Safe access phase two: Enabling positive wellbeing change for diverse heritage freelancers

The second phase of the Heritage Innovation Funded action research Safe Access Project is currently underway, setting out to promote wellbeing for diverse heritage freelancers. With collaboration at its core, the project is led by Nicki Foley and Sophie Meyer at Queer Kernow CIC and Freelance Project Manager, Jenna Marrion, working on behalf of AIM. 

The first Explore Phase of the project was undertaken by Queer Kernow CIC in collaboration with Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) during 2023, researching the experiences of freelancers within the rural context of Cornwall. Following the successful delivery of the first iteration of the project, the partners secured the second round of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver the succeeding Test Phase on a national scale. Upon its closure, CMP were delighted for the project to transition to AIM.

The principle aim of the project is to ensure that heritage organisations create safe and healthy cultures for their workers, freelancers and consultants, especially those from marginalised backgrounds. To garner a more robust understanding of the potential representation burden that marginalised people face when working with museums and heritage settings, the Test Phase of Safe Access will enable the team to expand on their work so far by researching the experiences of diverse freelancers and consultants in rural regions across the UK. 

As such, the team will be disseminating a survey and interviewing marginalised people about their experiences of working on projects with heritage institutions, to ensure that this research is centred on the voices of lived experience.

Click here for the expression of interest

Click here for the expression of interest – easy read version

Safe Access phase one:  Promoting Wellbeing for Diverse Researchers

Safe Access: Promoting Wellbeing for Diverse Researchers aimed to better understand the representation burden and impact on wellbeing experienced by marginalised people who engage professionally with museums, heritage organisations, and their collections. The project has been led by Cornwall Museums Partnership (CMP) and Queer Kernow.

The delivery of this work was supported by the expertise and lived experience of Queer Kernow, a non-profit community organisation which exists to challenge intolerance through education and outreach, connecting Cornwall’s current LGBTQ community with their past, and celebrating the rich, fascinating world of queer Cornish history.

Safe Access focussed on the experience of people working with museums and heritage organisations in Cornwall but its development and application is something we know to be of national relevance.

The below document is the outcome of our first phase of research through which we gathered rich qualitative data by interviewing 8 people, mostly non-salaried professionals such as freelancers and artists. These interviewees represented the experience of people from marginalised communities including; queer, trans, disabled, neuro-diverse, and Cornish ethnicity. The ultimate aim of gathering and analysing this data is to develop a richer understanding of the challenge to best inform the development of a framework or process which better protects individuals in the future.

Safe Access Project Report

The below video highlights some of the key experiences of the participants we interviewed for the Safe Access research project.