Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 6

LGBT Foundation LTD: ‘LGBT+ Oral Histories Digital Archive’ — this project created a digital, accessible archive of LGBT+ oral histories focused on community empowerment and queer activism in Greater Manchester and beyond.

Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 6

1. Project overview

The project involved training a group of volunteers to conduct a series of 10 one-hour-long interviews with LGBT+ people of a range of ages across Greater Manchester. The interviews were transcribed, and the recordings and transcriptions formed the content of an online exhibition which was launched on LGBT Foundation’s website to mark LGBT History Month.


2. Project stats

Data accurate as of April 2022:

  • 24 participants took part in the project, with a further 40 attending the launch event.
  • There were 484 visits to the dedicated webpage.
  • On social media, three Instagram posts had an audience reach of 1,339 with 60 click throughs, whereas Facebook had an audience reach of just over 2,000 across two posts. Two YouTube videos had 103 views.


3. Key successes

  • The wide range of people from the LGBT+ community that were involved in this project.
  • LGBT Foundation have developed a strong base level set of skills and understanding of how to grow this digital archive in the future.
  • Discovering digital tools like and Audiogram made a huge difference in how efficient the project was in transcribing and presenting oral histories.


4. Key learnings

  • The project highlighted a need to shift understanding about what constitutes heritage, activism, community organising – and ultimately what stories are ‘worth’ sharing and archiving.
  • The project team adapted to the ongoing pandemic restrictions and remote working by utilising digital platforms. It was acknowledged that delivering the project completely online will have excluded some participants or impacted their experience.
  • Digital exclusion is present in all communities and has been more visible due to the pandemic. In aiming to democratise archives, it’s important to factor in intersections of experiences.


5. Top tip

Involve your participants from conception, give yourself as much time as possible to reach out to interested participants and have a good understanding of structure as far in advance as possible!


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

Creating a digital community oral history archive

LGBT Foundation is a national charity delivering advice, support and information services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities. This project recruited volunteers to use online tools to preserve the oral histories of LGBT activists in Greater Manchester. Volunteers were trained in oral history techniques and how to use tools such as Zoom to conduct, record and transcribe interviews.

A white building with a wooden balcony with a rainbow flag

Using Google Workspace as a remote collaboration tool

The Queer Heritage and Collections Network (QHCN) was founded in May 2020 to increase the understanding of, access to and engagement with LGBTQ+ heritage, and has more than 70 institutional members across the UK. The network has used Google Workspace products Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Forms as a remote collaboration tool to help share knowledge, skills, expertise and best practice across the network and to facilitate online activities with a variety of audiences.

Old passports, ration books and identity cards

Producing digitally creative and publicly engaging content that responds to archives

CollabArchive is a digital volunteering project led by the Nerve Centre and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The project connects new and diverse audiences with archive heritage through creativity and digital technologies, leading to sustained volunteering opportunities at PRONI.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Archive Digital archive Digital Heritage Heritage Oral histories
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 6 (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.

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