Purposeful Participation. A Field Guide and Toolkit for Cultural Intrapreneurs.

Purposeful Participation. A Field Guide and Toolkit for Cultural Intrapreneurs.

By New Citizenship Project


This Field Guide is the final output of The Future Of Cultural Heritage: a year-long collaborative innovation process convened by the New Citizenship Project, working with a cohort of twelve individuals from six organisations across the sector.

We started with a question and an aspiration. 

The Question: 

How can cultural institutions work with people to shape cultural heritage? 

The Aspiration: 

To develop and test ways of thinking and working that enable more institutions to be more effective in involving more people in shaping cultural heritage - rather than seeing them simply as consumers of visitor attractions. 

The Process

This process, which also included wide-ranging desk research and stakeholder interviews, made it clear that the cultural heritage sector is in the early stages of a significant evolution. A much more participatory approach to cultural heritage is emerging: an approach that puts people not just at the heart but at the head. That evolution is being led from within, by many different individuals in many different roles, and in almost every institution. 

However, we believe that this evolution needs to unfold more quickly for the sector and its institutions to thrive and fulfil their vital role in our changing world. 

Our goal is not to make an argument or case for change, but to equip the “Cultural Intrapreneurs” who are already on the journey. 


There are five sections in this Field Guide and Toolkit. 

  1. The Big Idea: Purposeful Participation 

    Here we introduce our key concept as briefly as possible, setting up our headline challenge to cultural institutions and the sector as a whole, and also explain the role we see for Cultural Intrapreneurs.

  2. Purposeful Questions 

    Here we equip you to articulate the question(s) you and your institution are holding. Moving from passive statements to active questions is the foundation of Purposeful Participation. 

  3. Participatory Strategy 

    A simple template map and a series of exercises to help you start from your question and break down what you want to achieve with people - and how you might measure your success - into component parts. This will help you direct the flow of ideas and creativity in your institution. 

  4. Personal Profile 

    We zoom in on you as an individual, and the characteristics you will need to cultivate to do the work of a Cultural Intrapreneur. 

  5. Let’s Get Started 

    Here we aim to help you pick somewhere to get started. After all, this work is about doing, not just thinking. 

Download the field guide and toolkit 

Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2019