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"How can we involve people as participants in shaping our cultural heritage?"


When given the opportunity, people can and want to shape the world around them. Yet too often our ways and means of participating are limited, by a mindset that people are Consumers: focused on the short-term and their own self-interest. This mindset sits across much of society, and in cultural heritage manifests as a gravitational pull to deliver the instant and easy, rather than involve people in the authentic and profound. There’s so much more we can do. Cultural heritage can generate greater impact and greater revenue, if we start by thinking of people differently.


We are Citizens, not Consumers

This is a shift in mindset happening across society, which we first articulated in

This is the #Citizenshift. As active Citizens, we can achieve so much more than we can as passive Consumers, and after running similar projects across sectors like food and membership, we thought cultural heritage would be a fantastic area to explore what Citizenship means.


What is collaborative innovation?

Collaborative innovation projects are at the core of our approach. We articulate a question which relates the Citizen Shift to a specific sector, then bring together a number of organisations to experiment with new ways of working in response to that question. Finally, we publish the findings (for example, in Membership) to make these new approaches available to others, and ultimately help them take hold faster. Find out more about collaborative innovation in our blog post.


12 months of innovation

Since 2018, we've been working with six organisations (Tredegar House, Royal Pavilion & Museums Brighton & Hove, York Minster, The National Archives, Wellcome Collection and Studley Royal), together exploring what it really means to think of people as participants in shaping cultural heritage, and institutions as places for that to happen. The result of this were purposeful changes made throughout the organisations, articulated in the Toolkit.


It doesn't end with these 6 organisations, are you ready?

The end of the work with the 6 participating organisations is just the beginning of the bigger story. After collaborative innovation projects, we run bootcamps to help more organisations bring the ideas from the resource to life. If you're interested in increasing purposeful participation in your organisation and changing the way you work with people, get in touch to get started.

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