The National Churches Trust has awarded £2000 to The Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT) for a partnership with colleagues from the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture (CSCC) at the University of York to create a series of digital technology apprenticeships for students and exploring new ways of promoting the county's churches in the future.
Over the past few years, many churches have sought to harness the power of digital technologies to share their history and heritage with visitors and local communities. From short entries on church websites to videos and social media, such technologies have the potential to encourage in-person, and virtual -heritage tourism, helping them raise awareness and support as they care for their buildings.
Technology for the future
However, technology develops rapidly, and many churches may feel uncertain about what works best, how they can engage with these technologies and sustain them in the future.
The YHCT's Digital Heritage apprenticeship scheme will invite interested churches across Yorkshire to an online workshop providing guidance on using digital heritage technologies to share their stories with different audiences. The workshop will showcase innovative ideas from creating a social media presence online - and maintaining it - to writing effective blog posts or online guides, and producing short videos and 360 tours and panoramas.
Interested churches will then be paired with students, who will be mentored by CSCC and YHCT members to help co-design and co-create content for the churches over the course of Summer 2022.
As well as the digital apprenticeships, the YHCT will be working on promoting a 'Yorkshire Churches Day', when every place of worship in the county is encouraged to open their doors and showcase the amazing history and heritage that can be found inside their buildings. This would be a day to highlight the variety, beauty, history and sheer wonder of Yorkshire's churches and places of worship, encouraging visitors to step foot inside a local church for the first time, or explore new parts of the county.
Claire Walker CEO of the National Churches Trust said: " We are delighted to support the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust (YHCT) with funding for their digital apprenticeships project with partners the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture (CSCC) at the University of York. Churches are exciting and historic buildings. Engaging audiences through digital technology offers a great way of showing more people that churches are the jewel in the heritage crown."
Tom Ramsden, Chair of the YHCT said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this funding and by the formation of this exciting partnership. The digital heritage project offers a fantastic opportunity to engage a new generation of church building enthusiasts, harnessing their interest in digital technologies and developing their skills to create sustainable, creative digital strategies and content for the wonderful historic churches of Yorkshire."
Dr Kate Giles, YHCT Trustee and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Christianity and Culture at the University of York said: "No other buildings contain such an expanse of culture and history as our county's places of worship. Both elements of the project will open up churches to a wider audience, offering the opportunity to learn more about an area's wider history and tell the story of a community over time. We can't wait to see the results."