Common Ground

Young heritage leaders in the East of England

About Common Ground

Common Ground is a young people’s leadership and heritage engagement project in the East of England developed by Norfolk & Norwich Festival. With investment from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for development, we have an opportunity to deliver new heritage experiences with, by and for young people, increasing community engagement by delivering high quality heritage interpretation locally. The project is designed to support young people aged 11-25 years old and heritage specialists to lead, building capacity to innovate and connect, working in places where individuals face barriers to heritage engagement.

Led by a strategic partnership, the Common Ground Consortium is a cross-sector collective covering the East of England with a clear vision for action and impact. The consortium partners are:

  • National Trust
  • Norfolk & Norwich Festival (lead organisation)
  • Norfolk Wildlife Trust
  • Suffolk Wildlife Trust
  • SHARE Museums East
  • The Prince’s Trust

Aims, objectives and outcomes

We want NLHF investment to make a real difference to the lives of young people, their families and communities in the East of England, and to heritage engagement. The objectives of the project are to:

  • Empower young people to co-create heritage experiences with heritage organisations and communities
  • Sustain young people’s engagement and participation through inspiring activities, training and volunteering
  • Support the heritage sector to broaden, deepen and diversify audiences

The following impact areas have emerged through research and consultation. Our aims are for the Common Ground Project to contribute to the following outcome areas:

  • Inspiring heritage interpretation
  • Empowering people
  • Communities and wellbeing
  • Partnerships and collaborative practice


We want Common Ground to contribute to improving young people’s confidence, developing their skills and experience through heritage engagement, participation, training, volunteering and placements. And we want to improve how heritage is interpreted and shared, contributing to individual’s understanding about heritage, sense of belonging and their wellbeing. So we’ll be delivering behind the scenes tours, heritage training, heritage hack labs (so that young people have a voice in the early design stages of new heritage engagement activities), and promoting volunteering and placement opportunities.

As a knowledge exchange partnership, we also want to know as much as we can about how and why Common Ground works, for continuous improvement, to inform future practice and make the project sustainable; we will collaborate with others, connect through networks and align resources so that young people have access to more opportunities, creating their own heritage inspired journeys.

The individuals planned to take part in the project are:

  • Heritage hackers (16-25 years old)
  • Common Ground participants (11-25 years old)
  • Heritage participants (0-25+ years old)
  • Heritage workforce

If you’re interested in the project and would like to find out more please contact Michael Corley at

Development Phase Activities

Flag Fen Heritage Hack Lab

On 11 December 2018 we worked with a group of 22 young people who collaborated with Juneau Projects and the Vivacity Peterborough Museum to explore the heritage of Flag Fen archaeology park.

The resulting zine was created to inspire the Flag Fen team with ways of engaging more young people with the site.


Lowestoft Heritage Hack Lab

On 23 October 2018 we partnered with Juneau Projects and Suffolk Wildlife Trust to deliver a workshop in the centre of Lowestoft as part of the NessFest youth arts festival.

Local children and young people had the opportunity to use model making, photography, 3D printing and animation to explore ideas for engagement with Carlton Marshes nature reserve.


Blog Posts

Images © Beth Moseley Photography