You are on page 1of 43

SALLY FORT MANCHESTER

CULTURE CONSULTANT
HISTORIES

HIDDEN HISTORIES
HIDDEN
HISTORIANS

EVALUATION
www.sallyfort.com
REPORT
MARCH 2018
www.sallyfort.com
CONTENTS

Contents

SUMMARY CASE STUDY: HIDDEN HISTORIES HIDDEN HISTORIANS ............................................................ 3
INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................................................. 8
THEORY OF CHANGE ........................................................................................................................................................ 9
EVALUATION METHODOLOGY................................................................................................................................... 12
PROJECT ACTIVITY ............................................................................................................................................................ 13
Hidden Histories............................................................................................................................................................... 13
Hidden Historians............................................................................................................................................................. 28
Training & Toolkits........................................................................................................................................................... 30
Hidden Histories Network ............................................................................................................................................ 34
Project Audiences ............................................................................................................................................................ 37
ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ........................................................................................................................... 39
Lessons Learned ............................................................................................................................................................... 41

www.sallyfort.com 2
SUMMARY CASE STUDY
HIDDEN HISTORIES HIDDEN HISTORIANS

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Hidden Histories Hidden Historians was a project delivered by Manchester Histories and funded by
Heritage Lottery Fund. It ran for two years over 2016-2017. The project aimed to raise the profile of the
stories and individuals Manchester’s history and heritage sector and its public have often overlooked.
Manchester Histories volunteers supported the delivery of events, and a new Community Engagement
Manager post was created to manage the project.

To date:
• 268,656 people (excluding staff and volunteers) attended 62 events, visited a three-part display, and
downloaded four digital toolkits.
• 19 volunteers gave a total 100 hours supporting 11 events.
• 12 historians received 24 support surgeries.
• 118 workshop trainees joined 9 workshops.
• 224 attenders joined 4 network events.
• A minimum of 45 group participants joined 22 workshops.
• 266,000 audiences visited physical and digital exhibitions, tours and launch events.
• 2226 toolkits were downloaded (as of 31st January 2018).

Under the Hidden Historians strand, Manchester Histories team created a programme of sector
support, for people involved at all levels including communities, volunteers and professionals.

Support surgeries were run for individuals with an existing research interest focusing on a specific part of
Manchester; or who needed their understanding of working within particular communities broadening and
deepening; or who wanted to elevate their volunteering or professional profile.

A training programme offering skills development in some key aspects of heritage and history practice ran
on weekends, offered to anyone involved or interested in lesser known histories.

A series of toolkits was produced which complemented the training themes and extended the reach of the
support by making them available for free online. The themes of the training and toolkits were: Creating An
Archive; Doing Oral History; Doing Historical Research; and Evaluating Projects.

Networking events took place in historically intriguing and significant venues across Manchester such as
Chetham’s Library; a 100-year-old steam boat; and the Etihad Stadium – the site of the former Bradford Pit.
These evening events combined social interaction with facilitated conversation, consultation and practice
sharing.

www.sallyfort.com 3
Hidden Histories describes the work of groups meeting across a range of interests and places
throughout Greater Manchester who were supported to uncover and display the story of their own hidden
history, taking part in facilitated history and archive workshops, and presenting their stories at Archives+ in
Manchester Central Library.

The groups involved in discovering and sharing their hidden histories were:

• FC United Sporting Memories: a group of older men meeting weekly to share their memories of
football and life in Manchester. They collected video interviews and found archive photographs of
some significant moments related to their histories and that of FC United.

• Levenshulme Inspire: a community hub and former church where a vastly diverse range of
communities and individuals meet for conversation, workshops, projects, campaigns, food, drink
and more. Their Peoples’ Project group of older people took the lead, putting together a history of
the building, from it’s early 20th life as a church; through its conversion to a community centre; into
the hubbub of Inspire activity today.

• M13 Youth Project: An organisation supporting young people through social, creative and
accredited activities on a drop-in basis. They collected video interviews and documents from the
organisation’s lifetime to show how M13 has delivered on its core values over the years.

• Manchester People First: A self-advocacy organisation championing the voices and equal rights of
people with learning disabilities who meet weekly. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the group chose
to select ten items which represent the organisation’s creation, vision and mission; ten photographs
from the organisation’s earlier days; and ten photographs chosen as favourites from present day
members. They also produced a series of short performances identifying why self-advocacy has
been and continues to be essential for learning disabled people.

• Oldham Youth Council: A democratically elected group of 11-21 year olds representing and
campaigning for the youth of Oldham. The group usually meets twice a month. They researched the
diverse backgrounds of their families, over three or more generations, as part of their wider
campaign championing diversity and equality.

www.sallyfort.com 4
KEY SUCCESSES

1. The range of people involved with the project represented Manchester and surrounding areas’ diversity
well, with ages from under 16 to over 80 taking part. Based on group projects and training workshops
around 20% of people in the programme have a disability, impairment or illness that affects their daily lives;
around 60% were female, 40% male, though no-one with non-binary genders were evident; around 30%
were from ethnicities that are not White British. Project participants lived mainly in Manchester, Oldham
or Trafford. Workshop trainees lived mainly in Manchester, Trafford and Stockport. Between a third and a
half have lived in or around Manchester for over 20 years.

2. Learning about history and heritage were very successful outcomes across the programme. In projects,
participants learned about what archives had to offer and were very enthusiastic. They learned about the
people who paved the way for them to live their current lives. They saw slivers of Manchester through a
new lens, being able to visualize and imagine how things were different in the past. They became strongly
aware of the process of ‘making history’ with the responsibility, rigour and deliberateness that go into
constructing what become recorded histories. They made important distinctions about the value of
archives as a place to trust information compared to other more easily accessible sources, such as the
internet. Group members became aware of their place and value within a longer timeline and historical
context. Learning about different areas of Manchester and its history was a particularly strong outcome at
network events.

3. Learning new skills was also a success of the programme. Group participants now understand what
archives contain and how to access them, as well as other ways to find evidence of the past from sources
much closer to home. They understand more about the legal and ethical implications of getting the right
permissions in place to store and share work in a historical context. All groups commented on the process
of telling the story and the challenges of selecting the right items – their curatorial or narrative skills have
developed as a result of this. In training workshops, research and oral history collecting skills and
techniques were very successfully conveyed. New evaluation tools, models and methods were gleaned.
Confidence increased, and people felt their quality of practice had improved.

4. Creating and building relationships to others was another success across the programme. Historians
were introduced to other historians and organisations to discuss shared interests; volunteers were
introduced to other organisations they could support and potential employers; project groups spoke very
warmly and positively of meeting the other groups at their launch event; project group leaders were put in
touch with local organisations who could help them continue with new found heritage interests. Younger
group members came to understand and respect longer standing ones more; and young people felt closer
to parents and grandparents as they discovered more about their lives.

5. The support of the Manchester Histories team was also acknowledged by participants as being key to the
successes they experienced. Project groups frequently commented on the energy, enthusiasm, positivity
and clarity the Project Archivist brought to them and their stories. The approach Manchester Histories
took in asking them to identify histories that mattered to them, rather than being prescriptive, made a big
difference to the enjoyment and commitment people gave to their involvement. They loved the attention to
detail at their exhibition launch, noting the care with which special catering and certificates had been
arranged for them. Workshop trainees found the booking and confirmation process simple and straight
forward and the style of workshop delivery enjoyable, accessible, engaging and informative. At network
events, people enjoyed being taken to some of the area’s hidden gems and the special tours and speakers
arranged for them.

www.sallyfort.com 5
KEY CHALLENGES

1. The biggest challenge to the project was the impact of staff changes, both at Manchester Histories and
one of its main delivery partners. This reduced the time, clarity of vision, and practical knowledge first
afforded to the programme. In the end, much of what started out as a two-year programme was delivered
within nine months, particularly regarding community group projects, training workshops, and the
development of toolkits. Other aspects of the project waned in the gaps between a key contact to drive
momentum, meaning that new staff often had to rekindle activity, or start again from scratch.

2. The digital aspect of the programme was also challenging. Delivering projects in a much shorter timespan
meant monthly group support sessions were fewer than planned and digital training was not included. It
relied on the skills groups already had, which often fell to one person in each group, who had not foreseen
the time commitment it would need. Some assumptions were made about technology by the project team,
i.e. the groups would have the skills they needed (which was only true for two of them) and could operate
using the technical specifications the team and project required. For instance, using Dropbox to share files
was often an issue as firewalls, storage capacity or technophobia got in the way. Initially digital heritage
workshops and an accompanying toolkit had been planned, but changes to staff and timeframes meant this
was not realised. As staff changed at Manchester Histories and Archives+, digital requirements for displays
changed, which complicated projects already underway. Digital technology also glitched in the training
workshop programme, though fortunately the project manager was able to source backup equipment and
get things back on track. In another workshop, assumptions were made by the trainer about the technical
capabilities participants would have, and some struggles slowed the workshop down or limited people
taking part as fully as possible.

LESSONS LEARNED

Based on what worked well and what people said they would do differently another time, advice for future
activity includes:
• A skilled, knowledgeable, enthusiastic workshop facilitator makes all the difference and keeps
everyone going.
• Young people are mesmerized by the specialness of very old books!
• Community groups have different needs, one delivery model doesn’t work for them all.
• Group projects of this type need more than 4 facilitated workshops.
• Assumptions cannot be made about digital technology or digital capabilities.
• Check, double check and triple check exhibition requirements, spaces and facilities.
• Good refreshments are always appreciated (and often expected).
• Find out the different skills of participants and have them share the workload.
• Projects tying into existing priorities or interests bring good staying power and commitment levels.
• Using a range of media makes it more possible to tell stories, and more accessible for audiences.
• Having videos transcribed takes time but makes them much more accessible.
• People are open and willing to try new things, as long as the right help is offered.
• Empowering people by asking them to set their own agenda increases the enjoyment, enthusiasm,
care, commitment and quality people invest in their activity.
• People will always need multiple sources of information. Permissions sometimes won’t be given for
photos, archives have gaps, not everyone wants to tell their story from the past, not everyone’s
family tree is online. But each of these can help fill the gaps of the others.
• People want practical skills, tools and real world examples in their training workshops.
• Casual, friendly, informal delivery in training sessions helps people feel more confident and at ease.
Humour is a great ice-breaker.
• People are inherently curious and will always want to access unusual or lesser known heritage gems
across the area – these make great networking opportunities.

www.sallyfort.com 6
WHAT PEOPLE SAID

“We didn’t know what was going to come of it when we started and it’s been good, like going to perform
our histories for another group in Liverpool, and being invited to take part in the next Manchester
Histories project and being part of that from the very start – it’s really raised our profile and our
expectations around doing other history stuff across the city and the North West. It’s been really good.”
Stephen Hughes, Project Manager, Manchester People First

“Completely against everything we expected, it was the old books – to see them, touch them, smell
them… the oldest book in Manchester! The log of everyone in Prestwich Asylum. And knowing they could
ask to see them, anytime, as just one of the public. And they recognise they and their families are part of
history now.” Chris Lewis, Lead Youth Worker, Oldham Youth Council

“Thank you for getting the funding to do it. We are more likely now to go on and do our own projects. It’s
made things seem more possible” Kate Williams, Project Manager, Levenshulme Inspire

“I wondered what I was doing at the archives. We saw a book about a mental asylum. My sister is a mental
health nurse, so it opened up lots of conversations and I could tell her things she didn’t know. I’m a bit of a
history geek now!” Nicola Powell, Youth Worker, M13 Youth

“And they wore gloves to look at the books. It was in a different language – Latin. It was amazing that book,
that something that old could exist. It was almost 530 years old, that’s nearly three times the age of the
town hall!” Participant

“It helped make the connection that our story would become part of that, that 100 years from now, people
would be looking back on our story. That it wasn’t just about sitting around the table talking amongst
ourselves, but that it’s a history that will be part of Manchester.” Participant

“My grandma and grandad really love the project – it started so many conversations. There was a bit of a
language barrier because I don’t speak Gujurati and they’re fluent in it, but they speak some English, and
this was just a really solid topic for them to be able to explain to me. It was a really nice bonding activity”
Participant

“In a way you’ve made a mark. I get we all have the internet and social media but it’s researching things you
don’t normally look at. That your family history is documented somewhere for future generations is kind of
cool!” Participant

“With the history, we had our laughs and giggles, but we were serious. Serious about getting to know that
what we were doing was right, the right information, like we had a responsibility for it.” Participant

www.sallyfort.com 7
INTRODUCTION

“I learned a lot more about the history of my grandad’s time. I only knew he was in the
forces, I never really knew what he did. Mum told me one thing was when people couldn’t get
in and out, like if it was too cold, he would drive the wagons and he was the only one in his
regiment who could drive up the narrow roads, because where he was from in Wales they
have narrow roads anyway so he was naturally used to it. He was the only one who could
drive up there, reverse it, and come back down. And I’d never understood that before. It’s
made me grow closer and understand Grandma a lot better and understand how we’ve all
changed from when my grandad and nanna was younger, my mum, dad, sister and myself –
how we was when we were younger and how we are now. I can appreciate what family
members did or went through to help us growing up and I really enjoyed finding out other
people’s history as well as my own because, to see all these different people telling us about
their family trees, I thought that was very interesting to see how many different backgrounds
have come to Oldham.”
Participant, Oldham Youth Council

Hidden Histories was a project developed and delivered by Manchester Histories, a small charity working
across Greater Manchester to help uncover, acknowledge and celebrate lesser known histories across the
area. The project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund.

In brief its aims were two-fold:
1. To build capacity (i.e. skills, confidence, quality and networks) across groups and individuals interested in
exploring and caring for their lesser known hidden histories, addressing the needs of non-traditional history
and heritage keepers who tend to have a much lower profile across the region’s map of history makers.
2. To produce documentation of and tell their hidden history more widely, sharing it in ways that suit their
stories and groups, and embedding a permanent legacy of their stories in the Manchester / Greater
Manchester historical records.

The project was conceived in 2015 in response to feedback from groups with an interest in history and
heritage across Greater Manchester. Manchester Histories received regular requests for support from such
groups and brought them together periodically to explore how they might influence annual / biennial
Manchester Histories Festivals or other activity. Demand for support from Manchester Histories was
growing faster than the organisation was able to meet, so Hidden Histories was devised to help these
groups become more self-sufficient with adequate skills and understanding to help them manage their own
histories. The project offered a range of support; from bespoke one-to-one surgeries for individual
historians; targeted delivery of projects embedded in local communities; to practical training workshops
increasing the skills of groups and individuals, and toolkits to act as a more permanent legacy for the
training workshops and reach a wider range of groups or individuals (being freely available online). To help
acknowledge the commitment made by historians and community groups, exhibitions at Archives+ in
Manchester Central Library, and opportunities to join the Manchester Histories Festival programme were
also included in the vision of the project.
Changes in Manchester Histories staffing shifted the approach to the project as different solutions to
managing the capacity of the organisation came into place. Whilst the original vision was to address demand
by becoming more of a development agency encouraging greater self-sufficiency; the focus is now on
continuing to lead delivery of projects, but in a more targeted way. This distinction is important to
understanding the rest of this evaluation.

www.sallyfort.com 8
THEORY OF CHANGE

The original plan for the project is set out below as a theoretical map of how the resources and activity
would create the intended changes over time. This helps create a picture of the project which the rest of
this report uses as a basis for further exploration.

1. RESOURCES

• Governance: Steering group of representatives from across lead and partner organisations to
meet bi-monthly throughout the project, and quarterly updates for Manchester Histories Trustees.
• Investment: Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £80,000 + estimated in-kind support of £50,000 +
100 volunteer hours valued at £5000 (under HLF volunteer valuation recommendations of
£50/hour). Support in kind included a wider variety of contributions from staff time at partner
organisations, to event spaces in buildings around Greater Manchester, to office overheads and
senior leadership costs input by Manchester Histories.
• Values: A focus on exploring, celebrating and sharing less familiar histories of Greater Manchester,
befitting the needs of diverse communities and groups or individuals who have a desire - but not
previously the skills, support or confidence - to tell their own histories. At the same time
recognising and engaging with the expertise and knowledge that already exists within communities,
individual researchers and historians who site outside traditional heritage venues. Hidden Histories,
Hidden Historians aimed to validate the relevance and importance of these unexplored or
documented histories, and the important and knowledgeable role of individuals, often working in
isolation, in communities who research and attempt to preserve such stories.

2. ACTIVITIES

• Bespoke support surgeries for individual historians and researchers with an identified interest in a
specific local hidden history.
• Action research project development / delivery for a small number of community groups, helping
them clarify, articulate and look after the histories of their groups. Some may have an archive, but
this is not a pre-requisite for taking part.
• Training workshops for community organisations, individuals and schools interested / involved in
delivering histories and heritage, helping them build practical skills grounded in good practice, to
help articulate, organise and share their histories on an ongoing basis.
• Network meetings for groups and organisations across Greater Manchester, with an interest in
heritage and history so that groups with such hidden histories can learn more about one another
and share experiences. Capacity for as many people or groups who want to attend. Held in places
convenient for groups across Greater Manchester communities.
• Creation of freely downloadable community toolkit PDF files for individuals and groups wanting to
engage with their local histories and heritage, mirroring the content of the training workshops, and
reaching a wider audience.
• Volunteers, helping welcome and support participants in workshops and training sessions; assisting
with PR activity; and supporting the gathering of oral histories or other archives research.

www.sallyfort.com 9
3. PLANNED OUTPUTS

• Up to 10 researcher / historians offered five x 1.5 hour sessions each.
• 6 hidden history groups from across Manchester and Greater Manchester communities; 2 pre-
identified; 4 newly discovered. At least 1 to be from a Greater Manchester borough outside of
Manchester; 1 engaging young people one from culturally diverse community.
• 16 workshops (8 topics x 2 workshops). Average 12 trainees each. Total 192 trainees.
• 7 quarterly network events over the project’s 2 years; with at least 25 groups represented and 5
individuals per event, and at least 10 new groups attending by the project’s end.
• Showcase of all new history or heritage content produced, to be deposited and shared at
Archives+.
• 1 community toolkit with four individual themes included. 10 downloads per topic by during
project; 50 per topic within 12 months of launch.
• 15 volunteers providing 74 days’ worth of support.
• Establishment of a new network of groups interested in heritage and history, to share peer
learning, and avoid duplication. The network should be self-directed at the end of the project
though Manchester Histories will continue to enable its progression.
• Professional photographs, the evaluation report and any items produced as part of the project
delivery added to a new Manchester Histories archive at Archives+ for researchers in the future.
• Oral histories produced by participating groups deposited with Archives+'s new sound archive.
• Professional photographs available on Manchester Histories website gallery, social media and
available to participating groups for use in their own promotional materials.
• Pop-up banners to be used at Manchester Histories community and training events.
• 2 groups ready to apply for follow-on HLF funding by the end of this project.
• 1 full time project manager post, sustained beyond the lifetime of this project.

4. PLANNED OUTCOMES AND IMPACT

The planned outcomes are summarised below. The full list, as worded in the original funding application, is
provided in Appendix 1. Each outcome is shown with a code. The codes will be used to illustrate the
outcomes met by each of the community group Hidden Histories in a later section.

IMPACT ON HERITAGE
Heritage is Better Interpreted & Explained
• (H1) Training sessions and toolkits will help improve how histories and heritage are explained by
individuals and communities, leading to improved abilities and ultimately, higher quality, more
audience friendly presentation.
• (H2) Training and toolkits will lead to presentation of histories / heritage through a community
exhibition, narrative archive or presentation of oral histories.
• (H3) Community groups will be supported to showcase their own histories with a wider
community.
Heritage is Better Identified & Recorded
• (H4) Community groups will be supported in identifying and recording their own local and social
histories.
• (H5) Archives and oral histories will help groups record and preserve their histories which will be
made available to researchers, academics and historians.

www.sallyfort.com 10
IMPACT ON PEOPLE
People Will Have Developed Skills
• (P1) Community groups will learn more about developing and managing their own history projects
through focused support, training and mentoring.
• (P2) Two groups will be capable and ready to write their own project funding applications for
Heritage Lottery Fund by the end of the project.
• (P3) Surgery sessions for up to ten individual historians will help them build their skills and signpost
them to relevant training.
• (P4) A newly established network will enable skills sharing and mutual support between peers.
• (P5) Training and toolkit developers will be brought together to learn from one another, and with
community groups to develop more enhanced skills for supporting communities.
People Will Have Learned About Heritage
• (P6) Community groups selected will include people not traditionally involve with heritage and / or
share their work with others not normally involved with heritage.
People Will Have Changed Their Attitude or Behaviour
• (P7) Attitudes to areas of Greater Manchester will be changed by revealing the historical
importance of their locations for the people who live there.
• (P8) Attitudes to non-professional historians (typically referred to as amateur or community
historians, with a negative implication), will be changed by providing a platform and showcase for
their specialisms and work throughout the project.
People Will Have Had an Enjoyable Experience
• (P9) Gaining new skills and learning in this project must be engaging and fun so that people feel
properly supported, welcomed and can enjoy the process.
• (P10) The new models of working will explore how people engage with histories and heritage, for
example through drama, providing an enjoyable experience that leads to a desire to get more
involved.
People Will Have Volunteered Time
• (P11) Manchester Histories volunteers who are already experienced in skills areas e.g. oral
histories will have the opportunity to support trainers on each of the sessions, or support
communities when they are conducting their own activities. Our voluntary Volunteer Co-ordinator
will co-ordinate this support.

IMPACT ON COMMUNITIES
More / A Wider Range of People Will Have Engaged in Heritage
• (C1) At least 37% of Manchester Histories Festival audiences say that they are new to heritage
events demonstrating that it is a suitable platform to showcase hidden histories and heritage to new
audiences. Of the six groups, ten individuals and workshop participants we aim to work with, we
estimate that this will provide a minimum of two hundred and thirty two people, many who we
already know will be engaging for the first time with heritage.

www.sallyfort.com 11
EVALUATION METHODOLOGY

A mixed method approach was used, based on the theory of change and planned outcomes listed on
previous pages. Demographic and baseline data was collected from all workshop and community group
participants; as well as qualitative feedback from participants, audiences and staff. Heritage Lottery Fund’s
evaluation guidelines and New Economics Foundation’s Prove and Improve model were used to influence
the design of the methodology. A formalized evaluation framework and plan was produced to steer the
approach and help clarify the process with the project team.

Manchester Histories requested a plain text final report, to use extracts for advocacy documents,
presentations and the creation of infographics.

DATA

• Training workshops: 98 attendee demographic and feedback forms; qualitative feedback from 2 of
the 5 trainers.
• Community groups: 3 group feedback interviews; 2 workshop observations; 4 group leader
interviews; access to all creative outputs showcasing process and final histories produced;
observation at exhibition launch event and attendance and demographic monitoring figures.
• Network meetings: Attendance monitoring at each event, creative consultation documentation x 2
events, 11 feedback forms.
• Project delivery team: Monthly updates (phone and face); 4 x end of project interviews (Manchester
Histories and Archives+ staff); Desk research of 2 x project team update reports for HLF
throughout the project; 9 Observation sheets completed across the training and networking
events.
• Audiences: archive visitor figures; digital archive viewing figures; 3 x exhibition launch event vox
pops; toolkit download analytics.

LIMITATIONS

• It was not possible to observe or carry out end point interviews with two of the community
groups, due to the nature of their meetings which were infrequent and subject to change at short
notice. The experiences of FC United Sporting Memories group are therefore represented solely
through project team feedback. The experiences of the M13 youth group are represented through
their youth worker and feedback from the project team.
• The experiences of the individuals who benefitted from individual advice in personalized support
surgeries are omitted. The changes in staff throughout the project lead to reduced delivery and
documentation of this element of the project and as a result, it was not possible to request
feedback from these individuals.
• The booking system for the network meetings changed part way through the project due to staff
changes. The system in the second half of delivery did not consistently collect full details of
attendees such as the organisations or groups they represented. As a result, identification of the
range of attendees and groups represented cannot be fully understood.
• Due to staff changes at Archives+, some data for training workshops in the early part of the project
was not collected. This includes the demographics and qualitative feedback of the participants,
though attendance numbers were documented.

www.sallyfort.com 12
PROJECT ACTIVITY
HIDDEN HISTORIES

“If you don’t tell your story then someone else will tell it for you, and that will never
do it justice. Be proud of your story and take care of those things that tell it.”
Heather Roberts, Freelance Project Archivist for Hidden Histories

Hidden Histories is the name given to the strand of the project helping groups research, share and preserve
histories not generally represented in well-known or high-profile accounts of Manchester. This element of
the project planned to work alongside groups to help build their confidence and skills in developing a clear
story of a history they identified themselves, by offering monthly support visits and targeted training making
use of the training workshop programme.

To improve representation of Hidden Histories groups in Manchester’s collective memory, the programme
specifically aimed to include at least one group of young people from culturally diverse communities, and at
least one group from a Greater Manchester borough outside of Manchester. Digitisation would be a key
part of the programme, in the hope of being a suitable tool for engaging with young people in particular and
building the skills of others through support and training, in order to help participants, grow skills to build
and share their stories in the future.

ACTIVITY

Each group took part in a visit to Archives+ at Manchester Central Library for a tour of the building and
collections. This was followed up by three to four workshops supporting each group to identify themes,
select or collect material to tell the story of the theme, and create digital content so that their histories
could be displayed on the multi-media facilities at Archives+

Across the range of projects:
• 30 workshops attracted a total of 133 attendances.
• 45 people took part in at least 1 community group workshop.
• 33 formally registered for the project.
• Average attendance per session was: 9 people at Manchester People’s First x 3 sessions; 6 at
Oldham Youth Council x 4 sessions; 8 at FC Utd Sporting Memories x 4 sessions; 7 at M13 x 3
sessions; and 6 at Levenshulme Inspire x 3 sessions.

A model for group projects was created as follows:

1. Criteria for suitable groups were that they should be existing groups who already meet on a regular basis
such as weekly or fortnightly; that they should have support from a worker who is already attached to the
group; and that they should have support from the Manchester Histories team.

2. Groups were each supported the same way:
• Three to four support workshops in situ where they meet.
• An introductory tour of Archives+ after their first project meeting to set the scene, give a more
tangible sense of what history means and inspire the groups to tell their own stories.
• Written resources clarifying what would be needed, expected and how things would run.

www.sallyfort.com 13
3. To help the groups focus, it was explained that their stories should
• Have meaning to the group.
• Have some connection with the Greater Manchester area
• Have plenty of objects, ephemera, documents, photographs or other items to help tell the story.
• Include a short introduction to the story, of no more than a few hundred words.
• Include up to 30 images that tell the story (with a technical specification to ensure compatibility
with the Archives+ display facilities).
• A short introduction to each image of no more than 100 words per image.
• Audio or video files relating to the story.
• An original physical item displayed alongside items from each of the other groups.

4. A framework was provided to each group in the first meeting to help them understood how history is
made and recorded, and what that means for them in terms of their history. The stages of this were set out
as
• History as a story – what history and archives are and why they are important and relevant.
• How to tell your story to others – what information is needed and how it can be shared or
presented.
• Finding the evidence – what to look for, where to look, what different records can say, what
different stories can be told.
• Keeping the evidence – how to store, handle and use evidence or records.
• Recording the story – what information to keep.
• Telling your story in an exhibition – using a story template, focusing on the information needed and
where to find it, what to do with the evidence to realise the story.

www.sallyfort.com 14
CASE STUDY 1: MANCHESTER PEOPLE FIRST

“We didn’t know what was going to come of it when we started and it’s been good, like going
to perform our histories for another group in Liverpool, and being invited to take part in the
next Manchester Histories project and being part of that from the very start – it’s really
raised our profile and our expectations around doing other history stuff across the city and
the North West. It’s been really good.” Stephen Hughes, Project Manager, Manchester People First

About the Group
Manchester People First are a self-advocacy group run by and for adults with a learning disability. The group
have a unique history because they were established by learning disabled adults just as the idea of self-
advocacy had started to develop. Their activities range from campaigning, training and education, social
events and activities, advocacy and representation.
Manchester People First wanted to create an exhibition of the wonderful pictures and documents they have
collected over the years to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the group. Manchester People First feels the
histories and heritage of people with learning disabilities are hidden from the mainstream history narrative
through prejudice, and these need to be told and controlled by people who do have learning disabilities.
http://www.manpf.org/

Project Activity
The group began by laying out all their organisational archive. They had documented the organisation
through photographs since it began. This was the first time they had ever laid out and looked through the
full set of images in the organisation’s history. It provided an opportunity for the group to think about and
discuss what should be included. They felt it was essential to clarify the purpose of the group, to be self-
advocates for people with learning disabilities, and have their voices heard. For this reason, ten
constitutional, governance and mission related items were included. Added to this, ten individuals around
the table chose one image each, based on what they felt was significant. To complete the set of archive
items, ten items representing the organisation now were also selected. Staff then digitised the selected
items, made recordings of group members explaining the significance of the selections, and transcribed the
interviews, to ensure their story would be fully accessible both for group members, and audiences at
Archives+

It was explained to the group that they would have an opportunity to present their views about the project
and their story to the other groups at the exhibition launch event, and that they could choose to do this in
whatever way they wanted. After some discussion, it was decided that the group would create a short
performance. To prepare, Manchester People First and Manchester Histories shared the cost of
commissioning a drama practitioner to work with the group over 11 weekly sessions, helping them decide
on the content, roles and structure of their performance. A series of short vignettes were performed in
front of other groups at Archives+ on the day of the launch. Reflecting the organisation’s mission for
learning disabled people to self-advocate for equality and be heard, the group took the opportunity to
perform short stories of life in care from their past, where their voices had not been heard at all, nor their
individuality and human rights respected. They hoped the performances will reach professionals working in
care and health roles now, to help improve how learning disabled people are treated today.

www.sallyfort.com 15
Project Outcomes
The difference this project made to the group covers six main areas. These are summarised below,
illustrated in the words of Manchester People First members themselves:
1. Learning More About History
“It was nice working with the people from the library and them showing us how the library used to
be before it reopened and telling us about what it used to look like in the olden days.”
“It was really good to have a look round the library and get to know different things, people telling
us what was there.”
“I remember them showing us all the pictures of the cloth.”
“The material in the books.”
“It showed you how to dye your cloth different colours.”
“A sample book, and of how they felt, different patterns.”
“And they wore gloves to look at the books. I looked at a book that was over 500 years old. It was
in a different language – Latin. It was amazing that book, that something that old could exist. It was
almost 530 years old, that’s nearly three times the age of the town hall because that’s about 150
years old.”
“It helped make the connection that our story would become part of that, that 100 years from
now, people would be looking back on our story. That it wasn’t just about sitting around the table
talking amongst ourselves, but that it’s a history that will be part of Manchester.”

2. Understanding the Value of the Organisation in a Historical Context
“We saw the pictures we had took but had forgotten all about. When we saw them we were
amazed because we’d forgotten about all we did.”
“The difference between now and then, we couldn’t believe what we’d done, it was amazing!”
“It was a really good way of looking back – where we’d come from, what we’d done over the last
25 years and recognise we’d grown ten-fold over that time.”
“A lot of it was photo based so older members would relay to newer members and it started
conversations about how things were 25 years ago. Those conversations wouldn’t have happened
otherwise.”
“Younger members now see where we’ve come from. They had a bit of an understanding that
people weren’t listened to. Some people take that right for granted and that’s only come from
those pioneers setting out on that journey. So, it sparked those conversations – that the older
members had to fight for that.”
“We feel proud to get other people to look at what we’ve been doing.”

3. The Value of Drama as a Tool for Heritage and Expression
“We decided to come up with a Manchester People First play about the olden days – people going
into care and coming out of care.”
“We wanted to get it out to support workers, to make them understand who we are.”
“To get our ideas out there.”
“I wanted to do the thing about being pregnant because I had a child and it was taken off me. I
thought it was a good idea because it’s the first play I’ve ever done with Manchester People First.”
“It’s trying to get the word out to support workers and care workers and doctors and nurses to
make them understand how it feels.”
“I was watching the play, watching them, then looking round at people in the room, and people I
could see, had tears.”
“I think we’ve made ourselves proud.”
“It made us stronger.”
“We want to carry on and do another play next.”

www.sallyfort.com 16
4. Social Capital
“I think that was important, showing different groups like the church one and the youth club and
things like that – people getting out and about and doing things. It wasn’t just us taking part. People
were talking about their lives, or what they’ve been doing, and supporting other people, other
groups. I thought that was really interesting, what they were saying.”
“We even went to Liverpool and did the play there for other people with learning disabilities. We
watched theirs, they watched ours, and it was really good.”

5. Acknowledging a Life Well Lived
In memory of Louisa Burton, member of Manchester People First for over 15 years, and participant in the
project. 1962 – 2017.
“She’s up there watching, and proud of us. She’d like it.”
“You can never take her away now, she’s there at the library.”
“The fact that she’s there forever now as part of Manchester History is just brilliant. And I think
she would have been chuffed to bits. Her mum and her sisters were so pleased she was center
stage as it were. She liked the limelight.”

6. Being Listened To
“When we first started, there were 4 of us, and we needed some help, so we found people who
could do that and asked them to give us advice and just let people know that disabled people can
think and act like everyone can, and it’s just grown. Some people here, they wouldn’t speak, and
now you’ve heard them – that’s what it does. It brings people, and they listen, and then they start
saying, and what they say, we take on board. It brings it all into one and makes it more alive. And
this has rounded up all those things we want to say.”
“It’s for us to talk to audiences we wouldn’t normally talk to. It used to be an insular world and
you’d only reach the people around your organisation. Now we can reach people all over and have
broader conversations.”

Lessons Learned
Key factors that helped or hindered the project’s progress according to the group and project team:
• Deciding what items to include or leave out of a story is much harder than expected.
• Performing histories is a powerful way to tell stories others need to hear.
• Sharing histories is a way to challenge assumptions and help others understand our experiences.
• Having a clear focused vision and story developed and owned by a group whose membership stays
the same throughout helped the project stay achievable and on-track.
• It’s extra work to record and transcribe each introduction not just type it, but it is essential to
ensure everyone can access history.

Top Tips from the Group
Suggestions of what could help other projects and groups in the future from the group and project team
are:
• Decide if a chronology is important. We had one then decided not to, because the display style
meant people could drop in and out at any stage rather than be likely to follow a sequence. We
also discovered we didn’t have exact dates for all the content we wanted to include.
• Don’t be worried if you don’t know what it involves, just go for it, be confident, be yourself
• Visit Archives+ and see how others have done it
• Tell powerful stories
• Be proud of your achievements and include them in your stories
• Think about how you want to be viewed by others

www.sallyfort.com 17
Legacy
As the Hidden Histories project comes to an end, Manchester People First are looking forward to:
• Continuing their relationship with the Liverpool group of learning disabled people, founded through
their drama performances.
• Ambitions to continue with more drama work in the future.
• Pride and reassurance that Louisa has become part of Manchester’s history for everyone, forever.
• An interest in looking after their own archive and library, with ambitions to structure, organise and
care for it more effectively in the future.
• A parallel exhibition up for the foreseeable future at their centre, with images pegged up on display
in the main office for all to see and to help generate more conversations.
• Taking part in the next Manchester Histories project: the city-wide commemoration of the
Peterloo Massacre, in 2019. The group are especially pleased to be included from the outset, which
is in contrast to their usual experiences of people with learning disabilities being overlooked. They
are particularly interested in the nature of Peterloo as a symbol of fighting for power, equality and
being heard which they feel is particularly fitting for the things they want to continue to say.
• Joining the Manchester Hill project led by Manchester Histories and music organisation Brighter
Sound, with other city centre partners. The project commemorates the WWI battle between the
16th Battalion Manchester Regiment, and Germany, in 1918, on Manchester Hill in northern France.
Manchester People First will work with a visual artist to create projection art as part of a multi-
media immersive theatre and performance experience showcased at Manchester Cathedral in April
2018, and shared again as part of Manchester Histories Festival 2018.

Outcomes Met
The codes below refer to the outcomes listed in full in the Planned Outcomes section on page 10
Outcomes for Heritage: H2 H4 H5
Outcomes for People: P1 P6 P7 P9 P10
Outcomes for Communities: C1

www.sallyfort.com 18
CASE STUDY 2: OLDHAM YOUTH COUNCIL

“Completely against everything we expected, it was the old books – to see them, touch them,
smell them… the oldest book in Manchester! The log of everyone in Prestwich Asylum. And
knowing they could ask to see them, anytime, as just one of the public. And they recognise
they and their families are part of history now.” Chris Lewis, Youth Worker, Oldham Youth Council

About the Group
The council are a group of democratically elected young people who represent the youth of Oldham. They
have up to 70 members, aged 11 – 21 who live, study or work in Oldham. As well as engaging with Oldham
Council’s decision-making processes, the group campaign on issues affecting impact on the lives of young
people. They challenge negative perceptions of young people and work hard to ensure Oldham’s youth
have their voices heard. They also represent Oldham Youth within national and regional initiatives, such as
the British Youth Council and the United Kingdom Youth Parliament. Oldham Youth Council feels
mainstream history narratives can struggle to capture the fantastic social and cultural diversity that has
created Oldham in a way that young people can relate to in their own lives. For the group, exploring,
documenting and celebrating Oldham’s diversity is essential to tackling discrimination and prejudice, which
is one of their key priorities.
http://oldhamyc.com

Project Activity
The council meet regularly at their centre in Oldham. The full group were told about the project and
participants choice whether they wanted to take part. After initial group members fell away, others came
on board and a core group of around ten young people emerged. Having heard about the chance to
research a history that was important to them, they chose to tie the project in with their current campaign
speaking out against discrimination. For their Hidden Histories project, they researched the histories of
how their families came to be living in Oldham. The group represents the very diverse population of the
Oldham borough, and their family stories reached many corners of the globe as over twenty countries of
family origin and migration were uncovered, including several families whose stories involved several
countries on different continents. Participants found different ways to research, speaking with parents,
grandparents, using family photo albums, family trees, and other sources such as archives. Each participant
included two photographs and / or videos, and a short piece of writing about the photo and their story.

Project Outcomes
1. Bringing People Closer Together
“I found quite a lot about my dad’s side of the family I didn’t know before. My mum was looking at our
family history already, on her side, and we found more. This project linked it all together. My mum knew
these people were Jewish and came over from Austria, but she didn’t know how or when or where. So,
they helped us find out that they went into the Manchester slums then moved round the country. It was
quite a journey, and we found some new ancestors. My mum can’t hide her enthusiasm, it was like
Christmas had come early for her, she was overjoyed!”
“J’s mum was from Japan, and she [mum] said her and J’s dad met because they both loved Morrissey so
they both just happened to be in Manchester at the same place at the same time. Such a Manc story!”
“It’s made me grow closer and understand Grandma a lot better and understand how we’ve all changed
from when my grandad and nanna was younger, my mum, dad, sister and myself – how we was when we
were younger and how we are now. I can appreciate what family members did or went through to help us
growing up.”
“At the launch, everyone introducing themselves and you got to know other people – it was really good.”
“I felt like it came from the heart of a lot people, and it made us closer as a group not just individuals.”
“I really enjoyed finding out about other people’s family tree as well as my own, I thought it was very
interesting to see how many different backgrounds have come to Oldham.”
“My grandma was cautious about me keeping the photos safe, she doesn’t get the whole concept of what
scanning is. But once they see the end result it’s really rewarding – and to see how media and technology

www.sallyfort.com 19
can be used in a positive, productive way. It’s usually thought about just as social media or hearing bad
things on the news, but when you see it in a historical context it’s great. My family thought that was really
good.”
“My grandma and grandad really love the project – it started so many conversations. There was a bit of a
language barrier because I don’t speak Gujurati and they’re fluent in it, but they speak some English, and
this was just a really solid topic for them to be able to explain to me. It was a really nice bonding activity.”

2. Learning About History

“When we went down into the archives and they let us pull stuff out we were like WOAH! I remember
reading this log book from a mental asylum. It was from the 1800s and they told us it couldn’t be touched
without using tweezers.”
“Everyone was so interested in the book about the asylum.”
“And the entries in there were all female. It seemed really random what they were in there for, things
you’d clear up with science now like menopause. And one that we’d recognise now, like schizophrenia, I
remember that. It was all written by a guy, a doctor.”
“It was from Prestwich. And one of the women in the book was from Oldham. They were really young, 19,
and another was 48, and someone who was 63. They threw anyone in there.”
“They were showing us the history of fashion. I’d never seen fashion like what I got to see that day, from
the 30s and 20s and before. There was a film that went right the way from the 1890s to the 1990s.”
“It’s documenting your own story, your family’s story. My nan was evacuated from London, and people
think that’s lovely. But she wasn’t treated well, it’s not lovely for everyone. It offers a primary resource for
everyone to see.”

3. Enjoyment

“We were able to show who we are, to put our own stamp on it and have some freedom to express the
youth council how we wanted to express ourselves, I’ve certainly felt like it was how I wanted to express
my picture and what I was trying to get across. It felt better that I was able to do that than people saying,
‘do this, do that’.”
“Heather [Project Archivist] was really enthusiastic, which was good, it pushed us to think of more ideas
and better ideas.”
“She was very motivating, not only was she there but she was,’I want to hear your stories, I want to hear
YOUR stories’ so it made us feel ‘like yeah – we want to share our stories with you!’”
“The archives were so cool, I was just fangirling!”
“In a way you’ve made a mark. I get we all have the internet and social media but it’s researching things you
don’t normally look at. That your family history is documented somewhere for future generations is kind of
cool!”

www.sallyfort.com 20
Lessons Learned
• Offering the choice of research interests to the young people helped ensure their enthusiasm, quality of
input, and retention to the project.
• Participation in the project only worked for the young people whose families were willing to share the
process and provide information.
• Not all family members want to remember the past, this can especially be the case for older men and
people who left their home country for negative reasons.
• Language can be a barrier between generations where an older relative speaks the language of the
country they left, and a younger one only speaks English.
• It can be hard to know how to start those conversations with older family members because it doesn’t
normally happen, and it doesn’t always come quickly or easily.
• Asking family members about their past can help young people feel much closer to and more respecting
of older family members.
• Getting permission to include old photographs and documents can be difficult and sometimes
alternatives have to be found.
• Having the right timeframe is important. For young people it needs to be long enough to do the
research and create the archive materials, but it’s also important to keep the momentum alive. If it’s too
long a timeframe, the energy and commitment can start to wane.
• Local Authorities have strict rules about using, storing and sharing media electronically so some of the
project tools, such as use of Dropbox, couldn’t be approved and other ways round this had to be found.
• Taking the group to Archives+, their tour of the building and opportunity to see the oldest books in the
collection made a huge difference to the interest and enthusiasm of the group.

Top Tips from the Group
• Involve the people who really want to do the project then it will go well and be enjoyable.
• Get it done! As soon as you have the idea, get it done. Don’t procrastinate. Have a cut-off deadline.
That got us started. Have a deadline and stick to it.
• A project like this isn’t just for older people or young people, it can be for anyone. Everyone should do
something like this.
• Play to your strengths, help one another, share the workload.
• Use what people are good at including different media – writing, photos, videos. Get training to use
different media and digital media if it’s not something you’re used to using already.
• Not everyone wants to talk about their past or memories so look for other information. We used
family trees, ancestry.com and the archives.
Legacy
The project has deepened the group’s passion for personal heritage and they are enthusiastic to follow-up
on some ideas in particular
• One of the families plans to go through old photo albums with grandad and make sure all the people,
places and year are added.
• One girl wants to film an interview between her grandfather and her uncle as they speak a language she
isn’t fluent in, and this has inspired her to find another way to gather the stories and make that family
connection.
• The interviews and research carried out by the young people also influenced an education pack they
were compiling as part of their wider discrimination campaign, giving them new things to think about
with concrete examples helping their decision-making process.
• Manchester Histories introduced the group to their local archive, who they now plan to work with to
create their own archive of Oldham Youth Council.
• They are also keen to join Manchester Histories’ Peterloo 2019 project.

www.sallyfort.com 21
Outcomes Met
Outcomes for Heritage H3 H4 H5
Outcomes for People P1 P9 P10
Outcomes for Communities C1

www.sallyfort.com 22
CASE STUDY 3: LEVENSHULME INSPIRE

“Thank you for getting the funding to do it. We are more likely now to go on and do our own
projects. It’s made things seem more possible.” Kate Williams, Project Manager, Levenshulme Inspire

About the Group
A vibrant, multicultural, multifaith, intergenerational shared space in the heart of Levenshulme. It is a
welcoming and inclusive place where people meet, chat, celebrate, eat, worship, learn, work and have fun.
Inspire celebrates the diversity of the Levenshulme community and works actively against any form of
discrimination. From teaching English through cooking classes to learning IT through older peoples’ peer
support, Inspire is always finding creative self-help ways to transform the area through community activity,
creativity and enterprise. They are particularly well known for their support of older people, for people
who have newly arrived in the country (especially refugees and asylum seekers) and for people with mental
health needs. Levenshulme Inspire want to bring their history to life to celebrate the space the community
continues to enjoy today. This includes exploring the history of the building, which for most of its life has
been a church; the redevelopment of the church into a community centre bringing people together to work
hard, be enterprising and create the space; and the history of the people who use the centre.
http://www.lev-inspire.org.uk/

Project Activity
Inspire is home to many groups and Kate Williams, Project Manager at Inspire, felt the project would be a
good opportunity for the Inspired Peoples’ Project of people aged 50+, some of whom have seen Inspire’s
building transformed over their lives in and around Levenshulme. The group, who meet regularly, were able
to draw on an extensive and well researched archive collated as part of the regeneration work when the
church building changed use to become the community centre it is today. Documents, photographs and film
footage were discussed and complemented by first-hand knowledge from long time Inspire visitors. The
group had ambitious plans and found keeping the selection of items for inclusion and ensuring a clear,
focused narrative one of the most challenging aspects. With support from Manchester Histories, they
decided to use three themes articulating the building’s origins as a church and its role in early 20th century
Levenshulme; the transformation of the church’s architecture in 2009 to create a community centre; and a
present-day spotlight on Inspire’s groups, campaigns and characters and its relationship with the rest of
Levenshulme. Their story combines photographs, film and text to share the Inspire story.

Project Outcomes
1. Learning About History and Heritage
“I hadn’t been into the archives before.”
“I was very impressed because there was a temperature control in one so that stuff doesn’t get rotten.
And, with the variety of stuff in there!”
“There was like a 100-year-old book, which was open, and it had somebody’s excellent, beautiful writing,
calligraphy, and I was really surprised. I’m into books and the layout of books and publishing – we always
think that only in the modern day we use graphs and columns and all of that, but I was staggered that in
that book it had half pages, full pages, columns and it was all there. All of this has evolved over time, I
thought it was only in the last however many decades, but when I saw it I couldn’t believe it!”
“They got one book out for us and what surprised me is they didn’t use gloves. Then I was told sometimes
the gloves can rub the paper and damage them.”
“The project has made us think about what’s going on now, and what was going on in the past. We
wouldn’t have brought it up, we wouldn’t have discussed it, this history.”
“I remember being told about parish records, this being a church, because parish records are one of the
ways to find out a mass load of history because they were immaculately kept.”
“I remember a talk about what we should look for, what is evidence, to look beyond a flimsy bit of paper
or photograph. What we would call real history, as opposed to just a shop being changed.”
“With the history, we had our laughs and giggles, but we were serious. Serious about getting to know that
what we were doing was right, the right information, like we had a responsibility for it.”

www.sallyfort.com 23
Lessons Learned
• Understanding copyright makes a difference. Inspire knew of several perfect photographs and
videos they would love to use, but the owners have not given permission for them to be used or
shared by other organisations. Sometimes permission can be gained, sometimes not.
• Creating a digital archive can be painstaking and time-consuming work for someone who isn’t
comfortable using digital technology.

Top Tips from the Group
• It takes longer than you think, set aside dedicated hours or see what extra help is available.
• Select a few extra items in case first choice of photographs or films aren’t of high enough quality to
be shared in an exhibition and digital context.
• Back everything up and check it all twice.
• If you’re using new techniques and recording equipment, do a trial run, check the results and be
ready to make any changes before committing to the real thing.
• Go and see where the work will be on display, so you have a better sense of what you’re putting
together and what decisions you need to make.
• Do your research properly, visit somewhere like the Central Library.

Legacy
• The group are already discussing ideas for a next heritage project.
• Kate plans to use the content they produced for a new blog series, publishing one post a week for
30 weeks, with one piece of their story archive showcased each week.

Outcomes Met
Outcomes for Heritage H3 H4 H5
Outcomes for People P1 P9

www.sallyfort.com 24
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: FC UNITED SPORTING MEMORIES

About the Group
An inclusive community group that engages older adults by using sport to recall and share memories. Sport
is a powerful medium, providing memories of games, sporting legends and victories, but also the friendships
made and the sense of community that playing or watching sports brings. Talking about sporting events and
cultures of the time helps reignite shared identities, sparks forgotten memories and reconnects people. The
group are supported by F.C. United, the largest fan-owned football club in the United Kingdom, and the
Sporting Memories Foundation, who develop collaborative sporting memories projects. The group want to
explore, document and celebrate their memories of North Manchester. The area has an interesting history
and the group, who have lived in North Manchester for many years, have many wonderful memories of
players, games, community and sporting cultures to share.
http://www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com/d1332/fc_united_of_manchester_sporting_memories

Activity
The group were all part of an existing programme developed by the Sporting Memories programme, using
the sharing of memories to bring older adults together to counter isolation and keep people in the early
stages of dementia social and active. For this reason, discussion is the main format the group work with. As
such, and with the Sporting Memories programme being relatively new for this group, there was no existing
archive of documents or objects. However, the men had mostly lived in the area their whole lives, held a
wealth of history in their minds, and were often compelling story tellers. For this reason, their memories
were the archives from which evidence was gathered, in the form of oral histories. This was complemented
by items representing the history of the FC United club and its location of which has a rich and significant
range of social, radical and industrial histories. Photographs related to memories they discussed and of
group members complete their set of digitised archive items.

Legacy
• As with all the groups, the digitised histories are now permanently stored and displayed at
Archives+.
• The group have also been invited to take part in the 2019 Peterloo project with Manchester
Histories.
• FC United Sporting Memories continues to take place each week as the main vehicle for enabling
the participants to continue sharing the heritage of their lives, interests and the local area.
• One of the group’s members has been inspired by the digital aspect of the project and now hopes
to work with FC United’s youth squad to develop better digital skills for the future.
• The Sporting Memories Foundation will share their national work at the Manchester Histories
Festival 2018 Celebration Day.

Outcomes Met
The codes below refer to the outcomes listed in full in the Planned Outcomes section on page 10
Outcomes for Heritage H3 H4 H5
Outcomes for People P1

www.sallyfort.com 25
PROJECT DESCRIPTION: M13 YOUTH PROJECT

“I’ve learned a lot about books and the handling of archive books. I’ve learned about the
resources at the Central Library more than anything. I really didn’t realise it’s as good as it is,
it’s a hidden gem.” M13 participant

About the Group
M13 work with over 600 young people a year in the Ardwick area of Manchester to promote fun, learning,
action and change within young people, their workers and the communities in which they live and work.
Coming from an inclusive Christian value-base and using the principles and practices of informal education
and community development, M13 Youth Project spends time out on the streets in their community,
meeting, listening to and talking with young people. They also engage young people in trips, projects,
workshops, learning, volunteering as well as community action. M13 Youth Project have been running since
1995, and during that time their community focus within the same geographic area has enabled them to
develop a deep understanding of the community where they live and work. They have changed lives by
working with generations of the same family; have brought together people from different backgrounds to
share a common identity and supported communities through periods of change. M13 Youth Project feels
that prejudice prevents these young people from telling the stories of how of how they love, think, create,
reflect, enjoy, achieve and make a positive difference to their world.
http://www.m13youthproject.org.uk/

Activity & Histories
The way M13 works means young people can come and go at any stage, so regular participation is more
complex most other groups. The group had created an organisational timeline prior to this project, so
rather than repeat that work, youth workers and young people identified the organisation’s mission and
values as the themes around which the project would be structured. Photographs, interviews and examples
of how past projects deliver on M13’s values form the main body of the archive content produced. Young
people fed into the interviews, and two of the participants supported the development of their history
alongside their key youth support worker, who brought the story to life through a multi-media mix of
images, collages, videos and text.

Legacy
“Keeping historical records gives people from now and the future a glimpse into
understanding how life was back then. Maybe in 100 years’ time people will look at the history
and great stuff M13 have done.” M13 participant
Manchester Histories have already involved M13 in other activity by brokering a relationship with
University of Manchester (a governing stakeholder in Manchester Histories). As a result, M13 will take part
in a video project, training young people to develop film-making skills. They like video as a method to
engage and share their work and commented on the need for film-making training which could have
improve the engagement of young people in the Hidden Histories project. They already have good film-
making and editing equipment but lack the skills to put it to good use. Their new project will involve a
week-long residency with a film maker and archivist, learning skills to make a film articulating thoughts
about their area of Manchester.

Outcomes Met
The codes below refer to the outcomes listed in full in the Planned Outcomes section on page 10
Outcomes for Heritage H3 H4 H5
Outcomes for People P6
Outcomes for Communities C1

www.sallyfort.com 26
OUTPUTS

Six hidden history groups from across Manchester and Greater Manchester communities;
two pre-identified; four newly discovered. At least one to be from a Greater Manchester
borough outside of Manchester; one engaging young people from culturally diverse
communities
MOSTLY ACHIEVED: Five groups saw their project through to fruition. A sixth group had started the
development of a project early in 2016 but changes to their circumstances prevented this from being
continued. (See the Hidden Historians, Gorton Drama & History Group section, page 28, for further
information).
Of the five groups who did complete the project; Oldham Youth Council are based outside of Manchester
in the Greater Manchester borough of Oldham; and both Oldham Youth Council and M13 involved young
people from culturally diverse communities.

Showcase of all new history or heritage content produced, to be deposited and shared at
Archives+
ACHIEVED: All the work produced as part of these projects was deposited in high quality versions, with
appropriate permissions, at Archives+ in November 2017.

Two groups ready to apply for follow-on Heritage Lottery Fund grants by the end of this
project
ACHIEVED: Oldham Youth Council are keen to complete an application to establish their own archive
based on their experiences of this project. M13 have already been working with University of Manchester
and secured funding for another project, as a result of their involvement in Hidden Histories. All the groups
have also been invited to take part in the Heritage Lottery Funded Manchester Histories 2019 Peterloo
Project.

PARTICIPANTS
28 participants from across the groups provided monitoring data (collected anonymously and separate to
all other information). Figures are rounded to the nearest full percentage. They show:
• 25% have not taken part in heritage or history activity before
• 32% aged 11-19 (4% 11-14. 12% 15-16. 16% 17-19)
• 36% aged 20-59 (8% 20-29. 4% 30-39. 12% 40-49. 12% 50-59)
• 44% aged 60+ (16% 60-69. 24% 70-79. 4% 80+)
• 54% male; 46% female; 0% non-binary genders
• 36% are living with a long-term physical, mental or developmental disability, impairment or illness which
impacts on every-day life
• 56% are studying, 38% are retired and 6% are in
paid employment (0% are self-employed, full time
carers, stay at home partner / spouse or
volunteers)
• 63% White British; 7% Black or Black British; 15%
Asian or Asian British; 7% Mixed or multiple ethnic
background; 2% Other ethnicities (White Irish)
• 44% Manchester residents; 44% Oldham residents;
12% Trafford residents; 0% from other Greater
Manchester boroughs or elsewhere
• 25% have lived in or around Manchester for over
40 years; 13% for 20-40 years; 56% for 10-20
years; 6% elsewhere
Map of participant residential postcodes

www.sallyfort.com 27
HIDDEN HISTORIANS

THE HISTORIANS

• Martin Gittins set up a local history group in Cheetham which had built up 16 regular members.
However, it had no single lead and as a result its focus was falling away. He wanted support to help
refocus a clear direction, and ensure it felt like a sociable space as well as an informative one. Martin
received 5 support sessions in the spring of 2016.

• Amanda Peacock, Brian Selby and Frank Rhodes were in the early stages of re-establishing the Gorton
Drama & History Group. Amanda is a drama practitioner, while Brian and Frank have assembled a
private collection of history about the Belle Vue Showground (circus, zoo, speedway racing, dance halls
and more). The group received 9 support sessions between January and December 2016.

• Alex Cropper is a curator at Manchester Jewish Museum. He was in touch with a group interested in
local history in Crumpsall and wanted to find a way to involve them in consultation around plans to
extend and develop the museum. Alex received 2 support sessions in February and March of 2016.

• Other individual hidden histories supported were:
o David Lees from Middleton History Research Network, in January 2016.
o Nigel Barlow, social historian and writer, received a meeting in March 2016.
o Phil Barton and Elaine Bishop, from Shuster Road & Park Range Residents Association, in March
2016.
o Volunteer Kate Williams, supported in two sessions throughout January 2017.
o Archive freelancer Jane Donaldson, who received a support session in spring 2017.
o Andy Cheshire, co-ordinator at FC United, received two support sessions in March 2017 .

OUTPUTS
Up to ten researcher / historians offered five x 1.5 hour sessions each
As described above,12 individuals received bespoke support from the Manchester Histories team over a
total of 24 sessions.

ACTIVITY & OUTCOMES
Surgery sessions for up to ten individual historians will help them build their skills and
signpost them to relevant training
• Martin’s support sessions aimed to clarify the vision for the group and develop a clear plan, actions and
parameters for the group moving forward. As a result of the sessions, Martin was introduced to Alex
and his local interest group at Manchester Jewish Museum, to look at opportunities to work together.
• Amanda wanted to develop a promenade theatre piece exploring Gorton life and history. She was
especially interested in involving young people, and helping them discover how to find out about the
history of their area. Along with Frank and Brian, the group wanted support to bring all the ideas and
people involved together in a cohesive way to plan a project which would establish the group more
solidly and help them apply for funding. However, in the last months of 2016, Amanda’s situation
changed as she took up new paid employment which left her little time to develop other projects. Frank
and Brian, as historians prioritising the development and care of their collection, but with no drama
background, felt they were unable to carry on project plans for the time being.
• As a result of Alex’s sessions, he was able to make contact with Martin’s group in nearby Cheetham to
explore the potential for joint partnership working. The group are now embedded into the museum’s
programme as part of engagement plans working towards new museum activity, as this webpage shows:
http://www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com/cheethampanorama/ .

www.sallyfort.com 28
• David Lees received advice and signposting about how his group could benefit from Manchester
Histories events and support.
• Nigel Barlow, social historian and writer, also received advice and signposting to help support an event
for possible inclusion in the Manchester Histories Festival.
• Phil Barton and Elaine Bishop, were helped in their thinking about a funding application for a Community
Portrait project exploring the many social themes within the lives of local individuals.
• Kate Williams was helped to make connections with organisations in heritage, arts, cultural and
community sectors.
• Jane Donaldson received support about developing infrastructure to further her career in the heritage
and history sector around Greater Manchester. She is now a project manager for Tameside Archives.
• Andy Cheshire, was supported to help develop FC United’s own Heritage Lottery Fund grant
application.

Attitudes to non-professional historians (typically referred to as amateur or community
historians, with a negative implication), will be changed by providing a platform and showcase
for their specialisms and work throughout the project
With the changes to the Manchester Histories team and periods of inactivity as a result, the potential
legacy of working with the individual historians had to make way for prioritising the community group
projects, which were late in starting for the same reasons. It has therefore not been possible to take the
support further in terms of enabling oral histories or community exhibitions, and so the attitudes to their
roles as historian cannot be gauged. However, some did take part in the Manchester Histories Festival
2016, and the 2018 festival is starting to be planned, providing further opportunities for their involvement.

The new models of working will explore how people engage with histories and heritage, for
example through drama, providing an enjoyable experience that leads to a desire to get more
involved
As outlined above, the Gorton Drama & History Group were in the planning processes to set up a project
which would test out using outdoor promenade drama as a tool to engage young people in exploring their
local history. Though this project ultimately was not realised, the Manchester People First group did test
out using drama to help engage people in unlocking hidden histories, as described in the previous Hidden
Histories section on page 15.

www.sallyfort.com 29
TRAINING & TOOLKITS

ACTIVITY
1118 people attended the following 9 workshops:

• 16 people at two Archives+ Archive Research workshops as part of Manchester Histories Festival
2016, run by Dave Govier (Heritage Collections Manager at Archives+ and Oral History Archivist
at the British Library).
• 15 people at the Managing Your Own Archive workshop, run by Heather Roberts, Project
Archivist for Hidden Histories Hidden Historians and Heritage and Archives Consultant working
with organisations including the Royal Northern College of Music, Canal & River Trust and The
People’s History Museum.
• 29 people at two workshops on gathering Oral Histories, run by Dr. Fiona Cosson (modern Britain
social historian, editor for the Oral History Journal, and Trustee of the Oral History Society).
• 30 people at two workshops on Historical Research, led Dr. Ben Wilcock, lecturer at universities
in Manchester and Lancaster, and Associate Researcher with the National Trust’s Quarry Bank Mill.
• 28 people attending two workshops on Evaluating Projects (one beginners session, one
intermediate), by Sally Fort, Independent Culture and Impact Consultant and qualified Social Return
on Investment / Social Value evaluator. Sally works with organisations including Manchester
Histories; universities across Manchester, London, Liverpool, Leeds and Lancaster; Heritage
Lottery Fund; and community groups, charities, museums, galleries, libraries and archives across the
country.

Four toolkits were commissioned to accompany the training, acting as a reminder for those attending the
sessions, but also aiming to reach a wider audience, through online downloads. The toolkits were written
by the workshop trainers, to ensure consistent advice and maximise on the advice able to be offered from
experts in their respective fields. A panel of community representatives also advised on the toolkit
development, reviewing first drafts and offering suggestions and feedback to ensure the resources were as
accessible and well-pitched as possible.

OUTPUTS
Sixteen workshops (eight topics x two workshops). Average twelve trainees each. Total 192
trainees
PARTLY ACHIEVED: As described above, 118 people attended 9 workshops, across 5 different topics. An
average of 13 people attended each workshop. Totals are lower than the original plan due to the staff
changeovers leading to some periods of inactivity. By the time new staff had begun to re-establish the
programme, some trainers had moved onto other commitments, or there was not enough time to begin
planning for new trainers or workshop themes. As a result, workshops on community curating and digital
heritage are as yet undeveloped and did not form part of this programme. In addition, moving workshops
to a more accessible venue incurred extra costs, and a greater number of sessions could not have been
accommodated. As a result, the themes aligning with the toolkits were prioritised. Interestingly, demand for
the workshops was much higher than anticipated. Places booked up quickly with no sessions needing to be
cancelled. If staff changes had not affected the momentum of the project, the indications are that filling
sixteen workshops would have been very achievable.

1 For the Workshop Trainee section, 87 people completed feedback forms. Feedback was spread relatively
evenly across all the workshops except the three archives sessions, where feedback was not collected. The
following information is taken from this feedback, and from observations sheets completed by staff and
volunteers at each event. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole unit and are based on only those
who answered the question (though in all cases this was over half the total participant population; and in
most cases between 70-80% of attendees). Charts are provided in the appendix.

www.sallyfort.com 30
One community toolkit with four individual themes included. Ten downloads per topic by
during project; fifty per topic within twelve months of launch
ACHIEVED: Four toolkits, all designed to be used as part one series, were produced. The themes of each,
with their download numbers by the end of the project were:
• Creating Your Own Archive – 394 downloads.
• Doing Your Oral History Project – 885 downloads.
• Doing Your Historical Research Project – 736 downloads.
• Evaluating Your Project – 271 downloads.

TRAINING ATTENDEES
• 64% came specifically because of the heritage focus. All others were motivated specifically by the
skills and learning on offer around a specific topic. This was especially true for the evaluation
workshops, though this also applied to the historical research (and to a lesser extent the oral
histories) sessions.
• 80% were female, 20% male, 0% non-binary genders.
• 13% have a disability, illness or impairment which affects daily life.
• 31% are in paid employment, 26% are retired, 23% self-employed, 6% are students, 5% volunteers,
3% are unemployed. 5% said ‘other’ and this included looking for full time work, being semi-retired,
and being a researcher.
• 73% were White British, 6% White other, 3% of mixed ethnicities, 1% Black British. 17% were
‘other’ ethnicities – mostly British or English, and with individual instances of Black Latin /
Caribbean, White European, European, and
Jewish.
• 26% have lived in or around Manchester for
over 40 years; 26% for 20-40 years, 14% for
10-20 years, 5% for 5-10 years, 13% for 2-5
years, and 8% for under a year. 7% don’t live
in or around Manchester.
• Workshop trainees came mostly from the
Greater Manchester area (especially South
and North West areas). Individuals also
attended from W. Yorkshire, Cheshire,
Leeds and London. A full postcode list is
provided in the Appendix.

OUTCOMES

Training sessions will help improve how histories and heritage are explained by individuals
and communities, leading to improved abilities and ultimately, higher quality, more audience
friendly presentation.
Training will lead to presentation of histories / heritage through a community exhibition,
narrative archive or presentation of oral histories.
MOSTLY ACHIEVED. Most of this outcome has been achieved with trainees clearly demonstrating
improved abilities, a higher quality approach and a strong intention to transfer new skills to their everyday
professional and personal practice. Many spoke of how the training will influence research projects, oral
histories, and projects currently being planned. However, because the hidden history community groups
were not attendees of the training, and because the trainees have yet to put their new skills into practice,
there are no exhibitions, archives or oral histories produced as yet which could be used to explore how
effective the training has been in practice. There is no reason to assume this shouldn’t, in time, produce
more audience friendly presentations, though it is too early to expect any evidence of this.

www.sallyfort.com 31
All attendees demonstrated significant increases in skills, learning and knowledge.
They were asked to self-rate abilities out of 10 before and after workshops, with the following results:
• New practical skills generally – up 87% from 4.7 to 7.3.
• Knowledge of the place, people and area – up 18% from 5.3 to 6.6.
• Better knowledge of new places to research heritage – up 36% from 5.3 to 7.2.
• Carrying out historical research – up 50% from 4.8 to 7.2.
o In the historical research workshops specifically, there was 60% increase, from 5 to 8
points.
• Carrying out oral history interviews – up 43% from 3.6 to 6.4.
o In the oral history workshops specifically, there was a 60% increase, from 5 to 8 points.
• Evaluating projects – up 53% from 4.7 to 7.2.
o In the evaluation workshops specifically, the increase was 60%, from 5 to 8 points.
• Other learning – though only a handful of people talked about other learning, for them the increase
was dramatic, with average scores going from 2.8 to 8.2, an increase of 192%. Specific techniques
for oral history and evaluation mainly influenced this, but confidence and determination to put the
learning into practice also featured.

Attendees were asked how they would use the training going forward, and the indications are that
eventually the training will influence work which be shared with a wider public. Their comments are
provided in full in the appendix. A summary breakdown is as follows:

Better quality practice in general: 25 comments
• Putting tools into practice – 9 comments.
• Improving professional practice – 5 comments.
• Using evaluation to improve practice – 3 comments.
• Sharing skills with others – 3 comments.
• General improvement – 3 comments.
• Improving voluntary or leisure practice – 2 comments.
Better quality research: 15 comments
• Being more focused – 4 comments.
• Better quality oral history practice – 4 comments.
• New research interests (all related to Manchester history) – 3 comments.
• Better research skills for publications – 1 comment.
• Better research in general – 3 comments.
Better quality evaluation: 11 comments
• General improvement – 4 comments.
• Better evaluation across the organisation – 2 comments.
• Better quality evaluation reports – 2 comments.
• Better evaluation planning for future activity – 3 comments.
Better quality planning: 11 comments
• Improved project planning – 6 comments.
• General improvements in planning – 3 comments.
• Producing stronger funding applications – 2 comments.
Improved confidence: 9 comments
• Confidence to stop thinking and make a real start – 4 comments.
• Increased confidence about evaluation – 2 comments.
• Increased confidence about local research – 2 comments.
• Increased confidence as a result of knowing about established tools / models – 1 comment.

www.sallyfort.com 32
Gaining new skills and learning in this project must be engaging and fun so that people feel
properly supported, welcomed and can enjoy the process
FULLY ACHIEVED: Attendees were asked to rate and comment on the facilities and conditions provided
through the workshops, partly to help continually improve programme delivery, and partly to understand
how enjoyable, engaging and fun the workshops had been. They were asked to score the workshops out of
10 across a range of categories, all of which scored 7.7 or above, presented from highest to lowest below.
A full graph of scores is also available in the appendix.
9.5 Booking and confirmation 8.9 Accessibility
9.2 Approachability of staff / trainer 8.7 Format and style of workshop
9.1 Relevance 8.6 Venue
9 Enjoyment 8.2 Catering
9 Being pitched at the right level 7.7 Making new contacts

Attendees gave further feedback about their scores. Comments are provided in the appendix. What makes
the most difference to the success of a session was having an insightful trainer with direct practical industry
experience. Whilst theory, tools and models were also very much appreciated, the ability to give real life
examples and relate the theory to the full diversity of people and organisations in the room made a big
difference. Attendees felt trainers had pitched the workshops especially well, ensuring people felt confident
with the basics, had the knowledge and tools to put into practice, and felt confident enough to make a start
or improve their existing practice.

Of the six groups, ten individuals and workshop participants we aim to work with, many will
be engaging for the first time with heritage.
ACHIEVED: 11% had not been to any history or heritage events of any kind before. To their knowledge,
30% had not been to other Heritage Lottery Fund events and 41% were new to Manchester Histories
events.

FEEDBACK IN ATTENDEES’ OWN WORDS
“Felt very welcomed. Nice atmosphere. I made a new contact and thoroughly enjoyed the training. Leaving
with very practical skills and good advice.”
“This was a very informative evening. Ben communicated his passion and enthusiasm and made the subject
more approachable. Thank you.”
“A great day most useful skillfully organised and delivered a master class.”
“I appreciated the trainer [made sure] I understood what she was delivering in the context of my project.”
“Made me consider approaches/issues I never thought about. Much more interesting and engaging than I
had anticipated.”
“Appreciated time to discuss and work through things even in a short session. I felt in very safe hands with
Sally, and as a newcomer to Manchester felt very welcomed by Karen highlighting other events and
opportunities to meet people and find out about local heritage.”
“Excellent, transferable knowledge and skills. Clear. High Quality - convincing and professional.”
“A great speaker with lots of patience. I thought it was pitched at the correct level for the attendees.”
“Such a high-quality course. Incredible content and leads to good practical websites.”
“Excellent, helpful, extremely interesting. Being free makes them accessible and inclusive to all.”
“I would like to express my appreciation to everyone for putting on a workshop for free that offers this
precious first-hand experience from a practitioner.”
“The workshop was accessible and the trainer really good at explaining what I thought might be
complicated concepts.”
“Fiona was a brilliant and engaging trainer and handled the group brilliantly, kept the day moving and had
great ways to put ideas over to us.”
“The training was really comprehensive and covered lots of different issues. I do really feel that I could
confidently conduct interviews now. The ethical implications were really useful.”

www.sallyfort.com 33
HIDDEN HISTORIES NETWORK

ACTIVITY
• 224 people attended 4 network meetings (2 in 2016, 2 in 2017).
• March 2016 - The first Hidden Histories Hidden Historians network event was held at Chetham’s
Library, for 91 attendees. This event provided an informal opportunity to mix with other history
and heritage individuals, groups and organisations, and feed into how plans for network events
should be for the future.
• June 2016 - Held at Manchester Central Library. The meeting included some structured networking
to ensure people made new contacts and heard about histories and projects they may not have
previously known. A presentation was also given about the research and display resources available
at Archives+ for groups and organisations to use in their own activity. Informal networking
continued as attendees were invited to visit historic pubs in the area following the formal meeting.
43 attendees came to this network event.
• August 2017 - Held in and around The Danny, a restored 100 year old steamboat specially docked
for this event at the Salford / Trafford Quays. As well as a tour of the Quays and some of its
historic places and stories, attendees took part in a meeting to help shape the vision of the next
Manchester Histories Festival and share news about their own work. 55 people attended this
event.
• November 2017 - Held at the Etihad Stadium (home to Manchester City Football Club - MCFC) for
35 attendees who joined a tour of the stadium, heard talks from MCFC’s archivist, and found out
about The Bradford Pit Project, a heritage project commemorating the pit and its miners, which
occupied the MCFC site before the stadium was developed. The meeting also began to formalise
plans to sustain the network beyond the Hidden Histories project and discuss how the network
could help steer the future of the Manchester Histories Festival. The event ended with a
networking lunch.

NETWORK PARTICIPANTS
Demographic data about network participants is limited. Some 66 people provided some data at one of the
four events. Other demographic data was only provided by 11 people across two events. Information about
the roles and organisations of attendees was collected at three of the four events, though only a small
number of people at each gave these details. As such these results can only provide a snapshot of the
people who came and the kinds of experiences they reflected on in the network. They are not
representative of the attendees as a whole. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole unit.
• 40% of attendees were male, 60% female, 0% were from non-binary genders.
• 91% were White British; 9% Asian or Asian British.
• 9% had a disability, illness or impairment that affects daily life.
• 45% were retired, 27% in paid employment, 9% self-
employed, 9%volunteer, 9% in more than one occupation.
• 45% have lived in Manchester over 40 years, 28% for 20-40
years, and 9% each for 10-20 years, 5-10 years and 2-5
years.
• Almost all network participants monitored came from
central or South Manchester, or the boroughs and counties
closest to South Manchester (Salford, Trafford, Cheshire)
showing that this audience is especially local, more so than
some of the other project strands. This could be skewed
by the venue, as postcodes were collected at an event in
the Salford / Trafford Quays / Media City area, to the
South West of the city centre.* Network Participant Postcodes

www.sallyfort.com 34
At the two network meetings in 2016, 81 participants gave their motivation for attending, and 61
participants provided detail about the organisation they represent. Their reasons for attending were:
• 43% general networking.
• 19% networking around a specific historical interest (Women’s heritage being most popular,
followed by Manchester’s industrial heritage, Medieval Manchester, World War I and Manchester
Photographers. Other individual interests were mental health, Manchester’s social history,
Manchester archaeology, music heritage, and oral histories).
• 12% meeting other local historians.
• 9% development for forthcoming projects (including finding out about funding, consulting with
others, looking for project partners).
• 9% promotion (of events and services).
• 4% for volunteering, either to meet or other volunteers or find out about volunteering
opportunities.
• 4% looking to meet other community groups and charities.
• 2% to find out about formal research being carried out (i.e. academic or professional).
• 1% looking to meet potential employers.

Totals slightly exceed 100% as a small number of participants gave two reasons for attending.

OUTPUTS

Seven quarterly network events over the project’s two years; with at least 25 groups
represented and five individuals per event, and at least ten new groups attending by the
project’s end
MOSTLY ACHIEVED: Four network events took place rather than seven, due to the period of inactivity
because of staff changes. The targets were met within the four events in terms of how many people, groups
and new attenders were successfully attracted.
• Four network events took place, with 224 attendees across the sessions, averaging 56 attendees
per event.
• Full details of each individual and organisation were not provided in every instance, but the data
available shows at least 46 different groups / organisations represented across three of the four
events; an average of 15 per event. Many individuals did not provide this information so true totals
and averages could be much higher.
• 39 organisations and groups listed were first time attenders of the network.
• 166 different individuals attended across three of the four events. 76 people did not give the name
of a group or organisation, averaging 25 people per session. It is unlikely all were individual
historians / researchers not associated with a group or organisation; but it is easily possible that out
of the 76, 20 could be independent attendees.
• 81% of people were first time attenders of the network.

Establishment of a new network of groups interested in heritage and history, to share peer
learning, and avoid duplication. The network should be self-directed at the end of the project
though Manchester Histories will continue to enable its progression.
ACHIEVED: The network is now set to continue as the Manchester Histories team have facilitated the
move from produced events to a self / peer managed network and programme, with the first event having
been planned.

www.sallyfort.com 35
OUTCOMES

A newly established network will enable skills sharing and mutual support between peers
ACHIEVED: As described above, the network is now emerging into self-led status with shared
responsibility across the members.

Gaining new skills and learning in this project must be engaging and fun so that people feel
properly supported, welcomed and can enjoy the process
PROBABLY ACHIEVED: Only a very small sample of information on this area was provided, but those who
did were very positive, with enjoyment being the joint highest scoring aspect of the latter two networking
events; and attendees describing these as excellent, enjoyable, informative and fun.
This small handful of attendees also provided a snapshot of the learning taking place, with increases in skills
and knowledge as follows (scored out of 10):
• 72% increase in knowing the local area, its heritage and people (from 4.5 to 7.8 points).
• 55% increase in knowing about new places to research heritage (from 4.9 to 7.6 points).
• 17% increase in how to evaluate activity (from 6 to 7 points).
• 14% increase in new practical skills (increase from 7 to 8 points).
• 12% increase in carrying out oral history interviews (from 4.3 to 4.8 point).
• 9% increase in how to carry out historical research (increase from 5.5 to 6 points).

THE NETWORK IN PARTICIPANTS’ OWN WORDS

“Excellent event - congratulations to all involved.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
“Inspiring, informative and fun.”
“Great to meet people who are passionate about local history (enthusiastic 'amateurs' and representatives
from local organisations), I'm sure there will be opportunities to work with them.”
“It informed me about new places to visit and to think about other less obvious places.”
“I will chase up some of the connections I made.”
“It was an excellent day, great venue, well prepared and well delivered.”
“A great venue that inspired ideas and encouraged networking.”
“My knowledge of the Ship canal's history and development was doubled by the walk with the exceptional
guide.”
“Learnt that MCFC have an Archivist and about her role.”
“Really informative event. Loved every minute!”

www.sallyfort.com 36
PROJECT AUDIENCES

ACTIVITY

2 Exhibition tours at Archives+
A group of 20 visitors as part of University of the Third Age
A group of 6 visitors taking part in Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Thank you’ campaign opening out HLF funded
work to the public

OUTPUTS

Showcase of all new history or heritage content produced, to be deposited and shared at
Archives+
ACHIEVED: Each of the groups’ histories were shared at Archives+ in an exhibition for three months from
November 2017 to January 2018. An estimated 264,700 visitors minimum accessed the displays during that
time.
• A curved wall located at the heart of the ground floor displayed a summary of each group and their
project. Archives+ estimates approximately 264,700 visitors to this display during the three months
of the exhibition.
• The vast Virtual Archive Wall Display at the entrance of Archives+ showed highlights of the stories.
Archives+ estimate around 400 visitors will have seen the story highlighted there.
• The histories in their full detail were shared on the Stories digital display screen, an interactive
monitor in the Manchester Communities area of the archive.
Archives+ recorded a minimum 703 views of the Stories screen during this timeframe.
• The exhibition launch event attracted 70 visitors, including 50 project participants and staff, and 20
guests.
• Two tours were given of the exhibitions by Manchester Histories staff; one to a University of the
Third Age group (20 people) and one to lottery ticket buyers (6 people) as part of Heritage Lottery
Fund’s ‘Thank You’ campaign.
• In addition, snippets of the project and the histories of the groups have been shared on the
Manchester Histories blog, throughout the project -
https://manchesterhistories.co.uk/blog/tag/hidden-histories-hidden-historians .

OUTCOMES

Training sessions and toolkits will help improve how histories and heritage are explained by
individuals and communities, leading to improved abilities and ultimately, higher quality,
more audience friendly presentation. They will lead to presentation of histories / heritage
through a community exhibition, narrative archive or presentation of oral histories
NOTE YET ACHIEVED: As with the training sessions, toolkits have been popular and will hopefully lead to
higher quality more audience friendly presentations of history and heritage in the future. However, these
have not fed into the work of the community groups, so it is too early to evaluate the impact of their
engagement with audiences at this stage.

www.sallyfort.com 37
Community groups will be supported to showcase their own histories with a wider
community.
Archives and oral histories will help groups record and preserve their histories which will be
made available to researchers, academics and historians.
Community groups selected will include people not traditionally involve with heritage and /
or share their work with others not normally involved with heritage.
Attitudes to areas of Greater Manchester will be changed by revealing the historical
importance of their locations for the people who live there.
MOSTLY ACHIEVED: the five community groups involved have shared their work at Archives+ and the
content of their research is now part of the permanent Manchester people archive held by Archives+
available to all in Manchester Central Library. Audience numbers have already been extensive, though no
demographic information is available to be able to understand to what extent these audiences are new to
heritage. However at the exhibition launch event, where the groups were able to invite friends and family,
many guests confirmed they had either not visited the building before, had not visited in the past few years
since the archive and library had been redeveloped and re-opened, and / or had not explored the
Manchester People area where the group histories are now stored and shared. Archives+ regularly work
with communities not traditionally represented in history, so over time, the number of people accessing the
hidden histories can be expected to increase significantly.

IN AUDIENCES’ OWN WORDS

“It’s important the stories are shared here, so that everybody can see, to give a lasting memory. Unless
you’ve got someone with special needs you’re probably not aware of Manchester People First. And it’ll
mean a lot to the people who use Manchester People First, of course, they’ll feel proud of having it here.”
“Lou passed away fairly early on into the project. We keep laughing at that picture of her here. There’s
quite a few of us here today and some more of us are going to come and have a look during the week. She
always wanted to be famous – she is now! We like to know she’s here forever for everyone to see, that’s
what we want. She’d love this.”
“I’ve never been here before this project. I think it shows the community and the areas that are missed out
and not publicised, I think it’s nice to have a little bit of importance in the library, so people know who we
are and what we do. I think having our work here will encourage more people to come to the library. Since
we’ve been doing this a lot of our young people have asked more about the Central Library. It’s good for
showing who we are and people will be able to come and look at our stories and get to know us. And
maybe even venture out to come and see us if they want, young people who maybe don’t where we are
around their area.”

www.sallyfort.com 38
ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The project also intended to build Manchester Histories’ ability to operate and support the heritage and
histories of the area more effectively, creating additional capacity, resources and business models. As well
as identifying to what extent those plans were achieved, this section also includes organisational learning for
future work, based on what has worked well or been challenging throughout the Hidden Histories Hidden
Historians project.

OUTPUTS
Fifteen volunteers providing 74 days’ worth of support
PARTLY ACHIEVED: 19 volunteers provided a combined total of 100 hours of support over 11 events.
The main factor impacting on fully achieving this aim was the cancellation of the 2017 Manchester Histories
Festival, which would have created a huge platform for large numbers of volunteers and their days of
support, which this project was planned to feed into. Further detail is given in the Lessons Learned section
that follows.

Professional photographs, the evaluation report and any items produced as part of the
project delivery added to a new Manchester Histories archive at Archives+ for researchers in
the future.
Professional photographs available on Manchester Histories website gallery, social media and
available to participating groups for use in their own promotional materials.
MOSTLY ACHIEVED: Professional Photographer Joel Fildes documented workshops sessions, Archives+
tours and other selected events throughout the project. Some images have been included in the toolkits,
others on the project blog posts, some have been included as part of the histories deposited and shared at
Archives+
A gallery of images on the Manchester Histories website has not yet been created, however Manchester
Histories do have the full series of images saved at high and lower resolutions for future use.

Pop-up banners to be used at Manchester Histories community and training events
ACHIEVED: Two banners have been created and used at all training workshops, network events, and other
events such as the exhibition launch day at Archives+

One full time project manager post, sustained beyond the lifetime of this project
PARTLY ACHIEVED: The Community Engagement Manager role is continuing on a short term project-by-
project basis. The sustainability of the post is yet to be identified.

www.sallyfort.com 39
OUTCOMES
Training and toolkit developers will be brought together to learn from one another, and with
community groups to develop more enhanced skills for supporting communities
NOT ACHIEVED: This aspect of the programme has not been a priority given the complications and
shifting delivery timescales due to staff changes.
The new models of working will explore how people engage with histories and heritage, for
example through drama, providing an enjoyable experience that leads to a desire to get more
involved.
ACHIEVED: In addition to how drama has played a part in the development of historians and hidden history
groups, thinking about engaging people in this way has led Manchester Histories to develop another large-
scale history engagement project which will utilize drama and other creative practices as the main tools to
engage a wide variety of individuals and groups across the area. Manchester Histories will therefore test
and evaluate this approach alongside historians and communities in a different project throughout 2018-
2019.

Manchester Histories volunteers who are already experienced in skills areas e.g. oral histories
will have the opportunity to support trainers on each of the sessions, or support communities
when they are conducting their own activities. Our voluntary Volunteer Co-ordinator will co-
ordinate this support.
NOT ACHIEVED: Volunteers have supported the delivery of training, network and public events. Because
opportunities for volunteering were more limited than initially planned, and the addition of a Volunteer Co-
Ordinator to the project did not take place, the capacity and context for working with volunteers in more
specialized ways was not available.

At least 37% of Manchester Histories Festival audiences say that they are new to heritage
events demonstrating that it is a suitable platform to showcase hidden histories and heritage
to new audiences. Of the six groups, ten individuals and workshop participants we aim to
work with, we estimate that this will provide a minimum of two hundred and thirty-two
people, many who we already know will be engaging for the first time with heritage.
ACHIEVED: Involving people who are new to heritage and history activity has been a strong success of the
project, particularly through the Hidden History group projects and their audiences at the exhibition
launch, and through some of the training workshops. Although attendees of the network meetings were
not new to history or heritage, since that is the interest that brings them to the event, the vast majority
were new to the network itself.

www.sallyfort.com 40
LESSONS LEARNED

WHAT WORKED WELL?
Hidden Histories
• A skilled, knowledgeable, enthusiastic workshop facilitator makes the world of difference.
• Young people are mesmerized by the specialness of very old books!
• Find out what different skills people have when working with groups and have them share the
workload.
• Projects that tie in with existing bigger priorities and ongoing interests have good staying power and
commitment levels.
• Using a range of media makes it more possible to tell stories, and more accessible for audiences.
• Likewise, having videos transcribed takes time, but makes them much more accessible.
• People are open and willing to try new things, as long as the right help is available.
• Empowering people by asking them to set their own agenda increases enjoyment, enthusiasm, care,
commitment and quality people invest in their activity.
• People will always need multiple sources of information because permissions sometimes won’t be
given for photos, archives have gaps, not everyone wants to tell their story from the past, not
everyone’s family tree is online. But each of these can help fill the gaps of the others.
• Little details go a long way. Personalised cupcakes at the exhibition launch, and certificates for taking
part were very much appreciated.
• Groups enjoyed meeting one another and hearing about the work and histories of the others. Several
said they wish they could have joined together more than once.
Hidden Historians
• Going out to meet historians where they were based helped build trust and give Manchester Histories
a better understanding of the unique circumstances the historians were working in.
• Taking time to keep meeting new people and listen carefully to their aims helped the team provide
appropriate and bespoke support.
• Signposting historians to existing resources, opportunities and projects / programmes helped avoid
duplication and maximise shared working, leading to quicker results for all involved.
• Being open minded about who might get involved and not being prescriptive about who all the
historians would be from the outset helped the team respond to need and allowed breathing space for
word to spread.
Training workshops
• Group sizes of around 15 people per session created a good atmosphere and mix of people, and was
small enough to manage good quality engagement. Most sessions had around 5 people booked who did
not turn up, so over-booking by a few is advisable for future sessions.
• Knowledgeable, friendly, approachable and experienced trainers who could provide theory and tools,
but even more so offer practical examples and real-life insight and case studies across a range of
scenarios were especially valued by attendees. This helped ensure training was well pitched and
attendees achieved or exceeded what they hoped for.
• Trainers who could be flexible, adapting and personalising content in the moment to the range of
people and needs in the room was recognised by attendees and staff as making a difference to the
success of the session.
• Simple, clear practical exercises for attendees to have a go at putting theory into practice helped
increase confidence and understanding, especially when combined with positive feedback.
• Humour was used in all the sessions and this helped break the ice, reduce fears, and bring people
together. Attendees responded very well to an informal style of delivery.
• Offering the sessions for free helped make the training more inclusive and accessible, as explicitly
recognised by attendees. It was further evidenced by who attended, with students, unemployed people
and volunteers learning alongside employed, self-employed and retired professionals.

www.sallyfort.com 41
Network
• Having structured networking opportunities was key to the network events’ success. Participants
commented that the first such event, which was more informal, was enjoyable but hard to meet new
people as there was no facilitation of this, and people tended to migrate to those they already knew,
or organisations of a similar size. This was recognised and addressed in the subsequent sessions.
• Moving the networking events around different venues, not all of which were in the city centre,
enabled a wider variety of people to attend, as shown by the high first-time attendance rates.
Audiences
• Displaying the groups’ hidden histories in a popular central historical research venue with the prestige
of Archive+ and Manchester Central Library. Hosting the work in context of other similar histories
and resources for researchers guarantees a long-term audience, shows the communities in a wider
context, and makes their work available to researchers.
• Having the toolkits available as freely available pdf downloads has been very successful in ensuring their
circulation. The consistent structure, design and layout means other titles can be added in the future
to grow the series.

WHAT WERE THE BARRIERS AND HOW CAN THEY BE OVERCOME?

Hidden Histories
• Community groups have different needs, one delivery model doesn’t work for them all. Instead, having
the same aims, objectives, outcomes, timeframe and budget for each group, but using the resources in
different ways according to different circumstances could help progress things more smoothly and
effectively
• Group projects of this type need more than 4 facilitated workshops. Losing the time for digital training
was a challenge for everyone. This is unlikely to be an issue in future projects as it was the result of an
exceptionally unusual set of staff changes across every post involved in the project
• Assumptions can’t be made about digital technology or digital capabilities. In future project
consultation is needed about what would or would not be possible and desirable
• Exhibition plans seemed to change from time to time as staff changed. This affected morale at times
and created confused assumptions about what the exhibition would actually involve – leading to
disappointment for some. Staff have already identified that site visits and technical specifications need
to be in place early on and reconfirmed from time to time.
• Group selection criteria was created which advised working with already well established groups who
meet regularly. The one instance where this didn’t apply was a much more complicated project. It was
good to have clear selection criteria. In future this should be less of an issue as time to find the right
groups will be less pressured, and hopefully longer lead-in and delivery times means more support
could be made available if needed.
Hidden Historians
• Staff changes meant there was not enough capacity or time to help historians bring to life a project
sharing the histories of their group as originally planned. Supporting that through to fruition could not
be pursued if the community group histories were also to be facilitated. The situation was unavoidable
in this instance. One way to bridge the gap, would be to keep the historians actively involved, ensuring
they received invitations and encouragement to attend the training workshops and network events. In
this way, the original vision of all projects strands feeding into one another, would create a strategic
and phased exit strategy where historians could receive continued support and involvement without
impacting on the capacity of the team.
Training Workshops
• There were mixed feelings about the catering in the training workshops. Some people felt having
refreshments included with the workshop would have been an improvement. Although refreshments
had originally been budgeted for, the project team changed the venue from the initial plans in order to
use a more accessible space. This created a financial trade-off: a free but less accessible venue with
refreshments included was replaced in favour of a more inclusive but costly venue with budget being

www.sallyfort.com 42
used up on venue hire. Relying on the venue’s café meant long waits since it was small with only one
person available to serve. This was noted for all subsequent workshops and alternative arrangements
were made. Most people were appreciative of the venue and the free workshops, and felt that better
communication about the catering arrangements, and more efficient catering delivery, would have solved
the issue.
• There were a few comments about the accessibility of the building; specifically that the acoustics of the
space made it hard for a hearing impaired attendee to fully absorb what the speaker was saying; that the
toilet only seemed to be accessible via stairs; and that in one session, assumptions about attendees
technical abilities were set too high (given the time available to try and use equipment). Access issues (in
their widest definition) can be addressed in promotional and booking information about the event,
providing information about what is needed to be able to take part and asking about specific needs, then
liaising with the venues and trainers accordingly. Links to venue’s own website accessibility pages would
also be useful.
• Despite very clear information about who the workshops were aimed at, a wide range of levels of
expertise attended. The sessions were not intended to support work at an academic level though
academics attended none the less. In some cases, the sessions were clearly not productive for those
attendees, in others whilst their theoretical knowledge may have been strong, they very much valued
the practical insight and opportunities. The experience emphasized how academics and post-graduate
students continue to need support about day to day practice, however strong their theoretical
knowledge may be. Though Manchester Histories already works a lot with local universities, academics,
researchers and students, this highlights a demand for specific practical training which Manchester
Histories may be in a position to offer separately in the future (which may or may not have income
generating potential).
Network
• It is not yet possible for Manchester Histories to step back completely from the management of the
network due to the complexities of the group meeting general data protection regulations and avoid the
complexities of sharing data across a group with no lead organisation. Manchester Histories have
therefore agreed to continue a small level of administration / communications support in order to
comply with these regulations. It may be possible for the group to find ways round this in the future
(such as relying on social media and online groups / communities and booking systems), enabling
Manchester Histories to step back fully should they decide this is appropriate.
Audiences
• The word ‘exhibition’ affected expectations of visitors looking for the groups’ hidden histories displays.
Likewise, finding the content amidst the various stations and other content of Archives+ was reported
as being difficult and confusing for visitors who had come specially to see the work. This can be easily
remedied in future projects by either: creating a physical exhibition of the more traditional type to share
the work (and then depositing digital versions as a permanent legacy) for instance in the downstairs
community exhibition area of Archives+ or in the community exhibition area of People’s History
Museum – or other similar spaces; or by being careful about how communications are worded, and
expectations managed.
Volunteers
• Meeting the volume of volunteer support originally anticipated was dramatically affected by the impact
staff changes had on the Manchester Histories calendar. The 2017 Manchester Histories Festival was
cancelled because gaps between staff made it impossible to deliver. As an example of the difference this
would have made to volunteering opportunities, the 2016 festival relied on almost 500 volunteers
providing over 3,500 hours of support. Volunteer targets set for this project were based on plans for
the festival to go ahead and provide a similar level of cross-over opportunity.

------ END ------

www.sallyfort.com 43