Heritage Impact Accelerator

Speaker at event

About the Programme

Heritage Impact Accelerator is one of two programmes that we deliver with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Heritage Impact Accelerator offers a 10-month incubator programme that will be delivered to two cohorts between 2021 and 2023. It aims to build the capacity of 12 diverse local practitioners and/or organisations to deliver enhanced community heritage projects, develop new cultural and cross-sector partnerships and increase levels of contributed and earned income.

Inspired by the tech start-up model, the programme immerses participants in a university hothouse for entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary skills development. It accelerates and pushes practitioners to develop thriving community heritage projects and enterprises.

Heritage Impact Accelerator offers

  • 2 x 10-months of training and development for two participant cohorts across two years
  • a 3-phase programme designed to accelerate business models
  • a £4,000 stipend for participants that can support living, training and project expenses.
  • a collaborative hothouse for ideas development through access to UoB archives and collections, published research and e-journals
  • co-working sessions with community partners, students/graduates and academics relevant to their heritage, education and business specialisms
  • opportunities to develop and submit competitive project grants, including to the National Lottery Heritage Fund

Programme Delivery Phases

Each Heritage Impact Accelerator cohorts will be guided across three phases:

Phase 1 – Training & Development

Intensive training and co-working programme delivered in response to a participant survey undertaken upon the successful recruitment of each cohort, which realises areas for development.

Participants will access university and partner knowledge, archives and publications as well as access to research and teaching expertise that support development.

The end of this phase features Accelerator Open Week (delivered online or physically dependent on COVID-19), which enables participants to test and share new ideas and work-in-progress with industry, community and cultural sector/cross-sector professionals.

Phase 2 - Project & Partnership Enhancement

Based on Accelerator Open Week, participants will scale up ideas that have been founded in Phase 1. They will connect to new local partners and deliver a robust pilot heritage outreach programme. Participants will receive support from the Arts and Culture LCEP projects team and the Collaborative Projects Team to consider robust methods of project management, delivery and evaluation.

Dependant on COVID-19 guidance, projects will be delivered either physically or through the digital and remote methods supported by the Collaborative Projects Team as part of their UniConnect work.

Phase 3 - Bid Writing & Next Steps Support

Participants, in considering the impact of Phase 2 delivery, will develop robust COVID-19 recovery plans, business plans, partnerships and models that further realise a step-change in strategic considerations, delivery and impact.

Finally, in considering next and future steps, participants will be supported to develop exceptional funding applications that realise these new business, outreach and partnerships models, as well as ambitions for the future.

Strategic Programme Ambitions

In delivering Heritage Impact Accelerator, we will have:

  • Developed a skilled, confident and resilient community of local heritage practitioners and organisations, evidenced through an increase in both the number and success rate of funding bids submitted.
  • Increased diverse representation within the heritage sector within Luton, evidenced by the recruitment of Accelerator participants
  • Successful partnership-working modelled and sustained between Luton-based heritage organisations and wider local sectors, evidenced through an increase in the number of collaborative partnership projects either in process or completed by the end of the project, with tangible examples of how partnerships have been made sustainable.
  • Supported new sustainable relationships to be formed between Bedfordshire's cultural practitioners/organisations and UoB’s professional and academic staff, evidenced by the number of new partnerships between heritage and higher education.

For more information contact culture@beds.ac.uk