Oxford University and National Trust announce new research partnership

national trust archives

University research with the National Trust’s inspiring places and collections.

Marking the first investment of this kind by the National Trust in a university, the partnership will create new opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange, public engagement and training between the two organisations.

The venture has grown out of the Trusted Source Knowledge Transfer Partnership, which ran from 2016-18 and was funded by the National Trust, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and InnovateUK.

Trusted Source provided a means to bring academic research into the National Trust’s interpretation, drawing on experts to create materials that enhance visitor engagement with the properties, landscapes and collections in the charity’s care, supporting its ambition to move, teach and inspire its visitors and supporters. Trusted Source resulted in new online content for the Trust’s website and interpretation at pilot properties.

Now the expanded partnership will support new research, knowledge exchange and training through a range of workstreams at both organisations, including academic research placements and consultancy, conferences, workshops, lectures and events, and student opportunities.

The new partnership will be funded by the National Trust for an initial period of three years. It will be based in Oxford’s Humanities Division and is intended to be interdisciplinary, building partnerships across the University’s academic Divisions.

Professor Karen O’Brien, Head of Oxford’s Humanities Division, said: ‘The University of Oxford is delighted to establish this innovative partnership with the National Trust. This flagship collaboration will create exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and public engagement with the National Trust’s inspiring places, collections, staff and visitors.’

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, said: ‘The National Trust and Oxford University have a strong history of collaboration. This new partnership will create even more opportunities for bringing cutting-edge academic research into the stories we tell about the places and collections in our care.’

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Image Credit: National Trust visitors look at the wooden drawers in the Muniment or Evidence Room at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire. National Trust Images/John Millar