After 49 days since launch and 110 applications later, today we announced the winners of the TWA Digitisation Grant 2017! You can watch the live video announcement of the winners above.
Massive congratulations to our two deserving winners! You can read more about the two winning projects and institutions below (though of course *spoiler alert* if you're reading this having not watched the winners announcement above!).
Recap of the Digitisation Grants on offer
This year, as with last year, we offered two main Grants for cultural heritage digitisation: a Secondary (or runner up) award for £2000, and a Primary award of £5000.
In a slight change to 2016, this year all of the Grant applications which are shortlisted will also receive £500 of match funding (if you're reading this having applied for the Grant and aren't sure if you've been shortlisted, we'll be contacting all of the shortlisted applicants this week).
The TWA Digitisation Grant 2017 winners
Secondary Grant winner - £2000: Birmingham Museums Trust
Project: Birmingham Historic Trade Document Digitisation project
Applicant: Tessa Chynoweth
The winner of our Secondary Digitisation Grant for £2000, as chosen by our judging panel, is Birmingham Museums Trust.
The Birmingham History Trade Document Project will digitise and data capture an important but neglected part of Birmingham’s History collection – the archives which relate to Birmingham’s history of trade and manufacturing.
The project will focus on digitising a selection of archive material from the Birmingham History Trade Documents Collection; including trade catalogues, advertisements, correspondence and other documents, which offer a unique insight into the city's history.
Grant judge John Chambers, chief executive of the Archives & Records Association, said that Birmingham Museums Trust's application was "the best by a long way in my opinion."
Whilst judge Claire Adler, HLF appointed expert advisor, said "This project is capturing a history that is deteriorating and fading from the collective memory. It was great to see that the project was being used to build on the organisation’s capacity as part of a wider Arts Council England project and that they are going to use the grant as a pilot study for longer- term digitisation project. I look forward to seeing the blogs and the experimentation with the OCR."
A word from Birmingham Museums Trust
On hearing the news of the Trust's win, lead applicant and research assistant at Birmingham Museums Trust Tessa Chynoweth (pictured) was...
"thrilled to have been awarded funding from TWA to digitise an important but overlooked part of our collection. This material has been identified by the Birmingham Manufactures project, an Arts Council funded project which is researching and cataloguing objects in Birmingham’s collection which relate to manufacturing in the region. The grant will allow a variety of archive material to be scanned and for it to be uploaded to our catalogue."
She continued "this will provide an invaluable research resource for staff at the museum, and eventually for members of the public too! This material includes trade cards, catalogues, and complex company archives which offer a fascinating insight into the working practices of a number of Birmingham firms, and also shines fresh light on objects in Birmingham’s collection too. It’s great news!"
Primary Grant winner - £5000: Dorset History Centre
Project: Saving the Graham Herbert Collection
Applicant: Cassandra Pickavance
All three of our judges agreed that Dorset History Centre, and specifically archivist Cassandra Pickavance, put together a really excellent application.
The Herbert Collection of over 7,000 packets of photographic negatives, is a unique record of the social history of Weymouth between 1953 and 1983. Graham Herbert was a local Weymouth photographer and the collection was given by his family to Weymouth Library, and subsequently passed to Dorset History Centre in 2007.
The collection is deteriorating due to vinegar syndrome and without intervention to digitise it, it will be lost. In addition, the physical difficulties are matched by Dorset History Centre's current inability to interrogate the collection due to the lack of a comprehensive finding aid for the whole archive.
Our judges felt that these factors, when coupled with the significance of the collection in charting the history of Weymouth, and the institution's clear and ambitious plans to make it accessible and discover-able to the local community once digitised, made this application a winner.
Judge Paul Sugden said of Dorset History Centre's winning application "Based around a physical collection of photographic negatives that are showing signs of continued deterioration, the Herbert collection chronicles a period in local history between 1953 and 1983. The application includes solid plans for the digital collection to have a strong impact in the community and includes plans for outreach and future promotion of the digitised archive.”
Claire Adler echoed this, saying "The urgent need to digitise these photographs was eloquently communicated as well as the need to record and reinterpret a way of life which is currently changing in Dorset. The images have already been used with people with learning disabilities and I was delighted to see that they will be using the images to engage with communities across the region.
I was also pleased to see that this grant is being used as the starting point for a crowdfunding campaign to get the rest of the negatives in the collection digitised. Congratulations! And I wish them every success with their project.”
Cassandra Pickavance on how it feels to win
"We are delighted to have been awarded the funding from TWA to save the Herbert collection from being lost due to the irreversible deterioration of the negatives. We look forward to continuing to share the fantastic images of our recent past in outreach activities with a wide range of people" said Cassandra Pickavance, archivist at Dorset History Centre.
Congratulations to our winners!
We would like to share massive congratulations with both winners of the TWA Digitisation Grant this year. They beat off a lot of strong competition and are both fascinating projects that we can’t wait to see come to fruition.
Congratulations also to all of the other institutions that applied and that were shortlisted. If your organisation applied this year and wasn’t successful, or if you didn’t have time to apply for this year’s Grant, read on below to find out about next year's funding…
TWA Digitisation Grant 2018
As the response from the community has been so positive and because there were so many excellent projects that we weren’t able to fund this year, we plan to run the TWA Digitisation Grant for a third time next year.
The TWA Digitisation Grant 2018 will launch in summer next year. To receive information about the 2018 Grant as soon as it is available subscribe to our email updates.