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Connecting Yemeni Elders Heritage

The Connecting with Yemeni Elders Heritage project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund Innovation and Engagement scheme January 2021 – June 2022, will support Yemeni communities to share their cultural heritage through the co-curation of digital community collections. Led by National Museums Liverpool (NML), in collaboration with Kuumba Imani Millenium Centre (KIMC) in Liverpool, this intergenerational project will enable young participants to share stories and cultural traditions linked to digitised Yemeni museum collections. This will include access to collections and research from Bath Fashion Museum, Birmingham Museums and the British Museum, and the opportunity to co-curate community-based collections and objects. Community participants, including a paid project coordinator/youth leadership role recruited via KIMC, will work alongside museum professionals to co-produce a bespoke multi-language app package, supported by a Toolkit for museums and young people.

The project aims to:

  • Position itself as a national digital resource on Yemeni cultural heritage for wider UK museum sector, building on established co-production strategies developed throughout the House of Memories dementia awareness programme;
  • Empower members of the KIMC Yemeni youth group to become NML’s first national digital co-curators;
  • Improve intergenerational bonds, health and wellbeing within Liverpool’s Yemeni community;
  • Enhance community identity and pride in Yemeni communities;
  • Shape the aspirations of young Yemeni people to work in museum and heritage sectors;
  • Facilitate active skills development for young Yemeni people linked to project management, digital development and dementia awareness;
  • Share new ways of working between museums and their constituent communities.

Kerry Wilson (ICC Head of Research) has been commissioned to evaluate the project, in collaboration with LJMU colleagues Dr Grahame Smith and Dr Rafaela Ganga (Faculty of Health). Conducted on a formative basis throughout, the evaluation will consider the process, delivery and impact of the project, according to the following research objectives:

  • OB1 – Consider the impact of the programme on intergenerational connectivity in the Yemeni community, and outcomes relating to mental health and wellbeing, pride and community identity;
  • OB2 – Explore the developing relationship between museums and community groups, including experiences of trust, equality and empowerment and their impact on participation and engagement;
  • OB3 – Profile public engagement with the project, including interest in and engagement with Yemeni cultural heritage and museum collections;
  • OB4 – Track the personal and professional developmental experiences of participating young Yemeni people in relation to skills development, confidence, interest in museum and heritage work and occupational aspirations;
  • OB5 – Identify the characteristics of effective collaboration between museums and community groups, including the relationship between contexts, mechanisms and outcomes, using a Realistic Evaluation approach.

Kerry is delighted to be leading the evaluation and continuing her long-term research partnership with NML, following successive evaluation studies on the House of Memories programme (2013- ).

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