New Wave

New Wave is a training and development programme taking a small cohort of Heritage Open Days (HODs) organisers and coordinators through a structured programme focused around working with young adults to develop new, innovative HODs events.

Why are we doing this?

Over the years the festival has evolved from just opening doors to encompassing a wide range of innovative and dynamic events. However, too often we’re still perceived as only being for traditional heritage audiences. New Wave seeks to change that. It aims to enable the delivery of high quality events that push the boundaries of what people expect of Heritage Open Days, widening our appeal to audience groups that we have previously struggled to reach.

What's the ethos of the project?

New Wave is guided by three key themes:

  • Learning from others - we encourage and support the participants to find examples of past events that have successfully engaged young people, both in the cultural sector and beyond. New Wave aims to learn from and build upon the previous work that has been done in this area.
  • Understanding our audience - New Wave focuses heavily on utilising audience data to inform and guide our approach. The project aims to build an in-depth understanding of the motivations, aspirations, and barriers when it comes to youth engagement in the cultural sector.
  • Co-creation and collaboration - New Wave is about producing events working directly with young adults. Our participants are supported and encouraged to work with this target audience to plan, promote, and deliver their events.

What's been happening?

Interupted by the pandemic, the programme became a two year pilot with two cohorts coming together to complete the training sessions and run events for the 2021 festival. 

Throughout the project participants recieved guidance and support from guest speakers including Emerge Festival, Imperial War Museums, Y Heritage Leicester YMCA, and Chloé Nelkin Consulting, Building on these training sessions participants conducted their own local research and ran focus groups to better understand their target audience. From these learnings new connections and partnerships were formed to help them create their final events.

18 organisers completed the programme and created 27 innovative events that included interactive workshops, escape rooms, museum lates, and an outdoor cinema. Check out the final events they ran here.

Who's involved?

Past participants include: ‘a space' arts / Brierley Hill Community Forum / East Suffolk Council / The Forum Trust / Friends of Flaxmill Maltings / Girlguiding Norfolk Archive Resource Centre  / Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust  / Lyme Park / Locomotion / The Reader / Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust / Sheffield Civic Trust / The South Asia Collection / University of West London / Wheal Martyn Clay Works / Wentworth Castle Gardens