To develop, pilot and evaluate a process for crowd-sourcing academically robust interpretative resources from Oxford University researchers to enhance visitor experience of National Trust properties and places, both on site and online.
What is ‘Trusted Source’?
We aim to develop a knowledge bank of information about National Trust properties for use by both staff and visitors. The resource will draw out connections between collections, places, properties and people to allow visitors to gain a better understanding of their wider historical, social and geographical context. Trusted Source entries will be rigorously researched and written by Oxford University academics, in particular DPhil students in the Humanities division.
Why was this project commissioned?
To increase capacity & avoid duplication: The National Trust’s staff have extensive knowledge and expertise, but they do not always have the time or resources to create interpretation through academic research. In addition to commissioning new research, we hope to create a better framework within which findings can be shared.
To enrich interpretation: Research-based interpretation will be used to enrich the National Trust's existing online content, in addition to informing room guides and guidebooks, and staff and volunteer training.
To encourage a culture of collaboration: Universities have a wealth of knowledge, resources and enthusiasm that can benefit heritage organisations through structured, strategic partnerships. In turn, academics gain access to a large and established outlet for their research, in addition to valuable work experience opportunities.
New forum for research and access to audiences: In 2014 the National Trust had 4 million members and welcomed nearly 20 million visitors to their pay-for-entry properties. From 2014-15 the website received 11.9 million page views, and welcomed 2.3 million unique visitors.
Physical access to properties, collections and archives: Contributors will gain unique access to the National Trust’s incredible collections thereby enriching individual research projects.
Work experience and networking opportunities: Contributors will gain valuable experience of working within the heritage sector and meet with key staff within both organisations.
Inter-disciplinary research and collaboration opportunities: Trusted Source will welcome contributions on all manner of topics, as long as they relate to National Trust places and collections and encourage meaningful visitor engagements. Inter-disciplinary approaches and topics are therefore welcomed.
Opportunities for Public Engagement with Research
Over two years this project will establish a clear methodology for sharing knowledge between these two leading organisations which we hope will have a significant and lasting impact upon the work of both. In doing so, we will establish a blueprint for collaboration that can be adopted by other academic institutions and heritage organisations across the UK, thereby encouraging further stories about places to be told and enriched through research.
Trusted Source is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership supported by Innovate UK and the AHRC.