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Context and scope

To support our leadership role for the archives sector in England and Wales, and to deliver Archives Unlocked, the Government’s vision for archives, The National Archives provides grants for skills, innovation and engagement in the archives sector. 

Our approach to our leadership role is a collaborative one: supporting partnerships and working to encourage a sustainable and innovative sector. 

We want to prepare the archives sector for the future in an uncertain world. We will invest in the skills of the archives sector workforce; in research, to lead innovation in technology and archival practice; and in engagement, to connect archives with changing societies in places across England and Wales. 

This year, our engagement grants were themed around the concept of “place.” Heritage has an important and unique role in bringing people closer together to explore place. Archives contain the records of people, places and events that have defined our shared history and enable us to understand our past, interpreting and sharing collective stories and experiences. The National Archives believes that it is important to develop and create meaningful engagement with audiences, in the places and communities where archives are located. 

We asked applicants to consider their collections and records, and how they could use them to engage with new and existing audiences to explore ideas relating to place. They could consider proposals that were focused on a physical location, appealing to local communities they worked with. They could also explore themes of different places, using archives to create engaging displays and activities exploring the countries/places that their collection best represented.

Each year we look for applications that are inclusive, accessible and inspiring for audiences. Projects can be based at your archive service or involve outreach work with your collections.  

Future engagement grants will often be themed around key moments of national cultural importance, offering the opportunity to connect archives with their communities and the wider public.  

Programme overview

The Engagement Grants Programme offers grants of up to £5,000 for organisations to conduct outreach and engagement projects, that will connect archives with their communities in places across England and Wales. 

Last year’s grants were based on the idea and concept of “place”. In future years, they will often be responsive to cultural events and days of national importance. Each opportunity is advertised on our website, Twitter and Jisc mailing list.