We can’t believe that we are halfway through the TWA Digitisation Grant period already! The deadline of 29th July 2022 is fast approaching and we are pleased to see the flurry of downloads continue! So what better at this point than to share a little insight into what our three judges are looking for in a winning grant application.
Every year our panel is overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of projects they see and after a year’s hiatus this year is looking exceptional! Thank you in advance to everyone who has downloaded an application and, for those who haven’t, there is still time to apply. We take great pleasure in reading every single submission, so do keep them coming.
Remember, applications will need to demonstrate the following criteria:
- Heritage need
Heritage value, uniqueness and importance of the collection.
- Social/community impact
How local people and communities will benefit from the collection.
- Research value
Whether academic, social historians, genealogists, or other researchers.
- Improved accessibility
Accessibility plans for your collection, such as platforms, preservation and website access to name a few.
In addition, our judges have their own thoughts on what makes for a great, standout application. Here they share a few hints and tips:
John's top tips:
- I am open to any applications that have made real attempts to stand out and capture my attention, so consider me ready to be persuaded by your application.
- Don’t assume that I know anything about your particular archive or area, and don’t let the word limit stop you including vital, compelling information. If your archive is ‘world class’, tell me why. I’m here and waiting; I want to know more.
- A standout application is one that gives itself a real chance; that means an application that has ticked all of the scoring boxes. It can be the most wonderful project in the world, but if areas of the application have not been completed fully it can’t be considered. This would probably be one of my main pieces of advice.
- I would say that my outlook has remained consistent and the great thing about having a panel is that it offers balance. The events of 2020 have not changed what I would consider a deserving application.
Claire's top tips:
- I love a good story! If you can get me hooked on the story of the material to be digitised I am far more likely to fall for your project.
- The project needs to be grounded in reality – a project that is about local history is unlikely to attract world-wide attention. So be realistic about who will find your material interesting and then maximise the story (see the comment above!)
- A project plan that is based on need – why do you want to do this project? Can you show that the community (in whatever form) needs the project to happen?
- An engagement strategy that includes interesting ways to use the material that is being digitised. I want to know who will be involved in the project and how you will be engaging with them; and what impact this can have on them.
- The past few years have seen massive changes to how heritage is understood and used - with Covid, the Climate Emergency, Brexit and now the cost of living crisis, it would be really interesting to see how these major events are affecting your thinking for this project.
- By the way, did I say that I love a good story? I want to be excited to see the material in the images or on the website – I want to know more.
Paul's top tip:
- This year, for the first time ever, TWA are offering match funding to every applicant (on a first come, first served basis). This is great news and I expect that it will lead to even better quality applications. It will make our job, as judges, even more challenging as we search for projects that really stand out. So my first tip would be to read ALL of the judges’ tips, as well as the grant entry criteria, and make it as easy as possible for the judges to spot yours. Basically, tick all the boxes!
- And on the subject of ticking the boxes, it's important that your reasons for digitisation are fully considered, explored and detailed. Whether that be preservation, reproduction, engagement, accessibility, or perhaps the less glamorous (but no less important) functions, such as admin tasks, workplace efficiency or enabling collaboration.
- Finally, once digitised, I personally would like to see how the content is going to be used. There's an opportunity here to breath new life into these digital assets and to showcase them in innovative ways. You may not have a fully fledged plan, or any kind of system/mechanism for doing this, and that's fine, but some well considered thought here is definitely worth the effort!
What does a winning application look like?
We thought it might be helpful to not just talk about what a successful application looks like, but actually see one in black and white. A couple of our previously successful organisations have very kindly agreed to let us share their winning application forms with you, for the purposes of opening up the process and making it even more accessible.
We would like to give special thanks to Corinthian Casuals and Merton Heritage for their contribution to this year’s supporting grant resources. Click the links below to see how they won over our judges and successfully gained funding from the TWA Digitisation Grant:
It's not too late!
For more details and to apply, please watch the video below and then visit our TWA Digitisation Grant page and be sure to get that deadline in your diary! Also, make sure to sign up to our blog for all grant related releases!
Access the application form and for any grant and digitisation questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. All completed applications should be submitted by 29th July at 11.59pm (BST). The winners will be announced on 1st September at the ARA Annual Conference.
Good luck from all of us at TownsWeb Archiving!