We Are Culture Toolkit

We all want our events to be as accessible and inclusive as possible – but where to begin?

Our new freely available ‘We Are Culture Toolkit’ produced in collaboration with our friends Scottish Civic Trust is here to help! It is packed with case studies and practical tips to help you ensure that as many people as possible are able to enjoy your places, stories and activities.

Did you know that almost every European country has a version of Heritage Open Days? Every September, 50 countries across Europe throw open their doors to numerous historic and cultural places, inviting all to enjoy free visits and learn about our shared spaces and stories.

The strength of European Heritage Days has always been its ability to bring people together to appreciate the rich heritage and culture on their doorstep. At Heritage Open Days, we want to ensure that this can include as many different people as possible.

To help our organisers here in the UK, as well as across the wider continent, the Council of Europe supported teams at Scottish Civic Trust and the National Trust to develop a toolkit for developing, delivering and evaluating inclusive events. Here’s what we produced...

What does the toolkit include?

The toolkit is divided into easy-to-read sections called “themes”. These stand-alone themes are helpfully designed to be downloaded or printed individually to support your own needs and interests, or as a complete pack.

Theme 1: Working together with groups

Working with partners and community groups ensures that you create events with audiences, not for them. This section will help you reflect on your current partnerships, and how you can engage with new and perhaps currently underrepresented people and groups.

Theme 2: Working with volunteers

Volunteering programmes can be a key way to engage a wide range of people with your events. This section has ideas for working with volunteers to create a supportive and mutually beneficial experience.

Theme 3: Budgeting for inclusion

Planning inclusive events may require specific resources or services to support audiences. This section gives examples of how to assess access needs and remove financial barriers to attendance.

Theme 4: Choosing a venue

Making spaces welcoming and accessible is key to dismantling barriers to event attendance. This section helps you rethink where you hold events and activities, and how you can alter seating, signs and sound to make a space more accessible.

Theme 5: Reflecting on Inclusion

Whether you’re working with people from similar or different backgrounds to yourself, it can help to be aware of how your unique position and experiences impact how you work. This section has tools to help you reflect on exclusion and inclusion.

Theme 6: Addressing barriers

The first step to addressing barriers to inclusion is learning more about what may exclude people from attending and participating in your events. This section covers language barriers, communication barriers, and barriers that exclude disabled people - providing simple and low cost ways to address them.

Theme 7: Co-creating events

When co-creating events, it’s important to establish an equitable relationship between all groups involved. This section suggests how to work together to facilitate enjoyable, inclusive and effective co-production meetings.

Theme 8: Evaluation

Discussing the quality of diversity, accessibility and inclusion with audiences and the people you worked with can spark ideas for future improvements. This section has tools for getting meaningful feedback and evaluating different parts of an event.

Find out more:

About ...

This toolkit is the result of a research and development project in 2019/2020 supported by European Heritage Days funding through Council of Europe. It was led by a research partnership comprising Scottish Civic Trust’s Doors Open Days National Coordinator Nicola Godsal and Diverse Heritage Officer Jennifer Novotny, and The National Trust’s Heritage Open Days’ Head of Producing Annie Reilly and draws on the experience and input of other European Heritage Days’ National Coordinators and a range of partners and participants.