Partnership between the University of Leicester and the National Trust

About the research and its impact

The University of Leicester is developing a number of strategic partnerships as part of their ESRC IAA programme. 

In November 2018, the National Trust’s new Director General, Hilary McGrady, launched Everyone Welcome – an ambitious programme of research and testing designed to support transformational change to make the UK’s largest heritage and museum body to drive inclusive practice and thinking across all areas of its work and activity. The University is involved in 3 projects which support Everyone Welcome:

- The Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) is working with the National Trust (NT) to design, develop and deliver a research-led test programme that will drive innovation and experimentation at 24 properties and involve collaborative working with around 800 volunteers and staff in all major areas of activity. The partnership will allow research-led methods of organisational change to be tested and further developed through work with the Trust and will deliver outcomes that are scalable across the organisation.
- The Management of Volunteers is a study undertaken by the University’s School of Business providing detailed, evidence-based understanding of the place of emotions within volunteer management. The School are developing and testing a ‘Working with Emotions’ toolkit for NT volunteer managers and their teams and will map the impact of the toolkit.
- Global Connections, led by Dr Corinne Fowler in the School of Arts, is a collaboration exploring legacies of colonialism across NT sites. Young people are working at NT properties to reinterpret the histories of specific properties. Dr Fowler’s secondment includes the development of a guide for curators and a Colonial Connections Massive Online Open Course (MOOC).

Calke Abbey 1

Collaborative working

The development of these projects is reliant on deep collaborative research and co-production with National Trust staff, volunteers and visitors. Projects are being delivered via workshops, secondments, and various creative interpretive techniques.


The projects began in 2019 and are still in progress. A previous collaborative between the University of Leicester and the National Trust’s Calke Abbey property demonstrates the way our Research Centre for Museums and Galleries has worked with NT sites previously. This project raised and helped address issues of isolation and loneliness and is feeding directly into the Test programme: For more information visit the website

  Return to Midlands Innovation Social Sciences Research Accelerator homepage