SHAPE Involve and Engage 2023

Funded by

Dr Richard Anderson

University of Aberdeen

Main partner: Scottish Civic Trust

Additional partners: African Women’s Group Scotland, Glasgow Museums and Edinburgh Caribbean Association.


Aberdeen in Africa, Africa in Aberdeen: Community Co-Curation in Decolonising Collections, Campus, and Community

Aberdeen in Africa, Africa in Aberdeen is a public history project to explore the historic connections between Aberdeen and sub-Saharan Africa through the University of Aberdeen’s Museum Collections. The project will link Aberdeen’s African community and the University’s African student body in a creative programme of engagement and co-creation in interpreting African collections. This will include a series of expert-led sessions and community hackathons to co-produce interpretive material for walking tours, podcasts, and a pop-up museum. The project combines an innovative programme of participant training and co-curation in partnership between Aberdeen’s Department of History, Museums and Special Collections, and the Scottish Civic Trust.

Dr Rui Su

Middlesex University

Main partner: London Metropolitan Archives

Additional partners: Ming-Ai (London) Institute and the University of Nottingham.


Taste of Memory

‘Taste of Memory’ will explore the collective memories of British-Chinese chefs with oral history, examining how they negotiate their identities and cope with challenges. We will organise a one-day ‘Food, Migration and Memory’ festival at London Metropolitan Archives, incorporating an immersive multisensory exhibition with three interactive games, ‘tasting memory’, ‘colouring memory’ and ‘collage’. Three skills training workshops will leverage the digital community and interdisciplinary network focused on food, migration and memory. Project outcomes will offer a blueprint for reconstructing collective memory, sharing insights and recommendations for future policy engagement and strengthening the archive’s social leadership in London and beyond.

Dr Meg Kobza

Newcastle University

Main partner: National Trust Bath Assembly Rooms


Taking Your Fancy: the experience of Georgian Fancy Dress for today’s heritage audiences

This project focuses on Georgian fancy dress balls in the long eighteenth century, the sensorial experience of them historically, and how we can bring this to life for heritage visitors today. In partnership with the National Trust’s Bath Assembly Rooms (BAR) the project will lay the groundwork for creating new types of multi-sensory visitor engagement that can be applied to other heritage sites, bringing Georgian sociability to life in tangible, smellable, and audible forms. Our main components and outputs include a pop-up exhibition and fancy-dress ball that will engage both academic and general audiences.

Dr Shakthi Nataraj

Lancaster University

Main partner: QUEERCIRCLE

Additional partners: The Outside Project, Hope in the Heart, Skate Gals n’ Pals, Queer Youth Art Collective, Crafts Council London, Ladies Do Comics, Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, Susie Bass, the Sewing Cafe and Gregson Community and Arts Centre.


Queering Theory through Arts and Crafts

Critical Crafts adopts arts and crafts as a medium to express the social theory that LGBTQ+ people formulate from their lived experience. Feminist and queer theory arose from the lived experience of LGBTQ+ people and people of colour who challenged and redefined the core theoretical concepts used in social science, such as health, economy, family, and the body. Institutionalised in universities, these theories become elite academic dialects. We aim to decolonise social theory, reclaiming it as the joyful, liberatory and imaginative practice of using one’s own experience to critically interrogate social structures, using crafts as a medium to do so.

Professor Claire Gwinnett

Staffordshire University

Main partner: Potteries Museum and Art Gallery

Additional partner: Dan Lewis (microplastics artist).


Plastic Histories – piecing together human civilization with plastic through creativity & play

Educating children and families in plastic pollution is a crucial step in ensuring the future protection of our planet. It is rare to see plastics described in a positive sense, yet plastic has played an important part in our human history and as such, the plastic waste we find in our environment is the archaeological finds of the Anthropocene era. One full day innovative public engagement event will be run at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, which will include a series of microplastic activities designed to be a positive and educational experience for families, devoid of guilt, and instead celebrating human ingenuity and brilliance in designing and creating objects, products and solutions in industry since plastics were first invented and highlighting that it is this same human creativity that will solve the current plastic waste crisis.

Dr Sandra Kazlauskaite

University of Lincoln

Main partner: Lincoln Museum


Sound Considered Museum

Sound Considered Museum' is a public engagement research project that aims to explore the transformative potential of sound in museum settings, and examine how sound can contribute to creating a more inclusive and accessible museum culture.

Focusing on the auditory dimension of Lincoln Museum, the project employs participatory lectures, workshops, and working groups to collectively envision a multi-sensory museum. It invites the public to reimagine museum spaces beyond their visuo-centric focus, encouraging them to consider museums as sites for multi-sensory participation and engagement.

Professor Luca Csepely-Knorr

University of Liverpool School of Architecture

Main partner: Historic Environment Scotland

Additional partners: East Kilbride Central Library and the Museum of English Rural Life.


Setting the scenery: Scottish Women of the Welfare Landscape

Through focusing on East Kilbride’s landscape history and the work of leading women designers such as Brenda Colvin, Jane Wood and Elizabeth Mitchell, this project aims to deliver a series of co-curated outputs with Historic Environment Scotland and local primary and secondary schools to highlight the importance of the New Town’s landscape in creating a sustainable future, and the role of landscape architecture in creating better cities and quality of life for local communities.

Dr Rohini Rai

Brunel University London

Main partner: Royal Geographical Society- with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG)


Indigenising the Himalayas: Reimagining its past, present and futures.

This project aims to ‘un-do’ the public imagination of the Himalayas, which is predominantly framed through a colonial-Eurocentric lens, and reimagine its past, present and futures through the perspective of its indigenous peoples. To do so, the project partners with the Royal Geographical Society- Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG) and UK based Himalayan indigenous diaspora communities (the Limbus/Yakthungs, Kirat Rais, and Sherpas/Sherwas) to organise and curate– a.) a day-long ‘storytelling through dancing’ workshop alongside archival display; and b.) a digital exhibition via Google Arts and Culture.

Dr Francesca Adele Murialdo

Middlesex University

Main partner: Kilburn Library

Additional partner: PAPRIKA Collective


Kilburn Museum Lab

The proposed project, Kilburn Museum Lab, is a crucial component of a long-term plan to establish the Kilburn Museum, a cultural space dedicated to positively impacting Kilburn’s social fabric by implementing innovative programs and initiatives that encourage active community participation.

Kilburn Museum Lab will act as a catalyst that fosters understanding and appreciation for various cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, exploring the intersection of place, space and community through workshops and initiatives that promote civic engagement and participation. The final outcome will be the Nomadic Museum which will encourage active participation, foster community engagement, and create opportunities for meaningful connections.

Dr Andrea Livesey

Liverpool John Moores University

Main partner: International Slavery Museum, National Museums Liverpool

Additional partner: Collective Encounters


From Slavery to Roe vs Wade: Using Theatre to Explore Black Diasporic Understandings of Reproductive Health and Justice

This project is designed by Andrea Livesey (LJMU), Collective Encounters and the International Slavery Museum. In a set of five workshops, we will work with women from Liverpool’s descendent communities to better understand how participatory theatre methodology can help curators understand difficult sources and artefacts, and to co-produce research into slavery. In the trauma-informed sessions – led by local artists – we will explore links between reproductive violence under slavery and in the present day. The participants and artists will use creative methodologies to share in the archival material, building knowledge and developing critical skills.

Professor Kathryn Moore and Dr Alex Albans

Birmingham City University

Main partner: Library of Birmingham (Central Library)

Additional partners: West Midlands National Park Lab, Professor Carl Chinn, Stan’s Café and National Express West Midlands.


Number 11: Know Your Place

A partnership between the West Midlands National Park Lab and Library of Birmingham archive, our project is framed around Birmingham’s locally iconic Number 11 bus route - a 26-mile circuit around the city’s diverse landscape and communities. An exhibition of artefacts and narratives juxtaposed with street portraiture taken by a local theatre company illustrates how landscape shapes cultural identities; acts as a catalyst for residents to discover a new sense of pride, belonging and curiosity in the often-hidden landscape of their city; and makes evident the ethos of the West Midlands National Park.

Professor Katherine Astbury

University of Warwick

Main partner: English Heritage

Additional partner: Photoworks


Freedom and Photography

2000 Black prisoners of war from the Caribbean, including women and children, and Napoleonic prisoners who built a fully working theatre are just two of the surprising stories connected to Portchester Castle in Hampshire at the time of Jane Austen. Both groups of prisoners allow us to go beyond traditional narratives of English castle history. This funding will allow English Heritage, the charity Photoworks and my research team to reach underrepresented groups of young people in Hampshire and explore through photography the Black Revolutionaries of the Windward Isles who spent a year in the UK 1796-1797.

Professor Denise Baden

University of Southampton

Main partner: Southampton City Libraries


Engaging the Public in Climate Solutions via Interactive Theatre

Drawing upon the tradition of ‘theatre-in-education’, this project will raise awareness of the potential of Citizens’ Assemblies as a way to reboot our democracy and allow our society to make more sustainable climate-friendly decisions. It will feature a play called ‘Murder in the Citizens’ Jury’ where one of the eight people in a Citizens’ Assembly debating climate solutions is murdered. While they are entertained by the whodunnit, the audience also find they are part of the Citizens’ Jury and encouraged to vote on their favourite solutions. A shorter dramatic monologue explores the Director of Public Prosecution’s dilemma of whether to prosecute the killer but abruptly end the Citizens’ Jury and the quest for climate solutions as a consequence.

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