We work with diverse communities to open up archives in new, creative ways.

Our collaborations with community partners help us to support people to access archives and brings us audiences that are often new to archives.

We work across different sectors with creative practitioners, artists, group leaders, academics and historians to develop workshops, programmes and archive learning resources.

Examples of our work

Lampson unlocked Students from the Wren Academy, North Finchley, were inspired by an original account of the events of the Russian revolution, held at The National Archives, and an exhibition about the Russian Avant Garde Theatre movement at the V&A Museum.

In response, they created artworks and a play as part of a partnership project between The National Archives, the V&A’s learning department and the Wren Academy. The project was sponsored by the Friends of The National Archives.

Panjab 1947: a heart divided We worked with four Panjabi elders to consider the impact of the partition of British India on their lives.

Ugandan Asians Amazing ceramics formed the background to a trip down memory lane for Ugandan Asians, reflecting on their stories of expulsion and re-settlement, forty years on.

Prisoner 4099 Could you be inspired by a child criminal imprisoned in Victorian times? A group of young people were and created this resource with us, bringing a bit of drama to the sad life of 12 year old William Towers.

There Be Monsters: Westminster-based Workshop and Company worked with us to explore our maps collection with a very creative outcome. Read the report below.

There Be Monsters report (PDF, 1.52Mb)

We actively seek out new approaches to community engagement with archives and work both on site and in community settings. Click on the image on the right to see some examples of our activities.

Our most recent project is Caribbean through a lens; community partners from Leeds to London worked with us over 18 months creating powerful exhibitions, reminiscence workshops and inspirational events inspired by colonial photographs of the Caribbean. See an educational resource created by community partner, New Art Exchange or read our latest blog.

If you would like to get involved with our outreach programme, or have ideas for using the collections with groups, we would like to hear from you. Email outreach@nationalarchives.gov.uk

Our services include:

  • group visits to view the collections on site or in community settings
  • support for developing ideas for community engagement using archive collections
  • hosting workshops or public talks with speakers on diverse histories
  • free loan of travelling exhibitions on Caribbean, Ugandan Asian or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender histories (you will need to pre-book and arrange for transportation and return costs)


The subversion of Cheddi Jagan: the Cold War in British Guiana, 1953-64

Karim Hussain: Ugandan Asian Talk

Fundamentals of researching your Caribbean ancestors