The arts and humanities have a strong tradition of building, maintaining and using archives as part of their research. The creative industries also exploit archives, but refer to them as databases of assets from which they generate experiences for public audiences. In turn, social media now enable these audiences to contribute back to archives by commenting, tagging, annotating and uploading their own media.

The universities of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent and Leicester are working with regional partners from the cultural and creative sectors to explore the potential for a productive collision of archives, assets and audiences to the benefit of all concerned. The project will  bring together academics from the three universities with creative industry partners, and engage both with diverse audiences. In order to drive this vision forward, the project will focus on industrial heritage as a case study for the collaborations, specifically on the three themes of i) enlightenment and innovation; ii) cultures of work, welfare and play; and iii) the rise, fall and reinvention of industry. This focus builds on the rich heritage of our region; the expertise of our three university partners and the interests and resources of a wide network of industry and cultural partners.

Our objectives are to engage external partners, grow our capacity for knowledge exchange, deliver a portfolio of demonstrator projects, and ensure the future sustainability of our approach. We will achieve this through a year-long programme of engagement activities (theme launch days and a final symposium); mobility and training activities (knowledge exchange fellowships and student internships); feasibility projects; and sustainability activities (ingenuity and reflection workshops).