Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 7

Bearwood Community Hub: Podcast: Celebrating Bearwood Women — with the support of Sandwell Community History and Archive Service (CHAS), and local community groups, this project invited women in Bearwood to add their voice to the historic record and create a new podcast: Celebrating Bearwood Women.

Digitally Democratising Archives: Case Study 7

1. Project overview

The key aims of this project were to:

  • Grow the representation of Bearwood women in local archives.
  • Increase Bearwood Community Hub’s knowledge and capability to contribute to local archives.
  • Learn, as individuals and as an organisation, how to create a podcast.
  • Increase awareness of the local archive service, what digital archiving is, and how to create one’s own archive.


2. Project stats

Data accurate as of April 2022:

  • 12 workshops were delivered as part of the core programme with 4 core participants.
  • A further 12 participants engaged virtually with a learning on-demand ‘Digitise my Dialogue’ web page.
  • Seven people engaged through an in-person talk to launch the event.
  • 278 people accessed the podcast in the first 7 days after its release.


3. Key successes

  • The oral histories of four Bearwood women will now be archived in Sandwell Community History and Archive Service (CHAS), accessible for future generations.
  • Bearwood Community Hub have created an open-to-all online resource on ‘how to digitise dialogue’ that can be shared widely amongst partners and interested parties: Digitise my Dialogue.
  • A digital oral history archive is now available to access for free online through a dedicated podcast.


4. Key learnings

The relationship with CHAS and a local history researcher led to lots of learning about how to build a community archive. This included: agreements and consent forms, the
structure of a good oral history interview, transcriptions, how to create a catalogue/index and how to officially deposit a new archive. Bearwood Community Hub now have their own index ref and can continue to add to and grow the new archive for perpetuity.


5. Top tip

Spontaneous campfire dialogues are magical so have your agreement and consent forms on a device in your back pocket, just in case.


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 2

Qisetna: Tasjeelat — Qisetna collect stories from the Syrian diaspora living in the UK. For their project, they set about conducting research across several UK regions and contexts, both rural and urban, to understand the current situation of the Syrian diaspora better, and reach Syrians from the older generation.

Black and silver microphone and stand

Training digital volunteers to create podcasts

To capture Glasgow Women’s Library’s 30 year history a podcast series has been recorded with the support of digital volunteers to preserve institutional knowledge from organisational “elders” to help promote the library’s heritage and share the importance of the unique, grassroots nature of the organisation.

Silver microphone in middle of bright pink background

Podcast: How do I make a podcast on a shoestring?

Starting your own podcast might seem like a daunting prospect, but in this podcast, we want to show you how easy it can be. Join Heritage Digital and three esteemed guests from the heritage sector as we discuss what you’ll need to get going on your podcast journey, including the ideas and the tech, and the questions you’ll need to ask yourself along the way.


Browse related resources by smart tags:

Archive Digital archive Digital Heritage Podcasts
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 7 (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