28 Jan 2022

New Nerve Centre archive project gets £94,000 Lottery boost

Nerve centre

The Nerve Centre in Magazine Street, Derry has received National Lottery funding of up to £94,000

The Nerve Centre in Derry is in the money after being handed a £94,000 boost from the National Lottery to help fund their new 'CollabArchive' project.

CollabArchive is a unique digital volunteering project in partnership with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) that will connect new and diverse audiences with archives through creativity and digital technologies.

The project will create digital skills opportunities for volunteers at the main archive for Northern Ireland and develop a sustainable model of digital volunteering engagement.

Participants will have the chance to go behind the scenes with PRONI, use cutting edge digital technologies to add their creative voice to the archives and become ambassadors for the collections through a volunteering programme.

Niall Kerr, Head of Heritage at Nerve Centre, said: “We’re excited to begin a unique new project that will help communities across Northern Ireland to engage with the archives in new and innovative ways.

“Through previous projects, Nerve Centre and PRONI have demonstrated an appetite amongst the public to use the archives as a means to explore a wide range of contemporary issues.

“Those archives combined with the Nerve Centre’s digital approach will give people the opportunity to engage with heritage in new and creative ways.

“It's a project that we've developed of the back of other projects that we've been delivering for the past few years.

“The Nerve Centre has a strong partnership with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and we were keen to diversify and try new forms of engagement that bring people through a process of digital engagement which we saw as an opportunity to try something new and expand our work.

“It's fantastic to receive the funding. It will help support two staff members over the next year. It will also offer opportunities for up to one hundred digital volunteers to take part in creative programming.

“So it's a real boost for the creative industries and the creative sector and it's doing something quite fresh and quite unique that we think will offer something really innovative in terms of how people can engage with relevant and current topics by using the archives and using them as a way in which they can express themselves.

“Had the funding not been there then this just wouldn't have happened. We've been doing projects for the last couple of years in partnership with the Public Record Office and we've developed this really strong model of engaging the public and this is an opportunity to expand on that.

“This is going to be a project that will work with people right across Derry and Northern Ireland. We're really keen to bring people to our archives and these collections.

“There's opportunities for people to take part in creative activities. We probably need to see what's possible in terms of using archives with digital and creative means as a way of exploring those archives.

“What we want to do is to create these digital volunteering opportunities with the Public Record Office so that people will be able to go into Public Records over the course of a year and become ambassadors for different topics, bring forward content that speaks to those themes and re-present it for new people and new audiences to give others the chance to see the value of archives and show how digital can be used as a really unique way of exploring our history and heritage.

“Our plan is to deliver this project around different themes such as migration, gender equality and women's rights. So we're touching on modern contemporary issues but using the archives to explore how that might have changed over the last couple of hundred years.”

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