CFP: Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities

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Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities (DCDC) is the conference of collaboration between the archive, library, museum and academic sectors. Now in its fifth year, DCDC provides a platform for colleagues to come together in joint conversation, looking beyond their own specialisms to forge new partnerships and enhance the social,
cultural and economic impact of our unique collections.

DCDC17 :: 27-29 November 2017 :: The Lowry, Salford Quays

The cultural value of collections and the creative economy

In today’s uncertain political and economic climate the ability to demonstrate why heritage and culture matter – and to whom - has never been more important or relevant. The ways in which we gather, measure and present evidence of cultural value and impact has attracted increasing attention in recent years, as emphasis has led to a stronger focus on the experience of individuals and of communities.

Archives, libraries, museums and heritage organisations across the UK and further afield have played a leading role in this movement. They have actively looked to examine, capture and measure the wider social, cultural and economic impact of their collections, and to engage more effectively with a wider variety of audiences. Work in this area continues to evolve, as does the need for new and better ways of evidencing value and impact through continuing research and the effective sharing of experiences within and between sectors.

DCDC17 will consider how, by working collaboratively through networks of inter and crossdisciplinary initiatives, we can continue to improve and develop methodologies in order to build a strong evidence base to demonstrate the cultural value of collections and their contribution to the creative economy.

We welcome proposals on collaborative projects involving library, archive, museum, heritage and cultural sectors in partnership with communities, scholars, education and funders. For 2017, we would particularly be interested on submissions within the following themes:

  • Heritage and the human experience: hidden voices, social cohesion, diversity and public wellbeing.
  • The cultural landscape: heritage buildings, regeneration, and engaging audiences with real and imagined environments.
  • Curative collections: understanding and reflecting voices in conflict, dissent, displacement, repatriation and recovery.
  • New value in old things: opening up collections through original research, heritage science, the internet, and digital technology.
  • Collections and enterprise: the challenges and opportunities of utilising collections for revenue generation, managing the relationship between culture and the corporate, and overcoming the hurdles of copyright.
  • Innovative interpretations: presenting traditional collections to new audiences through art, design, and performance.
  • Measuring value: holistic value frameworks, benchmarking, cultural and academic partnerships, impact, and the REF.
  • The politics of collections: advocacy for collections, funding, institutional and community support and investment.


The conference organisers invite abstracts for the delivery of 20-minute presentations. 10 minutes will be allowed for questions after each presentation.


The conference organisers also invite the submission of abstracts for panel proposals. Panels should include three 20-minute papers and include a named panel chair. They can be submitted on any pertinent topic within the conference theme and can include papers relating to an individual project, emerging initiative, or ‘state of the nation’ overview.

Workshops & roundtables

As part of DCDC17 the organisers also welcome proposals for:

  • Practical workshops on (but not limited to):
    • funding and sustainability
    • interactive projects
    • education & outreach
  • Roundtable sessions by professional networks & societies

All workshops should involve a high level of interactivity and/or training which should be clearly demonstrated in the abstract.

Roundtable sessions should include no more than five speakers speaking for five minutes each. We encourage professional networks and societies to lead on these sessions discussing issues relevant to the conference theme.

Both workshops and roundtables should be open to all conference delegates and require no prior knowledge or preparation.

Submission format

All submissions should be presented in the following format as a word document:

  • Name, job title and organisation of speaker/s
  • Presentation/panel/seminar title
  • A summary of no more than 100 words (this will be printed in the conference
  • programme)
  • A more detailed abstract of no more than 300 words
  • Any scheduling conflicts for speakers


All abstracts should be submitted to both Melanie Cheung ( and Laura Tompkins ( by Sunday 30 April.

Any submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.

About the conference

The DCDC conference series is run in partnership between The National Archives and Research Libraries UK.


Public Engagement with Research