Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 5

Northumberland County Council/Northumberland Archives: Preserving Cramlington Camera Club’s Digital Archive — this project worked with Cramlington Camera Club to preserve the Club’s digital archive at Northumberland Archives and involved community groups with the creation and preservation of digital photographs.

Photo by AW, aged 11 from 1st Cramlington Guides.

Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 5

1. Project overview

Northumberland Archives and the Camera Club worked with members of Cramlington Guides and young people from a local secondary school to introduce them to what Northumberland Archives does, while Camera Club members led sessions on photography skills. The participants then took digital photographs of Cramlington that were exhibited at Cramlington Community Hub, in an online exhibition on Northumberland Archives’ website, and added to the Archives’ collection. This contemporary record of Cramlington is permanently preserved using Preservica and accessible via the Archives’ CALM online catalogue.


2. Project stats

Data accurate as of April 2022:

  • 57 young people took part in digital photography workshops over five sessions.
  • 81 digital engagements with the Preserving Cramlington Camera Club webpage.
  • Two volunteers with expertise in photography led workshops with young people for the first time, developing skills in facilitation and community engagement.


3. Key successes

  • Northumberland Archives built new relationships with community groups and engaged an intergenerational community in digital photography and archiving.
  • The project raised awareness of the importance of digital preservation within the community.
  • Northumberland Archives staff have developed new skills in working with young people and have plans in place for future collaborations with schools and youth groups.


4. Key learnings

  • A longer time frame would have enabled more time to develop relationships with community groups at the beginning of the project.
  • Showing up in person and attending community meetings regularly is important in building relationships and engaging people with the project.
  • Creative and tactile approaches, such as exploring objects from the archive and playing memory games, are valuable in engaging young people with an archive collection.


5. Top tip

Give it a go. Be ambitious. Give yourself enough time to build relationships.


6. Link to digital outputs


7. Attribution

Digitally Democratising Archives (2022) by The Audience Agency supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Digitally Democratising Archives (Opening Archives) was an action research project, designed and led by The Audience Agency, supporting 10 organisations to explore archives, community engagement and digital tools. It was funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2021/22 as part of the as part of the Digital Skills for Heritage’s Connect Heritage programme.



More help here

Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 4

East Riding of Yorkshire Council: The East Riding Blockdown: Contemporary Collecting in Minecraft — this project aimed to capture youth experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the East Riding Archives’ collections using the videogame Minecraft as a creative medium and platform for digital storytelling.


Using Minecraft to engage young people with archive services

The East Riding Blockdown project invited 11-16 year olds based in the East Riding of Yorkshire to contribute their thoughts and memories of life during lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic using the Minecraft videogame. The purpose of the project was to record contemporary responses to a historically significant period and preserve the contributions as digital image files whilst introducing a new audience to the East Riding Archives.


Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 3

South London Gallery: Places Never Seen: A youth-led, digital exploration of the 1911 Festival of Empire — this project invited local young people to critically and creatively examine an example of local colonial history and to develop open access digital outputs through Wikimedia.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Archive Digital archive Digital Heritage Heritage Young people
Published: 2022
Resource type: Case studies

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 5 (2022) by The Audience Agency supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

Arts Marketing Association
Heritage Digital
University of Leeds logo
The Heritage Fund logo