Partners in History 2: connections and collaborations in regional heritage

Lead Research Organisation: University of Hertfordshire
Department Name: Social Sciences Arts and Humanities RI

Abstract

This application to work with All Our Stories (AOS) projects builds on the University of Hertfordshire's commitment to academic-community partnerships in history and heritage. Over the last three years, the University's Heritage Hub (HH) has supported research and development work essentially connected to and shaped by the communities the University serves http://heritagehub.herts.ac.uk/. Phase 1 Connected Communities funding allowed us to expand and accelerate our activities, taking University researchers to museums and community events, and bringing members of local history groups, schools and individual researchers into the University. We are now in a position to consolidate this experience. Through a partnership with AOS groups in Smallford, Sopwell and Wheathampstead, we will explore new ways of doing collaborative research and embedding skills and knowledge across regional and academic communities.

The first strand of activity, a programme of bespoke training and mentoring, has been determined in consultation with the AOS groups. Two early career researchers (ECRs), experts in oral history and archival prospecting, will lead this aspect of the project. With support from the PI, the team will enhance the initial training in oral history for which the AOS groups have already budgeted. In particular they will mentor groups throughout the research process, developing skills (the art of questioning, an ear for the telling story etc) and building confidence. Through partnership with Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) a similar and responsive programme of activities will be provided around archival resources.

The project re-affirms our commitment to break down divisions between researchers inside and outside the University. We believe that the University can play a vital role in connecting projects and research across the region and beyond. Our ambition here is to go beyond a 'local for locals' framework and encourage participants to feel part of an (inter)national endeavour. For that reason we include two further strands of activity, both of which are designed to enrich the AOS groups' research contexts and will also be relevant to AOS projects across the region and beyond it. Digital story-telling (via DigiTales) and digital mapping (via Historypin) can make research into a multi-way, international conversation. Community and University researchers will participate in a genuine process of knowledge exchange, as close to equals as the structures allow, creating new forms of spatial and relational knowledge with public and academic value.

AOS funding has empowered many community heritage groups. The University's HH will provide this project with a channel to share that experience with those who did not apply for AOS funding or whose bids were unsuccessful. Through shadowing and, where appropriate, sharing activities with successful projects, other organisations will gain practical skills and confidence to participate actively in exploring the region's heritage, perhaps developing their own funding applications. Digital storytelling and Historypin are two specific vehicles for exchanging knowledge and building ambitions. Through creating material they will enrich research collaborations and expand the opportunities for participants, including AOS groups, to locate discrete projects in variegated regional and global contexts. Our intention here is to give substance to a notion of communities connected in a shared historical landscape. This stream of the project will also address issues of fragmentation and sustainability beyond the formal life of AOS activities.

The project will create additional AOS outputs, specifically in the form of digital mapping and storytelling, and build capacity, resilience and sustainability. The process will give the ECRs in particular a close insight into working with community groups, while also creating substantial knowledge about local and global histories.

Planned Impact

This project will engage a series of different participants, ranging from the three AOS groups, University researchers and students, to an international audience for the project outputs. Skill-sharing and knowledge exchange will extend beyond the life of the project, directly informing future work by each group, shaping University thinking on community engagement and offering a model for research collaborations.

Through mentoring and training we are advising AOS groups on the best ways to present their material, encouraging them to consider the design, approach and audience of any written outputs in print/digital media. Our plans to introduce the groups to digital storytelling and digital mapping will give their projects an additional digital dimension, reaching audiences beyond the county. Contributions on the NCCPE forum from the PI and ECRs will share outputs with other Connected Communities researchers and AOS groups. Our project, and the skills of the ECRs attached to it, can be rolled out to other AOS projects across the country. Using Historypin to capture the spatial dimensions of the research will encourage participants anywhere in the world to contribute, while DigiTales connects Partners in History 2 with the Museum of the Person in Brazil/Portugal http://www.museudapessoa.net/_index.php/home.

Our project will benefit community groups and researchers in the region who as yet have not considered devising a structured research project or applying for external funding. This added layer of participation will enrich the experience of AOS groups by bringing different contexts and perspectives to their own research; engagement with digital storytelling and mapping will build confidence in those other groups and have an impact in sustaining community research beyond the AOS scheme. Our project will therefore have an impact beyond the chronological and geographical interests of the AOS winners.

In 2013, the University's Heritage Hub website http://heritagehub.herts.ac.uk/ will gain a blogging facility. Progress reports and discussion - contributed by AOS researchers, University researchers and students - will inform heritage organisations and non-academic audiences, encouraging them to engage in AOS events. The Hub's database of regional heritage organisations and researchers will be used to publicise events and outputs and invite participation as appropriate. HALS Making Memories website http://www.hertsmemories.org.uk/ provides another channel to link to projects and demonstrate the processes and benefits of academic-community research.

We have already started to discuss follow-on plans with the Wheathampstead and Smallford groups. A process that fosters research ambition will have an impact on both the groups and their wider communities, leading to new projects and research collaborations. This method of collaborative community research will break down boundaries between the University and the community it serves with implications beyond the immediate remit of this project.

Those students who volunteer on the project will increase their skills and employability through practical work, e.g. oral history interviews, writing or researching, attending monthly 'surgeries' to support the projects, networking and organising events.

Publications

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Green A (2013) Living Heritage: Universities as anchor institutions in sustainable communities in International Journal of Heritage and Sustainable Development

 
Description We discovered the significance of community heritage projects and developed productive ways for academic and public researchers to work alongside one another. Participants invited us to join their activities, giving us access to the concerns and passions of local history groups, in both formal and informal settings. We learnt the importance of recognising the multiple locations of expertise and devised a concept of 'sedimented histories' to capture the significance of sharing information while preserving the integrity of its sources.
Exploitation Route The model of sharing expertise and working alongside one another has implications for academic researchers embarking on collaborative and co-produced research projects. The insights we gained into the dynamics of community heritage groups is relevant to the museums and culture sector, and to anyone counting on community participation in a third-sector project.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL https://academic.oup.com/hwj/article/80/1/234/664999
 
Description The website, Hertfordshire on the Map (Historypin.com) was adopted by Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies (Herts CC) to complement its online community archive, Herts Memories. Working with the three HLF-funded projects has brought us many invitations to work with other groups and to share experiences at regional networking meetings. These relationships are still ongoing in 2019, connecting with work supported by the University's Heritage Hub, and the First World War Engagement Centre. Both the Heritage Hub and the FWW Centre aim to foster collaborations with community and university-based researchers, build confidence and skills, and provide a forum for the distinctive contributions to knowledge emerging from community heritage projects.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description 6th Living Knowledge Conference, Copenhagen 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invitation to participate came from the NCCPE for a panel representing academic and community partners in heritage research. I attended with one of the community partners from the Partners in History 2 project: Jeff Lewis, Smallford Residents' Association.

Interest from the NCCPE in the work we had done on the project. Closer involvement with the community group and word-of-mouth publicity in Hertfordshire about these collaborations. Increasing trust between university and community participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.livingknowledge.org/lk6/about-the-conference/
 
Description Alban Way 150 Anniversary, October 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The University of Hertfordshire hosted an evening of exhibitions and talks to mark the 150th anniversary of the (now disused) branch railway line between Hatfield and St Albans. This was a collaboration with the Smallford Residents' Association (see related entries) and arose directly from a relationship developed through the Connected Communities programme.

Over 90 people attended the event. Speakers included members of the Smallford project team and a UH PhD student.

Sarah Lloyd also attended the Sunday event, travelling along the length of the line and meeting groups who had set up stalls and activities along the way. It was an opportunity to consolidate existing relationships and make new connections with heritage organisations, especially those that might be interested in the work of the FWW Engagement Centre. Several groups emailed her subsequently to arrange meetings to discuss their projects and discover how the University might be involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://smallford.org/celebrating-the-150th-anniversary-of-the-opening-of-the-hatfield-st-albans-rail...
 
Description Community Archives and Heritage Group, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Community Archives and Heritage Group holds an annual conference, with participants drawn from a wide range of heritage and community organisations. Sarah Lloyd & Julie Moore were invited to give a presentation on 15 July 2015 and structured it around 7 lessons for universities working with community partners. The audience, which numbered 130, included a member of one of projects we worked with under the Connected Communities banner. He reported back to the rest of the group, which was a potentially challenging experience. In this case, however, the outcome was to consolidate the partnership.

Feedback from one of the steering group (a county record office Learning and Access Officer) was as follows: 'It was good to see you at the Community Archives conference the other week. I thought your double act with Julie was brilliant. So pleased you managed to fit in lesson 7!'

Although funding finished in 2014, we continue to work with 3 of the 4 All Our Stories groups, supported by the university and on a semi-voluntary basis.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.communityarchives.org.uk/content/news/community-archives-and-heritage-group-cahg-annual-c...
 
Description Community workshops (15 main workshops and meetings) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The project team worked closely with 3 HLF-funded All Our Stories projects in a series of workshops and planning meetings. Workshops and meetings held on: 4.2.13, 21.2.13, 7.3.13, 21.3.13, 30.4.13, 18.5.13, 16.9.13, 19.9.13, 20.11.13, 23.11.13, 9.12.13, 12.2.14, 12.3.14, 13.3.14, 23.4.14. The content was designed in collaboration with the groups to be responsive to their interests and the needs of their projects.

Invitations to participate in project/community events, e.g. launch and concluding exhibitions of all 3 projects. Requests to continue working with the projects after the formal conclusion of the grant; invitations to local networking events; positive feedback in public forums.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description Connected Communities Heritage Network Symposium and Exhibition 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation keynote/invited speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Follow up from participants at other universities who were interested in this model of community engagement.

Discussions on possible cross-institutional collaborations (Loughborough).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Connected Communities Heritage Network symposium (reported by Sarah Lloyd) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd was part of a panel on 'Collaborative Approaches to Heritage: the legacy of WW1'. This was an opportunity to reflect on ways of working with communities and share experience with other practitioners over a range of topics and environments.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Harpenden Recording Memories, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Harpenden Local History Society consulted Sarah Lloyd about the possibilities of running an oral history project. The Committee asked her to come to their AGM to 'inspire' their members. This was a difficult brief, so she invited one of the projects supported through the Connected Communities grant to join her and talk about their experiences in recording memories.

Following on from this, the University supported Harpenden plans to run a WEA training course on local history, although WEA eventually declined to sponsor it. Discussions ongoing.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Hertfordshire local history groups (reported by Sarah Lloyd) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Local history groups have expressed a concern about declining memberships. Sarah Lloyd, representing the University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub held a focus group meeting on 13.7.18 to explore these issues and share experience, with the aim of establishing ideas for good practice that may build support.

This is an ongoing project, building on relationships initially made through the All Our Stories programme.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Hertfordshire on the Map Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Launch publicity reached over 100 local historians with around 25 attending a Historypin workshop on using the site. Ongoing activity.

Participation of groups not initially involved with the project (ie beyond the 4 HLF-funded All Our Stories Groups)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.historypin.com/project/55-hertfordshire-on-the-map/
 
Description Hertfordshire's Hidden Heroines 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact The Everyday Lives in War Centre/University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub worked with Hertfordshire's Hidden Heroines project (HLF funded): in Feb 2016 five undergraduate students ran outreach for the project at the Hatfield Galleria (see separate Researchfish entry for that event). In October 2016, the project displayed exhibition panels at the University of Hertfordshire, including material from the First World War period. The project team ran a related drama and mask workshop with 9 undergraduate students.

We engaged around 100-120 directly though the exhibition, and indirectly the number was closer to 400-500 with posters, plasma screens, social media (twitter), University news items and email circulations. There were a number of students and staff who had expressed interest in the stories, many writing a postcard of their own heroines and signing the guestbook. Overwhelmingly positive responses from those that engaged with the project. There were some responses singling out a particular heroine and questioning why they were included, three individuals questioned Boudica's inclusion in the exhibition - this gave an opportunity to discuss in depth aspects of HHH and the project themes. Following on from the drama workshop there were no less than 3 emails from students who thanked for putting the event on and were keen to find out about more similar activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.hertshiddenheroines.org.uk/
 
Description Historypin workshop and focus group 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Created interest in Historypin as a shared resource.

Increased collaboration with Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies; increased engagement with community history groups e.g. wanting to post information on our website.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL https://www.historypin.org/project/55
 
Description Improving Lives. Enhancing Communities - Watford's Art & Heritage Conference (reported by Sarah Lloyd) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd spoke about the FWW centenary, collaborative research and community expertise at the Improving Lives. Enhancing Communities - Watford's Art & Heritage Conference on 18 June 2018.

Feedback from the organiser was very positive: 'Your presentation was second to none - WELL DONE!!!'.
Participation led to further invitations, including to speak at the LitHouses conference, Knebworth in November 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description LitHouses annual conference (reported by Sarah lloyd) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd and Julie Moore invited to give a talk on 'Interacting with Universities and Colleges', 16.11.18. An opportunity to engage with Literary Houses group -- heritage sites with a literary connection.

Interest expressed in the University of Hertfordshire's Heritage Hub and work of the FWW Centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Local History Network, St Albans, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore was invited to attend the local history network on 17 October 2015. She spoke to attendees on possibility of HLF projects and gave talk on the First World War Engagement Centres. Shared information on Military Tribunals as a source for local history. Invitation came from organiser who was a member of an HLF 'All Our Stories' project (Bringing the History of Smallford Station to Life) with whom Julie Moore and Sarah Lloyd had worked as part of a Connected Communities grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Milton Keynes Study Day, 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd & Janice Turner (University of Hertfordshire Heritage Hub) ran a studyday for volunteers preparing an exhibition for Milton Keynes's 50 anniversary.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.herts.ac.uk/heritage-hub
 
Description NCCPE conference 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd presented a poster, 'Is there anybody there?' at the National Coordinating Council for Public Engagement Conference, 2 December 2015. This stimulated some interesting conversations with delegates from a range of community and academic contexts, plus contributions written onto the poster itself.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/events/engage-conference-2015
 
Description Share Museums East Volunteer Awards, 2015-2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact On the basis of her experience with the Connected Communities project, Sarah Lloyd was invited to join the judging panel for the Share East of England Museums volunteer awards (May/June 2015). She was the one academic member of the panel, with the others drawn from the heritage, voluntary and business sectors. There were 87 submissions in 7 categories.

This was a fascinating experience, enriching my understanding of public history and heritage, especially the changes brought through economic constraints. On an individual level, links made with members of the judging panel proved valuable connections for the First World War Centre, as well as more generally for heritage activity.

I served again as a judge in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016,2017,2018
URL http://sharemuseumseast.org.uk/volunteer-awards-about/
 
Description Smallford Residents' Association History Project (monthly project workshops 2015) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Since the Connected Communities grant finished, Sarah Lloyd & Julie Moore have continued to work with the Smallford Residents' Association on their Bringing Smallford Station to Life project. Their contribution has largely turned on practical support, especially in relation to project management, and confidence building around historical skills. The university hosted monthly meetings across 2015, many of which were focused on plans for the 150 anniversary of the railway line (see separate entry). Workshops regularly attracted 15+ participants, with new members joining until 30+ attended in October 2015. There was a strong research focus to the discussions as new discoveries about the line, the station and local communities came to light (often when new members joined the group and brought experience from other groups/projects with them).

Relationships with this project are very strong and have enabled us to see how a community can coalesce around a shared passion for heritage. The group seems to have adopted the university as its home base, bringing onto campus many people who would not usually spend time there.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://smallford.org/bringing-the-history-of-smallford-station-to-life/
 
Description Smallford Station & Alban Way Heritage Society 2016-18 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sarah Lloyd & Julie Moore have worked with the Smallford Group since 2012 (initially funded by an All Our Stories/Connected Communities project grant -- see Researchfish entry for 2015). They are now active members of the project archive group, contributing to decisions around the development of an online archive. Other project members frequently consult them about broader issues around community history and experience working with similar groups.

The University continues to host monthly meetings of the project team and working sessions of the archive group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL http://www.herts.ac.uk/heritage-hub
 
Description St Albans Local History Network Day (reported by Julie Moore) 2016-17 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore was invited to attend this community event by the organiser with whom she and Professor Sarah Lloyd collaborated on a Connected Communities 'All our Stories' project. Those attending included interested individuals and those representing local interest groups, museums, churches, resident association and youth groups. This was an opportunity to talk about the work of the ELIW Engagement Centre and invite people to consider projects around the Centre's themes. This has become an annual occurance, with opportunities to build relationships with local heritage organisation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017
 
Description Talk at Hatfield Rotary Club, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore was invited to talk to Rotary Club on role of the Everyday Lives in War Centre and in particular the impact of war on local businesses. She introduced the group to the value of the Military Tribunal records and there were many questions on just what they revealed about local businesses. Invitation came from a Rotary member who was Project Leader on an HLF 'All Our Stories' project (History of Wheathampstead High Street) with whom Julie Moore and Sarah Lloyd had worked as part of a Connected Communities grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Talk, Sopwell Residents' Association, 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore was invited by Sopwell Residents' Association to give annual talk to attendees on possible HLF projects that could be pursued as well as the wider work of the First World War Engagement Centres. The invitation came about from a Rotary member who was Project Leader on an HLF 'All Our Stories' project, 'More memories of Sopwell, with whom Dr Julie Moore and Dr Sarah Lloyd had worked as part of a previous Connected Communities grant.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Welwyn Hatfield Heritage Network 2016-18 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore attends monthly meetings of a local heritage network comprised of schools, local government officials, library staff, local history groups and residents associations. Members include project leader of an 'All our Stories' HLF group, with whom Julie Moore and Sarah Lloyd worked as part of the Connected Communities award in 2012.

Following invitation to attend meetings, Moore and Lloyd have been asked to take part in local heritage events. Have kept group up to date with local workshops, projects and events around First World War.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
 
Description Welwyn Hatfield Heritage Network meetings, 2012-15 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Dr Julie Moore attends monthly meetings of a local heritage network comprised of schools, local government officials, library staff, local history groups and residents associations. Members include project leader of an 'All our Stories' HLF group, with whom Julie Moore and Sarah Lloyd worked as part of the Connected Communities award.

Following invitation to attend meetings, Moore and Lloyd have been asked to take part in local heritage events. Have kept group up to date with local workshops, projects and events around First World War.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019
 
Description Whose History is it Anyway? 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation paper presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Conference participation and presentation: 'Sedimented histories: connections and collaborations in regional history'. A longer and revised version ('Sedimented Histories': connections, collaborations & co-production in regional history) was been submitted for consideration by History Workshop Journal in Sept 2014

Contact with the People's History Museum which led to extensive connections for the AHRC-funded FWW public engagement Centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013