Archives+ Leading an "exemplar consultation project"

Archives + is a new partnership and a new public space which is part of Manchester Central Library and Townhall Complex Transformation Programme. It is a partnership between Manchester Record Office, Greater Manchester Record Office, Race Relations Archive, Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society and the NW Film Archive. The project will bring together the 5 partners into one space in the new central library in Manchester. The programme will result in the development of a major new exhibition and heritage destination, a programme of public events, community outreach and learning programmes. The project aims to increase access to archives and change the profile archive users by specifically targeting new audiences. These new target audiences are young people, schools, BME communities, heritage tourists, families, communities outside the main city centre.



JT Associates were contracted to research and develop an activity plan which supported HLF's aims of participation and learning.



JT Associates worked closely with the client to get a deep understanding of their needs and ensure that there was ownership of the Activity Plan with key stakeholders. The approach taken was bespoke and responsive to the client needs.


Ways of Working:

Ensuring the activities meet audiences needs:

  • We have worked with the client to review current audiences,research and identify target audiences. This has involved the analysis of data from the main partners of archives + and a review of the potential market for the service from audience development and tourism agencies.
  • We have held 6 focus groups with the intended target audiences for the programme to test out ideas and ensure the programme meets their      needs: teachers, young people, youth workers, BME families, families,      community group.

Development of Activities grounded in best practice:

  • We have developed a range of activity proposals for the project including the development of learning programmes for schools and families, community outreach, events and online materials. These programmes have built on our extensive knowledge of best practice in the cultural sector especially in the areas of learning and audience development. As well as drawing on our existing knowledge we have researched and developed case studies of      particular approaches.

Ensuring ownership of the project from internal and external stakeholders:

  • Archives + involves a complex partnership of differently constituted bodies who all have their own needs. JT Associates has worked carefully with the partnership to ensure all voices are heard and that there is ownership of the programme. This has involved the development of robust and transparent procedures for decision making, regular and clear communication, liaison to understand organisational needs and the building of trust.

Strategic development grounded in evidence based research:

  • We are experienced strategic planners who have worked with the client to ensure there is a clear strategy for the development of Archives+. We have mapped local, regional and national policy and ensured linkages between relevant strategy. We have consulted with relevant stakeholders and drawn on research to ensure the development of the programme is evidence based.

Target Outcomes:

  • An activity plan which is responsive to the needs of audiences
  • Target audiences who already feel a connection to the programme
  • A ground breaking programme of activities which draws on best practice
  • A partnership which feels ownership of the programme
  • A sustainable plan which will thrive beyond the life of the HLF funding 


Client  Feedback :

I've been really pleased with the way your team have delivered the plan and the final document is excellent. More importantly it is a document that we can use -  

It was also good that we were able to 'tailor' the plan so that it was something that would within our organisation.Your team got the right balance of listening to
the client, but also pushing us into the right direction!

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