethods@manchester Researcher In Residence and leads the Archive Interventions Project (  Jenna talked very animatedly about her work using Prezi.  Many were inspired by her work with “Orphan Archives”.  Jenna’s presentation can be accessed here:

Since the day we’ve received some cracking blog posts from participants who have been reflecting on the day.  Here are a selection – a contribution from Sarah Younan ( and anther from Naomi Billingsley (  We especially liked Kyra Pollitt’s post likening the process to Crufts:

If you are participating in the process and have blogged about it then we would love to hear from you (  More materials and resources from the workshop are available to download here:

Afterlife project participant booklet

Evaluating Your Public Engagement Activities

PE Getting Started Workshop Slides-1

R2Public and Cultural Partners Workshop: “Working with and training Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers” Workshop

Working with and training Postgraduates and Early Career Researchers
Thursday 28th February, 10am-4pm, The Manchester Museum

In this interactive workshop, Postgraduates/Early Career Researchers and heritage professionals will jointly explore effective ways of working together. By developing mutually beneficial partnerships, we will look at how researchers develop their engagement skills and heritage organisations make the most of researchers and the distinctive contribution contemporary research can make to their collections and spaces. There will be case studies and speakers offering perspectives from both museum and research contexts.

As part of the ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ training programme, seed funding is being offered to put on an event, exhibition or engagement activity by June 2013. The workshop will include time and space to work on seed funding competition proposals.

R2Public: “‘Understanding the public impact of your research” Workshop

Thursday 24th January
Roscoe Building, room 3.9, University of Manchester

The workshop will cover a variety of approaches to Public Engagement within the Arts & Humanities and offer you an insight into how to develop further the project proposal outlined in the expression of interest for which you have been shortlisted.  We hope that this will provide you with a firm grounding in Public Engagement whilst also offering a springboard into the second workshop on 28th February where you will have the opportunity to meet with Cultural Partners & Organisations to discuss the practicalities of your proposal. 

We would ask that everybody arrives at 9.30 for a 10am start.  Lunch and refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

For those of you who use Twitter, please follow us @heritageafter and @artsmethodsmanc.  When tweeting, please use the hashtag #heritageafterlife.

Expression of Interest – Cultural Organisations

The ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ Project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will be providing a number of training and development workshops and opportunities which will enable postgraduate research students and early career researchers from across the Humanities to identify, understand and ‘translate’ the benefits of their research into ‘real-life’ contexts within the heritage and cultural sectors.

We are looking for expressions of interest from cultural institutions in the North West to take part in this project by:

• Participating in the workshop: “Working with and training postgraduate research students and Early Career Researchers (ECRs)” at the Manchester Museum (Thursday 28th February 2013) and/or
• Offering placement opportunities to postgraduate research students/ECRs

Please see the Expression of Interest for Cultural Partners on how to participate.

Selection and workshop dates

We received a great number of very exciting projects – the selection will now happen in January.

In the meantime, the dates for the Research to Public workshops have been scheduled – pencil them in your diaries:

24th January, 10 to 4pm, Roscoe building room 3.9 (University of Manchester)

28th February, 10 to 4pm, Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum.

Afterlife of Heritage Research – Expressions of Interest

*Deadline for Expression of Interest: Friday 30th November 2012 (download the EoI below)*

The ‘Afterlife of Heritage Research’ Sklls Training Project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and will be providing a number of training and development workshops and opportunities which will enable postgraduate research students and early career researchers from across the Humanities to identify, understand and ‘translate’ the benefits of their research into ‘real-life’ contexts within the heritage and cultural sectors. Those participating in the project will work closely with cultural partners.

There are three strands within the programme: Research to PublicResearch to Profession and Research to Business. The project is designed to span various disciplines within the arts, social sciences and humanities and is led by the Institute for Cultural Practices at The University of Manchester and the School of Art & Design at The University of Salford, in collaboration with artsmethods@manchester.

We are looking for expressions of interest from PGRs and Early-Career Researchers (ECRs) from UK Universities to take part in one or more skills training strands of the project. This is an ideal opportunity to:

  • understand the public impact of your research and how to turn your research into a public output;
  • gain professional experience in the arts, cultural and heritage sector by participating in a placement scheme; and
  • explore how to turn your research into a business or social enterprise and to be mentored and guided by experts in that area.

All training workshops and training will take place between December 2012 and July 2013. Workshops and events will take place in Manchester and Salford. Some meetings with industrial mentors (Research to Business strand) may take place outside the North West. Travel (and where necessary accommodation) expenses will be reimbursed.

Download the Expression of Interest
Deadline for Expression of Interest: Friday 30th November 2012

If you have any questions about the Training Programme and/or the Expression of Interest, please contact Emily McIntosh, Project Coordinator,