Digital Community Workspaces: Delivering Impact through Public Library and Archive networks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: School of Media & Communication

Abstract

The current problems created by the diminishing funding of libraries and museums increasingly limit engagement with communities and inhibits collaborative partnerships. The problem is particularly acute in relation to the use and reuse of digital assets- both at an archival and community level- and this project seeks to provide one solution through the provision of the digital resources created as part of the AHRC funded Pararchive project (www.pararchive.com). Those resources have been branded as YARN (http://yarncommunity.com) and are now freely available. YARN provides a collaborative platform on which communities and public sector organisations can work together to help them establish effective digital community workspaces to deliver a range of co-designed impacts that respond to community needs and institutional aspirations. Thus the aim of this application is to work with a range of communities and public library and archive organisations to help them address a series of difficult self-identified issues relating to local history work, genealogy, co-working, publishing, working with disadvantaged and hard to reach audiences, and the use of 'hidden' or degraded digital resources. The project is based on the desire to build on the unintended consequences of our research and broaden community engagement. Follow-on funding would allow us to do this and act on a range of community requests, develop expanding networks and deliver broad social benefit. We are keen to work with new partners to further disseminate our digital platform and expand its application; to that end we have engaged in conversations with a range of providers about how they might use our resources and have sought to understand the nature of their ongoing problems and digital requirements to determine mutually reinforcing outcomes. Consequently, our focus will be on the development of impact through public networks to produce scalable strategies and demonstrate the value of our tools in a range of public facing contexts.

We have been delighted by the responses to the prototype of YARN and the inclusion of the platform within a number of recently funded research projects and several ongoing applications that have developed in parallel with our own research. For example, YARN has been included on the recently successful Junction Arts HLF JA40 application for community history (http://junctionarts.org/2015/10/ja40/), as part of the AHRC funded Cultural Value Project Digital Tools in the Service of Difficult Heritage: How Recent Research Can Benefit Museums and their Audiences (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/news/article/4365/new_ahrc-funded_project_digital_tools_in_the_service_of_difficult_heritage_how_recent_research_can_benefit_museums_and_their_audiences ) and the British Academy-funded Leeds Voices- Communicating Superdiversity project(http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/20045/leeds_humanities_research_institute/2718/leeds_voices_communicating_superdiversity). The follow-on funding would allow us to develop new collaborative partnerships that will ensure maximum benefits for users and allow them to achieve goals that they would not be in a position to realise for themselves. The four partnerships at the heart of the project allow us to co-develop new impacts directly related to pressing community and institutional need. We want our new partners and user communities to take ownership of the resource and shape it for use within their own contexts and allow them to produce scalable models and proof of concept for its application within their own spheres of practice and creative activity. We believe that this will both stimulate innovative practices and allow us to disseminate new approaches to collaborative working. We also want to facilitate inter-project mentoring and the sharing of best practice so that YARN can act as a means of building cross sector capacity and the basis for sharing impact potential amongst users.

Planned Impact

This project will provide impact across a number of sectors and has been carefully designed in consultation with our four impact partners to maximise the effectiveness of our collaborative working. We have consulted closely with our partners to identify the key issues that YARN could help them with and have consequently built the four projects around those themes. At their core are the issues of digital workspaces, collaborative research, knowledge exchange, accessibility, inclusion and resource building.Through this process we have determined the most effective means of realising a defined set of aspirations for each group and broader networks of users and local authority service providers. The four projects provide these groups with clearly defined and mutually determined outcomes that are fully scaleable for other user communities and local authorities. Our key impact beneficiaries are:

1. Impact partners
Our four partners represent a range of library, archival and community organisations whose core role is to develop collaborative relationships with user communities. They variously provide access to a range of archival content, library resources and provide leadership and training for communities in the use of resources for eduction, local history, family research and leisure.They are concerned with how best to engage with users through digital interfaces and how they can develop audiences and resources within an increasingly difficult financial environment. YARN provides them with an open and cost free platform through which to run projects and work with local audiences and communities to develop new relationships, digital resources and co-create knowledge about their collections. It also allows them to focus on key target audiences such as hard to reach communities and those with intellectual disabilities.The specially designed projects will enable them to develop such relationships and embedded the resource within their digital offer.It will aid them in evaluating new technological approaches to audience development and provide training and support for their staff and resource networks.

2. Public User groups
Our public user groups will similarly benefit from access to the resource and training and support to enable them to develop autonomy in the use of the platform, allowing them to research, exchange knowledge, showcase expertise and participate in collaborative projects in open partnership with local authority and heritage providers. They will be able to use heritage materials free from copyright restrictions and have access to resources that have previously been denied or had become unavailable due to web degradation. It will allow for the development of new user communities built around a number of foci including local history, cultural interests, news stories, hobbies and creative practice. It will foster and encourage creative thinking, self-reflective storytelling, and broader social participation. We will be particularly focusing on often hard to reach or isolated user communities and will seek to identify potential future impact activities related related to these audiences- for example in terms of the educational or therapeutic potential of this resource.

3. Local authority, archive and heritage professionals
These projects and the associated training materials will be of broader interest to these professionals and a key aim of these activities is to offer mentorship and scalability to new user and professional communities and to rollout the resource through our partner networks and professional organisations. YARN will provide an ongoing and developing series of resources and a focus for reporting the progress of projects. It will also provide access to new bodies of archival content for public and professional use to allow us to disseminate best practice and encourage project-based conversations and mentorship opportunities.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Leeds is My Home film 
Description PhD student Mick Schofield was commissioned to create a short film piece for the 'Leeds is My Home' strand of the project. As the project relates to the history of the Chinese community in Leeds and the possibilities for digital storytelling using archive resources, the film incorporates resources provided by Leeds Central Library as well as content created by project participants on the web platform YARN. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The resulting film has been published on YouTube and publicised via social media as well as at workshops and public events, in order to increase awareness of the project, the stories of Leeds Chinese Community, the potential of the Yarn platform and the resources which are available through Leeds Libraries. Leeds Big Screen have also expressed an interest in showing the film on their outdoor screen in the City Centre, to bring it to a wider audience. As Schofield is planning a similar film piece using material housed in the University of Leeds' Special Collections for next year's 'Light Night' celebrations, as part of his studies, involvement in this project has provided an opportunity to develop his own ideas and research aims whilst responding to the brief set by Simon Popple and Rosie Wilkinson. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_46jDlo6dw
 
Title YARN film 
Description The research team worked with a group of four University of Leeds MA students to create a three-minute film about the Yarn platform (yarncommunity.org) and areas of the Digital Community Workspaces project based in York, in collaboration with Explore York and Blueberry Academy. The film is now available on the University of Leeds YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAm1QMTx1I0 and on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/218793737. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact The resulting film was entered into a short film competition for students organised by the University of Leeds Cultural Institute. The students were commended for their work and gained increased confidence in their filmmaking and interviewing skills, a tangible output from their film studies and experience of working to the competition brief and that set by the project PI, Simon Popple (see students discussing the experience at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAm1QMTx1I0). The students also gained insights into a live research project and received comments and critique from leading industry professionals and the competition screening and prize ceremony. Along with the other films entered for the prize, the finished work has been used to show external partners the vibrancy of this research area at Leeds, and generate an on-going digital exhibition that can be showcased by the University library. The film has also been a useful piece of media for promoting the on-going research project, raising the profile of our collaborators and recruiting new participants. For instance, when we showed it to staff at Leeds Chinese Community School they invited us to come create a film about their school, alongside Yarn workshops, as a way of raising their profile in the community and generating web content to communicate what they do and potentially attract additional support and new pupils. 
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAm1QMTx1I0
 
Title Yarn stories 
Description A series of digital stories was produced on the Yarn platform (www.yarncommunity.org) by participants in all four strands of this project, as well as by the research team and community partners, to document work on the project. These can be found at: https://yarncommunity.org/projects/3; https://yarncommunity.org/projects/13; https://yarncommunity.org/projects/17; https://yarncommunity.org/projects/14. 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Impacts have been recorded in relation to outcomes for each project strand. 
 
Description This is an impact project, rather than research-focused. However, we have been able to make the following key observations:
• Digital storytelling workshops can be used to engage a broad age range. The ages of participants for the Ossett strand of our project ranged from 9 to 96! Although younger users are often more at ease when navigating the platform and with the concept of using external platforms to upload content, Libraries we have worked with are keen to stress that digital uptake within their settings is also strong for older generations. Members of Ossett & Gawthorpe Community Archive were also emphatic that volunteer-run community archives need to engage with younger generations (to secure the future of their archives, in part), which means communicating using appropriate methods and adopting digital tools.
• Audiences and community partners may have preconceptions regarding the 'storytelling' element of digital storytelling, regarding this as a specialist skill rather than a vehicle for open expression. However, this perceived hurdle tends to disappear quickly when the platform and its existing content is demonstrated.
• Engagement through digital storytelling works best when participants are given the freedom to take part in a range of ways, varying in mode and depth. With any demographic, it is likely that only a proportion of the audience or participants will wish to work directly on the storytelling platform (though younger participants often do so more readily). The various strands of our project demonstrated that engagement and coproduction is most successful when participants are invited to respond in a range of ways, some more in-depth than others. For instance, some just want to chat but are happy for workshop leaders to record their comments (e.g. on sticky notes or comment cards) and to photograph these and add them to a YARN story. In short, audiences are often most keen to share and see their contributions digitised and added to the YARN platform when they retain some control over the mode of engagement.

We have also established that users of the Yarn platform would benefit from the following developments, which will be made available by the end of the project:
• Broader integration of external platforms, extending support to hundreds of media sources (including 360° photography and film, which previously could not be viewed directly from within YARN).
• The option to produce a printable PDF version of YARN stories, to provide a tangible, physical backup of stories and enable alternative ways of sharing them (e.g. as part of a physical display within a library or museum).
• Improved privacy controls for YARN library 'items', allowing users to conceal their media files before publishing.
• Blanket Creative Commons license will be applied to the text of all public stories in the Yarn story universe, in the first instance but our aim is to offer controls to configure custom CC licenses for individual projects and stories.
• Developing a strategy for releasing YARN as an open-source, customisable platform for community groups to ensure the platform's longevity.

We also identified that community groups and archive organisations may benefit from the following modifications to the platform, which we will explore when further funding is secured:
• Working towards an open-source version of YARN, as a free to use platform for community groups and archive organisations. This will ensure continuity of provision and help to meet the diverse needs of users through customisation, allowing community groups to fully take ownership of the resource.
• Simplifying navigation to the 'Stories' page from the YARN home screen.
• Incorporating maps.
• Improving the 'Details' feature, so that more YARN stories are 'tagged' according to details such as 'Time', 'Place' or 'Person.
Exploitation Route This project has developed an effective working method for libraries and archive organisations to use in engaging with their audiences and for community groups to use in contructing narratives, collating resources and collaborating. We intend to continue working with the community partners involved in this project, as outlined in the 'Narrative Impact' section of the ResearchFish submission.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Due to the short nature of this project it is not possible, at the time of writing (March 2018), to fully assess all areas of impact, particularly that stemming from outputs of the latter stages. The project runs until 31st March 2018 and outcomes and impact will continue to be logged. However, the following key areas of impact have been identified. • New ways of animating archives: The working method devised for workshops with Blueberry Academy's citizenship group has had a profound impact for Explore York's Archivists. In practice this has led to increased awareness for the possibility of taking resources out of the archive and into the community, working in alternative settings to animate these resources and initiate learning, enquiry and creative responses. One of the most positive aspects of the project has involved thinking about how to work with existing resources, even if these seem limited. By being creative with materials it has proved possible to identify useful starting points for engagement and conversation, creating opportunities for more in-depth research and sharing of knowledge. • Increased access to library resources: As a result of interest in the initial workshop and the Buteman newspaper archive, Rothesay Library has made an additional microfiche viewer available, so that more library users can access this material. • Material added to local archives: Participants involved in the Ossett and Leeds strand of the project shared a significant amount of information with their local library or community archive, thereby enriching it for the wider community. Many have also learnt how to access information online and some older participants have commented that recording personal histories was a way of addressing boredom and social isolation for them, whilst also sharing their knowledge and experience. • New opportunities for co-production and co-curation: One key outcome of the previous AHRC project Digital Tools in the Service of Difficult Heritage was the development of a new 'Project' feature for YARN. This feature allows users to group and collate stories on a unifying project home page and also affords archive organisations a level of curatorial control, by selecting and grouping stories created by their audiences, without editing or censoring. The 'Digital Community Workspaces' project has provided an opportunity to test the potential of the Project feature, which was extremely well received by our community partners. For instance, Staff at Blueberry Academy felt that some of their trainees may struggle to locate and contextualise stories create by themselves or their peers from the general YARN Stories page, whereas a dedicated Project page made the assemblage of stories for the York strand easier to navigate and understand. The projects feature has also made it easier for Libraries and groups such as Ossett and Gawthorpe Community Archive to publicise a specific activity or theme, on a dedicated webpage away from the stories of other YARN users. • New promotional vehicle for Blueberry Academy Co-op: Blueberry Academy now plans to use YARN to tell the story of how products sold in their shops are created by trainees in the workshop using recycled materials. In doing so, they hope to raise the profile of their trainees and the role of Blueberry Academy in the wider community. • New equipment for Blueberry Academy: In the course of the project, additional funding was secured to purchase a 360° camera, audio recorder and binaural headphones. This multisensory technology has huge potential for Blueberry Academy's work with trainees, helping to increase confidence in unfamiliar settings and allowing trainees to explore work placement settings. Furthermore, staff are considering the development of a social enterprise, creating 360° maps of accessible routes through local businesses, such as shops and restaurants. Explore York have also drawn inspiration from Blueberry Academy's positive response to working with 360° photography. They are now considering an application for further funding to stage and film (using 360° cameras) a live performance based on the historical workshops which formed the first phase of activities in the York strand. • New engagement model for libraries, based around digital storytelling: The engagement methods developed through this project have huge potential for being reapplied to other events and projects with community groups. The project has been very successful in developing a model that allows for varying levels and forms of engagement, ranging from direct engagement with the digital platform (i.e. adding material to YARN) to paper-based mapping exercises (subsequently recorded with digital photography) documented conversations and sharing of anecdotes. • Supporting the creation of online archives. Involvement in the project and the community interest it has ignited has spurred Ossett and Gawthorpe Community Archive on to achieve its aim of developing a sustainable and publicly accessible online database. It is now close to relaunching the archive using a tailor-made open-source platform. It was agreed that the launch of the new database provided an ideal opportunity to introduce other digital tools, such as YARN, which could enhance the collection and enable audiences to engage in dialogue around them. Leeds Central Library also plans to develop a dedicated collection on its Leodis platform (via Leodis Collections), with images of locations, past and present, significant in the lives of Leeds' Chinese communities alongside other relevant library resources and materials generated through the project.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Blueberry Academy 360 degree camera and audio recording equipment/binaural headphones
Amount £381 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2018 
End 01/2018
 
Description Argyll and Bute Council 
Organisation Argyll and Bute Council
PI Contribution Paul Duffy, Director of Brandanii Archaeology and Heritage, worked with staff at Rothesay Library, Argyll and Bute Council Local Studies Department, local community partners and residents, to identify stories and adverts from the newspaper archive that illustrate how the future was articulated and imagined in the past under the broad theme of 'Exploring Past Futures'. Working collaboratively, these digital artefacts were integrated with wider web archives and resources to create a suite of digital stories exploring how the future was perceived in the past, what challenges were identified and how they were overcome, and how the insights of history might help in addressing contemporary island challenges.
Collaborator Contribution Staff at Rothesay Library provided access to archive materials (particularly their Buteman archive of local newspapers) and helped to facilitate workshops and engagement. Bute Youth Forum helped to run a digital storytelling workshop for it's young members using the Yarn platform, leading to several published stories. Staff also contributed to the planning and evaluation of the project.
Impact The Yarn stories resulting from this collaboration can be found at http://yarncommunity.org/projects/13. A launch workshop was held in May 2017, with local residents and representatives from the Rothesay Pavilion restoration project. In July a workshop for young members of Bute Youth Forum was led by Paul Duffy. The participants worked in groups to create factual Yarn stories, based on exploration of the Buteman archive, and also pieces of creative writing. The project also supported Rothesay Pavilion's 'Pavilion People' project by demonstrating how the Yarn platform could be used to record local histories and share personal reminiscences.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Blueberry Academy 
Organisation Blueberry Academy
PI Contribution Rosie Wilkinson and Simon Popple worked with Explore York (a fully integrated library, archive and museum) and Blueberry Academy, which provides specialist support for adults with learning difficulties, building on a previous collaboration on the successful LAB46 application that sought to utilise YARN via large touchscreen resources in galleries and library spaces. Our aim was to work with Blueberry Academy's young trainees to develop activities that allow them to develop confidence and build skills in working with Explore York's archives and library content around the theme of local identity. Learners on the Academy's Citizenship course worked with an Explore York Archivist and a Storyteller to learn about the history of the Melbourne Centre and York, using digitised archive materials. The learners developed and consolidated their findings through role-play and artwork, which was recorded digitally for the purpose of adding to Yarn stories and sharing with other trainees, families and the wider public. Additional sessions were held with trainees who have work placements at Explore York, to enable them to create a Yarn story to document the work they do. We also ran two workshops at which trainees learnt to use a 360-degree camera and digital audio recorder to create a multisensory map of the Melbourne Centre and it's Fire Escape routes and the outputs from this were also added to Yarn. Throughout this programme, we have worked responsively with staff and trainees to discover how the Yarn platform might be further developed to enable more inclusive use of the resource to enable broader and more equitable impact.
Collaborator Contribution Blueberry Academy staff played a key role in planning and delivering workshops, providing crucial knowledge of the abilities, needs and interests of their trainees and expertise in supporting learners through the sessions. The Melbourne Centre was used as a venue for the majority of the sessions and Blueberry Academy provided digital cameras to film them. The Academy also organised a trip to Explore York, as a follow-up activity.
Impact - Series of Yarn stories at https://yarncommunity.org/projects/17; eight workshops with Blueberry Academy trainees; public display of Blueberry Academy Yarn stories in York Library, displayed on a large touchscreen; 360 degree maps of Blueberry Academy's fire escape routes.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Explore York 
Organisation Explore York Libraries and Archives Mutual Ltd
PI Contribution Rosie Wilkinson and Simon Popple led (or in some cases supported) a series of workshops in which Blueberry Academy trainees (young adults with learning difficulties) explored a range of archive resources, developed their internet research skills, helped to write and create digital stories (on the Yarn platform) and developed their photography skills by learning how to use 360 degree cameras. As well as developing their knowledge of local history, some learners created stories to demonstrate the work they do as volunteers at York Explore Library and Archive which others helped to create maps of their building (The Melbourne Centre) using 360-degree photography and outlined safety procedure using the Yarn platform. Blueberry Academy staff members were also taught how to use the platform and both they and trainees were consulted on the usability of the website in it's current form (specifically relating to the organisation and its learners needs) and potential uses.
Collaborator Contribution Explore York Archivist Laura Yeoman helped to devise and deliver a series of workshops with Storyteller Catherine Heinemeyer, which were designed to introduce learners to a range of archive resources, guide them through elements of the research process (e.g. developing questioning and interview skills) and help them to interpret these and respond creatively through artwork and role-play. Archivist Catriona Cannon supported learners on placements at Explore York to document their work an ultimately present this in the form of a Yarn story. Staff also helped to showcase outcomes from the project to the public on a large touchscreen in the library and coordinated a small temporary exhibition to accompany this. Dave Fleming contributed to the project strategy and planning and also in suggesting next steps to develop this partnership.
Impact Eight workshops with Blueberry Academy trainees (exploring archive resources and learning to use the Yarn platform) plus training sessions with Blueberry Academy staff; Yarn stories published at https://yarncommunity.org/projects/17; project showcase event in York Explore library. As a consequence of this project, staff and trainees have provided feedback on the Yarn platform and methods of engagement/training in it's use. Staff now plan to use the platform for a number of purposes. For instance, Yarn stories will be used to document the production process of pieces sold in the Blueberry Academy's town-centre shop, thereby increasing the visibility of trainees and the work of the organisation to those members of the public who use the shop and buy products there. Yarn stories were also found to be very effective as a means of documenting work placements (useful for informing trainees in advance and reducing anxiety about new experiences) and demonstrating trainees skills and experience to potential employers.
Start Year 2017
 
Title Improvements to the Yarn platform 
Description A number of improvements to the Yarn platform are in the process of being created. These modifications are informed by feedback from project participants, to improve the user experience and include: - Creative Commons licences with guidance for users regarding how these apply to the stories published on Yarn. The text of stories (not any of the linked items) will be published under a CC license IF it is made completely public (but not if it is in draft form/only visible to users provided with the story URL). - Additional guidance will be added to the Yarb FAQ page, explaining how to find the URL for images etc. using different browsers and providing fuller explanations for how users can add their own content to stories - Embedly will be used to support ther integration of external apps like Youtube and Flickr and improve the appearance and stability of linked items. - A facility will be created for exporting printable versions of Yarn stories, including the URLs for linked items. This will allow users to easily create back-up version of stories and create print version without breaching copyright or losing key information.3. Add privacy to Library items (until published via stories), perhaps flagging that while private, it won't be visible in passages and stories where instances of it occur. - Privacy will be added to Library items (until published via stories). - it will be made possible to rearrange the order of items in a passage so either text or images can appear first. Currently the first item always defaults to an image. - Introducing the possibility to change the order of Project page stories. - Adding more tiles to the 'Projects' page (i.e. make more Projects visible at once). 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Not developed yet. 
URL http://www.yarncommunity.org
 
Description 360 degree photography and Yarn workshops, Blueberry Academy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact On 9th Nov and 7th Dec Simon Popple and Rosie Wilkinson led a 360-degree photography and Yarn workshop with two trainees at Blueberry Academy, with support from a staff member who also learnt to use the platform. The primary aim of the workshop was to explore how 360-degree photography could be used to document fire escape routes at Blueberry Academy and added to Yarn stories which might help learning disabled trainees at the Academy to familiarise themselves with fire-safety procedure and feel calmer in the event of an emergency exit being required.
One of the trainees was selected because he is a talented photographer and the workshop allowed him to learn about a new style of photography as well as considering the possibilities for this medium to inform, engage and support fellow learners in exploring unfamiliar spaces. This participant learnt to use the 360-degree camera independently and creatively to document the building and both participants used a digital camera and audio recorder to create a multi-sensory record of the space.
In the second session, both participants helped to create a Yarn story, using photographs they had taken at the previous workshop, which outlined the work they had done and drew attention to the building's fire safety procedures. Both participants rated the second workshop as 5/5 for enjoyment, with one saying that this was because he had been able to develop his skills using a laptop and learning to use the Yarn website. Without any prompting, this learner also suggested another project which he would like to use the platform for (outlining painting techniques using artwork which he has created independently), indicating that he felt that the platform offered a way in which he could express himself confidently and share with others. The feedback from both learners suggests that the Yarn platform could be a valuable tool in Blueberry Academy's future work with its trainees.
Following the workshop, Blueberry Academy's main Co-ordinator gave enthusiastic feedback and suggested more ways in which the platform could be used to support the Academy's work. For instance, Blueberry Academy now plans to use Yarn stories to document the production process for items which are sold in Blueberry Academy's shop in the City Centre, thereby increasing the visibility of their trainees and their work. They are also considering ways in which this method of special mapping could be used to introduce trainees to prospective work placement venues, to familiarise trainees with new settings and reduce anxiety before they visit the physical space for the first time. It has also been suggested that this could lead to the development of a social enterprise in which trainees create 360 degree maps of accessible routes through local businesses, such as shops and restaurants. Community partner Explore York have also drawn inspiration from Blueberry Academy's positive response to working with 360 degree photography and are now considering an application for further funding to work with a playwright to produce and film (using 360 degree cameras) a live performance based on the early workshops for this strand of the project, which involved using archive resources to learn about Edwardian York and the history of the Melbourne Centre.
As a consequence of this positive feedback, Blueberry Academy trainees will be invited to visit the School of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, to find out about the teaching and research their and learn new skills using film and photographic equipment held there.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://yarncommunity.org/stories/602
 
Description Be Curious Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In March 2017 members of the current project's research team and also those involved in a previous Yarn-related project, 'Digital Tools in the Service of Difficult Heritage', presented a stall at the University of Leeds 'Be Curious' festival. This research open day aims to open up exciting research taking place at the University to the public, in a fun and engaging way and is largely a family-focused event. The researchers presented handling objects from Thackray Medical Museum's collection (relating to the Digital Tools project), demonstrated the Yarn platform and invited members of the public to share their stories for inclusion on Yarn.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/438
 
Description Blueberry Academy workshops 
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 Rosie Wilkinson worked with staff at York's Blueberry Academy (which delivers tailored learning programmes to young people with learning difficulties), Explore York (library and archive) and also with storyteller Cath Heinemeyer to deliver a series of workshops in which learners explored the history of their building using archive resources. The learners then developed ideas and responses to this information through role-play, discussion and artwork. Their responses and reflections were documented in photographs and footage which was later added to digital stories on the Yarn platform. The participants gave high scores for 'did you enjoy this session?' and 'did you learn something new?' on feedback forms. Staff also gave positive feedback on the Yarn platform and suggested ways in which it might be improved. Following the workshops, learners visited the archives at Explore and feedback following the trip was extremely positive, helping to strengthen the relationship between these two community organisations. As a consequence, Blueberry academy has decided to make this visit and annual feature of the Citizenship programme. The relationship between the two organisations was also strengthened through the development of a highly effective working method for animating archive resources, which Explore York staff said had had a profound impact on their working practices and confidence in bringing resources out of the archive and into the community for work with closed groups. Following these initial workshops (initially planned as the main project activity), staff at Blueberry Academy invited the research team back to lead further photography and digital storytelling workshops later in November 2017, using 360 degree photography and audio recording to map the Melbourne Centre's fire escape routes and workshops were also held with trainees who volunteer at Explore York, to document the work they do there. Explore York have drawn inspiration from Blueberry Academy's positive response to working with 360 degree photography and are now considering an application for further funding to work with a playwright to produce and film (using 360 degree cameras) a live performance based on the early workshops for this strand of the project, which involved using archive resources to learn about Edwardian York and the history of the Melbourne Centre.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/projects/17
 
Description Bute Youth Forum Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In July 2017 Paul Duffy of Brandanii Archaeology (community Lead for the Bute strand of the project) led a workshop with members of Bute Youth Forum, which exists to give the island's young residents a voice on issues which affect their community. The participants were invited to create stories which explore the history of the island on the theme of 'Past Futures' or, rather, historical imaginings regarding the future of the island. The Youth Forum members worked in groups to create factual Yarn stories, based on exploration of the Buteman archive, and also pieces of creative writing. Afterwards, the forum's Co-ordinator highlighted the enthusiasm the workshop had generated and the way in which the young participants had been inspired to research and work together creatively and she is now considering using the platform for a longer scheme of activities over the 2018 summer programme. She indicated that the combined use of both the platform and a structured workshop provided an ideal framework to bring out participants' creativity, with photographic prompts from the Buteman archive sparking interest in historical subject matter (which, we were told, participants often see as boring). The written element of the stories was also said to support the Youth Forum's aims of promoting literacy and other key skills through fun activities. An important characteristic of the platform which was thought to make the engagement exercise effective was that it allowed participants to respond in a range of ways (artwork, creative writing, research) and pursue personal interests. The participants found the platform easy to use and were undaunted by the need to upload their own content (e.g. artwork) to third party sites such as Flickr before adding to Yarn stories (in contrast to some of the adult users involved in other strands of the project). A final benefit that was highlighted by the Forum Co-ordinator was that is was easy to post the resulting stories to their Facebook page and that doing so elicited many positive comments. Staff often have little contact with the parents of young people in their care and social media is one key channel, so additional means of sharing information about Forum activities was viewed as positive, particularly if this led to reciprocal exchanges with parents/carers. Creative writing pieces by Forum members continued to pop-up on the Yarn website in the months following the workshop, indicating that the users found the platform to be a valuable tool for self-expression and creativity.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://yarncommunity.org/projects/13
 
Description Confucius Institute Photography workshop 
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 On 14th June Simon Popple acted as co-lead on a photography workshop organised by the Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds (approx. 10 attendees). Simon Popple interviewed photographer Clive Horseman and chaired the discussion which followed before assisting with practical activities which explored the representation of cultural difference and the role of photography as a means of depicting a culture.

One remit of The Business Confucius Institute is to organise cultural activities which present Chinese culture to a wider UK audience. The Institute therefore has many Chinese cultural partners within Leeds and has acted as a key partner in the 'Leeds is My Home' strand of the project, introducing the team to contacts such as playwright Mary Cooper (author of From Shore to Shore: https://www.fromshoretoshore.co.uk/) and staff at Leeds Chinese Community School. Simon Popple's contribution to this event therefore functioned as a reciprocal knowledge exchange with a key community partner.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://lubswww.leeds.ac.uk/confucius/events/item/articles/2017/June/culture-workshop-how-can-a-photo...
 
Description Explore York Yarn workshops and showcase 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact In November 2017 Rosie Wilkinson worked with Blueberry Academy trainees who volunteer at Explore York, supported with their Job Coaches, to document their working day and create Yarn stories which could be used to share this with a wider audience. Over the course of three sessions, the trainees demonstrated their skills and responsibilities, took photographs to document their daily tasks and co-produced a Yarn story which incorporated the photographs with text passages. During the third session, the Yarn story was presented on a large, table-top touchscreen in the main Library at Explore York, so that visiting members of the public could view their stories and others created for the York strand of the project. A small exhibition of archive materials was set up alongside the touchscreen, as part of a showcase for 'Explore Your Archive' week and to underscore the importance of the work carried out by volunteers in preserving collections and helping to make them accessible. The trainees expressed delight and satisfaction in seeing their stories published not only online but displayed in a public setting and informed the team that they looked forward to sharing the Yarn story with friends and family. With support from Wilkinson and a job coach, the trainees were able to chose how they wished to contribute to the story creation process (e.g. taking the photographs, helping to compose text passages, or typing into Yarn and fully utilising the platform themselves to add media files), gradually increasing in confidence over the course of the sessions. The trainees also made suggestions regarding their preferred working method (e.g. composing text in Microsoft Word and using spellcheckers before pasting into Yarn), which will add to Blueberry Academy's understanding of how the platform might be used in future projects with trainees. Both the Job Coaches and other Blueberry Academy staff felt that Yarn offered an excellent framework for not only documenting and showcasing the work of its trainees but also presenting prospective work placements to trainees in advance of their start date, to reduce anxiety and increase confidence. It is now considering ways of integrating this approach with the use of 360 degree photography (as employed in subsequent workshops).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/580
 
Description Holy Trinity Primary Yarn Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A focused workshop with three nine-year old pupils and one member of teaching staff at Holy Trinity Primary School, Ossett, helping to transform pre-prepared writing work into digital stories on the Yarn website. All three were published and added to the 'Weaving Ossett's History' project page, with pupils learning to navigate the Yarn site confidently and making creative decisions about sourcing and selecting web content to include in their stories. Pupils expressed their sense of pride and achievement at seeing their work published and added to the larger project's page, and were excited about being able to show their published work to parents. Agreement was obtained to feature extracts of the pupil's stories on a stall at Ossett Gala that weekend, to promote the project, and pupils were encouraged to come along with their families (which one child did). Teacher Zoe Lambert gave the following feedback: "I have really enjoyed learning about and taking part in the project. From a teacher's perspective, it is a valuable experience to work alongside other members of the community and it has been a fantastic opportunity to learn even more about out history topic. I have found YARN easy to use once I knew how, also with the help of the tutorial video - this was helpful. It was the concept of uploading the pictures which I found most difficult as I am not familiar with Flickr. Like you have mentioned, once the gitch is solved, that will be a lot easier. It is brilliant that videos and recordings can also be uploaded as well as pictures. I really like your drag and drop idea, and the e-book sounds brilliant! It would be good if the user could upload photos and videos straight from a file on your computer, but I am aware this isn't how it works! In terms of a particular type of work or project, I'm sure YARN could be used for a range of text types, both fiction and non fiction, but in particular it is good for factual report writing. It would be good to have a class set of accounts, so that we could work on adding stories to it in our ICT lessons - this is something again that I am not very good at!"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/498
 
Description Introductory workshop in Rothesay Library 
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 An introductory workshop for the Bute strand of the project was held in Rothesay Library on 18th May 2017. Participants were given a demonstration of the Yarn platform and introduced to the project aims, whilst Library staff presented a number of historic local newspapers from it's archive and explained how these could be accessed by the public. The group explored articles and advertisements relevent to the theme of 'Past Futures' and discussed possible ways of constructing stories based on the archive. At the end of the session plans were made for future workshops. It was also agreed that a local heritage restoration initiative, the Rothesay Pavilion Project, and this project could offer mutual support and would promote one another's activities raise the profiles of both and to maximise impact for the local community (see http://www.rothesaypavilion.co.uk/yarn-project/). This subsequently led to Yarn support for the group's 'Pavilion People' project (http://www.rothesaypavilion.co.uk/pavilion-stories/) through the creation of Yarn stories. Towards the end of the project, Library Supervisor Patricia McArthur felt that the workshops held demonstrated how the Yarn platform met the Library's need to identify new and appealing engagement methods to attract a wide audience, and also commented that using a digital platform would allow the Library to share archive materials with a much wider audience, on Bute and beyond, by allowing users to access materials from anywhere with internet access. Patricia noted that it was necessary for the Library to engage with users using a range of methods, both as a physical venue which allowed for face-to-face interaction and through the provision of digital resources. As a result of interest in the initial workshop and the Buteman archive, Rothesay Library has made an additional microfiche viewer available, so that more library users can access this material.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/561
 
Description Leeds Chinese Community School Graduatio Day stall 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Jenna Ng and Rosie Wilkinson attended a Graduation Day ceremony at Leeds Chinese Community School on 2nd July and presented a stall at the summer fair which followed. The stall aimed to outline the 'Leeds is my Home' strand of our project project and attract participants. A Yarn story was created to document the day, aiming to demonstrate the school's work to a wider audience and demonstrate Yarn's storytelling potential. As a consequence of this engagement activity and Yarn output, staff invited us to attend the school to make a short film and run digital storytelling workshops in the Autumn term.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/490
 
Description Leeds Chinese Community School Yarn Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Approximately 25 GCSE and A-Level students viewed artefacts from the Leeds Libraries archive relating to the Chinese community and learnt about the 'Leeds is My Home' Project (part of 'Digital Community Workspaces'). Pupils went on to create Yarn story passages on the theme of Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. They also produced original writing (in English and Chinese) and artwork regarding mid-Autumn festival and commenting on their experiences of being Chinese in Leeds, which was photographed and added to the Yarn story at https://yarncommunity.org/stories/540. Students from non-Chinese backgrounds told their own stories of the various cultural influences shaping their Chinese studies and interaction with local Chinese community groups. Following the event, the research team proposed organising a public event at Leeds Library, to give interested pupils and families the chance to explore the Library's collections further, get to know the Library and continue sharing Yarn stories. The school's staff agreed to promote this opportunity to families.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/540
 
Description Pavillion People 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Paul Duffy, the community lead for the Bute strand of the project worked with members of the Rothesay Pavilion restoration project to see how the Yarn platform and archive resources might be used to support the engagement strategy for the restoration project. One way in which the team is encouraging members of the public to engage with the history of the building (due to reopen in 2019) is by contributing to it's 'Pavilion People' web pages at http://www.rothesaypavilion.co.uk/pavilion-stories/. So far, only one member of the public has contributed materials and reminiscences and it has been necessary for the Pavilion team to add the story to it's website. To support the initiative, Duffy transferred and linked various elements of Alwyn Parker's story to the Yarn platform at https://yarncommunity.org/stories/590, adding in various other materials found on the web. It is hoped that this will encourage more members of the public to contribute and allow them to do so in a more direct manner, should they wish, by creating the stories themselves and combining their own media with web resources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/590
 
Description Presentation at Leeds Chinese Community School 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Simon Popple and Rosie Wilkinson outlined the 'Leeds is my Home' project to staff and a group of students at Leeds Chinese Community School and promoted the forthcoming digital storytelling workshop running as part of the School's Graduation Day. Afterwards, staff invited the research team to run digital storytelling workshops at the school and help to create a film about the school.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation to York Rotary Club 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Third sector organisations
Results and Impact Simon Popple presented the Yarn platform to members of York Rotary club at their meeting on 23rd Oct 2017 and demonstrated how York residents can contribute to the Yarn-based York-Munster Memory Book project, which is being co-ordinated with Explore York. The Rotary Club has 1700 branches and is very interested in using Yarn to achieve it's aims.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Stall at Love 1940s Ossett 
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 Members of Ossett and Gawthorpe Community Archive worked with Rosie Wilkinson to present a stall at the 'Love 1940s Ossett' Festival on 9th Sept. The stall focused on 1940s-related stories added to the Yarn digital storytelling project for 'Weaving Ossett's History' (part of 'Digital community Workspaces'). Visitors learned more about the Yarn platform, the community archive and resources available through Wakefield Libraries at the event and some shared their stories by adding notes to the interactive display boards, for subsequent inclusion in Yarn stories. One visitor provided further information about an unusual image in the archive and subsequently requested assistance to record her own stories and turn the audio file into a Yarn story.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/539
 
Description Stall at Ossett Gala 
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 Rosie Wilkinson and members of Ossett and Gawthorpe Community Archive and Friends of Ossett Library ran a stall at Ossett Gala, to present the project 'Weaving Ossett's History' (part of 'Digital Community Workspaces'). Visitors were able to look at displayed photographs from the community archive alongside extracts from digital Yarn stories created by local residents (including school pupils), as well as looking at the stories online, using a laptop. Visitors also added to the interactive display boards during the day, adding notes to identify map locations or share stories linked to the archive photographs. These notes were subsequently used to create a published Yarn story As a result of visiting the stall, one Ossett resident went on to research and publish two lengthy Yarn stories of his own, about his life and Merchant Navy Service during WW2, including recorded interviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://yarncommunity.org/stories/492
 
Description Yarn training for EOCT schools 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Yarn training (i.e. digital storytelling) session for teachers from Education Ossett Community Trust schools, 27/04/17. Participants received a demonstration of how to use Yarn and were shown a range of free to access digital archive resources with connections to Ossett, as examples of sources they might wish to utilise. Participants then engaged in hands-on learning by starting to create Yarn stories and experiment with the platform's key features. This led to a culminating discussion to plan how to promote the project and broaden engagement, taking into account concerns and suggestions which stemmed from the training session. Attended by five schools, one of which agreed to further participation in the project. All provided feedback on the Yarn tool.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://yarncommunity.org/stories/432
 
Description Yarn training workshop, Horbury Library 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 22nd March 2017 - Yarn training workshop attended by core team of participants involved in the Wakefield Libraries strand of the project, including members of Ossett Community Archive, Ossett Historical Society, Ossett Civic Trust, Education Ossett Community Trust and one Ossett school, as well as representatives from Wakefield Libraries (10 attendees). Participants received a demonstration of how to use Yarn and were shown a range of free to access digital archive resources with connections to Ossett, as examples of sources they might wish to utilise. Participants then engaged in hands-on learning by starting to create Yarn stories and experiment with the platform's key features. This led to a culminating discussion to plan how to promote the project and broaden engagement, taking into account concerns and suggestions which stemmed from the training session. Participants also subsequently published a number of Yarn stories to add to the main Project page on Yarn.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017