Heritage 2020

national trust archives

National Trust visitors look at the wooden drawers in the Muniment or Evidence Room at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. © National Trust Images/John Millar

The Heritage Partnerships Team is very pleased to announce that our flagship partnership with the National Trust has been selected by the Heritage Alliance to be included amongst 20 case studies of collaboration between the historic environment and higher education sector for Heritage 2020. The list was compiled by the Discovery, Identification and Understanding working group and published here.

There is a long tradition of collaboration between researchers and others in the heritage sector. Recent years have seen further rapid growth in co-operative research and training initiatives. It is important to strengthen these links to enhance our ability to protect heritage and understand its cultural, social and economic value within our plural society. The Heritage 2020 Discovery, Identification and Understanding working group has led work on mapping connectivity between the two sectors, exploring the nature of collaborations and surveying the sector on how collaboration can be extended and strengthened.

The award-winning University of Oxford National Trust Partnership 2018-21 was established to create new opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange, public engagement with research and training at both institutions and beyond. Activities take place through a range of engagements including research placements and consultancy, conferences, workshops, public events, staff training, PhD projects and student internships.

Benefits derived from collaboration

The partnership is founded upon mutual benefit and two-way knowledge exchange: it facilitates research into the Trust’s rich portfolio of places and collections, which in turn is embedded into public-facing programming and volunteer training to bring research-led interpretation to the NT’s audiences. Meanwhile, access to the National Trust’s buildings, collections and landscapes is opened-up to researchers alongside opportunities to learn from staff, engage with volunteers and visitors, and to develop further research projects. At Oxford, the Partnership has supported the creation of the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership within which the NT is one of three strategic Cultural Partners, and the development of the Oxford University Heritage Network. It has demonstrated that innovation is not reserved to science and engineering, and that closer internal, interdisciplinary working can be supported through collaboration with external partners.

Key Metrics

  • 800+ people engaged with partnership activities and events to date
  • 25 academic institutions, 28 heritage, cultural and conservation institutions, and 19 industry consultants and independent practitioners engaged
  • 70 NT staff trained through 4 new staff Research Skills training sessions
  • 73 students have undertaken week-long internships contributing 2,555 hours of new research
  • All 7 National Trust regions engaged
  • 4 Knowledge Exchange Fellowships undertaken by Oxford researchers
  • 4 collaborative PhD projects funded via the AHRC
  • 2 awards won, including Knowledge Exchange Partnership of the Year (Praxis Auril, 2019)

You can learn more about how this partnership was formed, its legacy and the lessons learned from it by reading the full report as published here.

Further information:

National Trust Partnership Homepage

Trusted Source

NCUB State of the Relationship Report (pg. 47).

Praxis Auril KE Partnership of the Year award

TORCH Heritage Programme Homepage