Sensing Culture was a partnership project with a wide scope connecting people, ideas and resources, across different sites and heritage organisations. Each partner was encouraged to take different approaches, to introduce new ways to enable people with sight-loss to access their heritage.
The project was led by RNIB who acted as the projecthub; with the key role to provide a link between the project partners and consultants. The main challenge to this was the distance between the partners, and the fact many of the project leads were part time, with other projects needing their attention too.
The hub ran project partner days to encourage cross-project sharing; these helped establish the content of the current project plan, as well as provided access to experts and training in a whole project group setting. The partners took turns to host, and led on delivery at their own venues. As distance and time were key challenges, the partners have managed to draw on expert knowledge and help locally, by developing their own partnerships closer to home. For example, several of the partners established links with their local universities, which has provided access to expertise that would have been missing otherwise.
Working in this way has become a real strength of the project, as it enables sharing, learning and the development of a supportive network of like-minded individuals working to achieve the same goals. Having links with other organisation’s like this has meant that the partners have managed to achieve key outputs to a higher quality. The relationships established provide long term resilience for the output and future development of work for people with sight loss at the partner sites.The partnerships have not only benefited the partners but those they have worked with as well. They have helped to disseminate some of the key learnings from the project further than just the project site, and have also encouraged others to follow a more accessible approach too, which may not have been on their radar before.
“By building collaborations, you are benefitting from the partners expertise and building resources – I really value the partnership we have with Oxford University Museums and it is extremely positive for our service users”
Ellie Pearce: Community Connections Coordinator, Oxfordshire Association for the Blind
- Explore potential partnerships locally, as well as further afield. Look at who is likely to have similar priorities and aims, or who can help you meet your goal.
- When planning projects with a partnership element, allow extra time for partner days or project meetings, including travel if needed.
Don’t underestimate the time it takes to build meaningful partnerships – it won’t happen overnight and you need to remember to consider their goals and not just your own.All case studies