Revitalising Culture: Community Collections Research and Digital Engagement

Impact: Cultural, Policy, Health and Wellbeing, Societal

Description of impact

Many rural and indigenous peoples have been denied access to images of their past, and to evocative artefacts, which has contributed to a sense of loss and weak health parameters. Our researchers have devised techniques to restore significant artefacts and/or knowledge traditions to both young and old, helping to shape public discourse, and spark new cultural revitalization programmes. Our research group has:

-Increased knowledge, access and awareness of vital cultural resources across multiple generations within remote, rural, and often indigenous communities;
-Inspired a change in policy and practice within public institutions, museums, and other local repositories of cultural heritage;
-Developed and implemented innovative collaborative research practices, which contribute to a sense of pride and shift in the local and public perception of heritage.

Who is affected by, or benefits from, the research?

Source communities across Russia, Mongolia, China, Scandinavia – could be expanded by quoting research of other members of the Department.

Outcomes to Date / Future Developments

Our work has benefited approximately 5,700 members of specific indigenous communities, over 70 museum professionals in seven countries, and been seen by at least 150,000 museum visitors. The main countries impacted are UK, Russian Federation, China, Canada, United States, Sweden, Norway, and New Zealand. Among indigenous communities, our impact has directly affected between 7% and 30% of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Gwich’in, Inuit, Sami, Evenki, Sakha, and Nenets communities ( IA1).

What is significant about our work is not its global reach, nor the numbers of individuals affected, but the fact that by combining digital technologies with community training, skills, images, and artefacts have once again begun to circulate. Our impact can be detailed in four categories:

-Impacts on the well-being of youth and adults in rural and indigenous environments
-The revival of ceremonies and educational outreach
-Impacts on museum and archive professionals, including building new capacity
-A shift in the public and international perception about rural and indigenous communities
Impact statusImpact Completed (Open)
Impact date20032020
Category of impactCultural, Policy, Health and Wellbeing, Societal


  • Cultural