National Trust

Collaboration and interpretation of research at National Trust places to demonstrate academic impact and move, teach and inspire visitors

Working with the National Trust has injected more excitement into being a historian. It has made me work with people that I wouldn’t normally work with, think about things that I wouldn’t normally think about and look at the past and the history that I do in different ways.

Hannah Barker / Professor of British History, The University of Manchester

New discoveries in research are absolutely changing how we present and interpret out spaces.

Ceinwen Paynton / Consultancy Manager, National Trust

While working with the National Trust at Quarry Bank, Professor Hannah Barker from the History department at The University of Manchester saw the impact that academic research had in informing interpretation of a large heritage organisation.

Professor Barker worked with the National Trust’s internal consultancy to develop a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project that would generate tools and guidance to help academics and staff right across the National Trust properties work together for mutual benefit.

Dr Ben Wilcock was appointed as the KTP Associate for this project. He worked to evaluate existing collaborations in the National Trust’s north region, identify ways to develop new partnerships between the organisation and academics, and develop practical guidance to allow this work to be scaled up to the wider organisation.

As a result of ongoing collaborations between the University and the National Trust, new spaces have been interpreted and opened to the public at Quarry Bank and other sites. The new tools and guidance generated by the KTP have resulted in new relationships between National Trust properties and universities across the north.

Dr Wilcock is now employed by the National Trust as their Academic Partnership Manager for the north region, where he is using the tools and framework developed during the KTP to support reinterpretation and new discoveries across the Trust’s portfolio.

As a result of the tools and guidance developed through the KTP, new relationships have been established, leading to joint research and interpretation projects, Collaborative Doctoral Awards, and successful joint-funding bids to UKRI bodies.