The ‘Citizen Scholarship’ model offers a new approach to working with volunteers to build capacity for small cultural and heritage institutions. Find out more about how it works and explore example projects here.
You may already be familiar with ‘crowdsourcing’ or ‘citizen science’ projects, such as Planet Four– in which members of the public can help planetary scientists identify and measure features on the surface of Mars – or In the Spotlight – in which the public is asked to help by marking out dates and venues on eighteenth century playbills held by the British Library.
In contrast, our model of citizen scholarship involves training and support for volunteers in co-designed, participatory projects. Our volunteers develop and utilise research methods closer to those of humanities scholars: adopting interpretative, contextual and analytical methods, acknowledging potentially differing understandings of historical evidence, and – at least in the initial stages of research, being prepared to encounter difficulties in finding, categorizing and understanding relevant material. We invite you to look in more detail at our successes and challenges via the different projects explored below.