- Start date: 1 February 2017
- End date: 31 March 2018
- Funder: YARN
- Primary investigator: Simon Popple
- External co-investigators: Dr Jenna Ng
Over 2017-2018, this 12-month follow-on project was based in the need to help community organisations address problems created by the diminishing funding of libraries and museums. These increasingly limit engagement and inhibit collaborative partnerships. The Digital Community Workspaces project team worked with a range of communities and public library and archive organisations to help them address a series of difficult self-identified issues. The issues identified related to the access and use of digital heritage resources, co-working, publishing, working with disadvantaged and ‘hard to reach’ audiences, and the use of ‘hidden’ or degraded digital resources. The problem is particularly acute in relation to the use and reuse of digital assets; this project seeks to provide one solution through the provision of the digital resources created as part of the previous AHRC-funded Pararchive project. Those resources have been branded as YARN and are now freely available at: http://yarncommunity.org.
YARN provides a collaborative platform on which communities and public sector organisations can work together to help them establish effective digital community workspaces to deliver a range of activities. This £100,000 follow-on funding allowed us to develop these activities and act on a range of community requests, develop expanding networks and deliver broad social benefit. The team, led by Simon Popple and Dr Jenna Ng from the University of York worked with library museum and community partners from York, Leeds, Wakefield and Bute to undertake four strands of impact activity, focusing on the key needs of each of partner and their local community. The projects included the digitisation of local newspaper resources for community research, digital storytelling for people with learning disabilities, a digital inclusivity project and creating new online archives for community groups.