Co-ordinated by Dr Sam Carroll, CMNH works with a wide range of local and community history organisations and projects to aid in their search for funding and to provide academic support, guidance and collaborative participation in the design and conduct of their research activities. Recently conversations and activities directed towards actual or potential funding bids have taken place with, among others, Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust; Brighton Women's Centre; Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Lewes History Society; rYico, the Rwandan Youth Information Community Organisation; QueenSpark Books; Sussex Traditions; Nutkut Performance Company; Fabrica; and Strike a Light Arts and Heritage Organisation.
Successful partnerships that have secured grant funding include those with ART:synch on the ‘Crossing the Teas’ project, bringing together community groups in Brighton and Hove from diverse cultural backgrounds to share tea-drinking practices, histories and stories, which secured a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £50k in 2014–15; and, more ambitiously, and also supported by a HTF award, ‘Our Dancing Feet’, a collaborative research project with the local community-theatre specialists Sara Clifford (inroads productions) and Veronica Stephens (Zap Arts), leading to performance on the social history of dance halls and fashion in the 1950s. In the first phase, focused on the Regent Dance Hall in Brighton, Dr Carroll trained a group of volunteers in oral history interviewing, transcription and analysis skills. The performance aspect included a projection of collected oral histories, dance and photographs on the side of Boots (where the dancehall once stood) and some interactive theatre based at Oceana's nightclub over a weekend in November 2013. CMNH also organised and hosted a well attended seminar in November with presentations by historians Professor Claire Langhamer (University of Sussex) and Dr Jane Hattrick (University of Brighton) to an audience that included substantial numbers of interviewees. In a further phase, a similar process also involving Dr Carroll, researching memories of The Winter Garden in Eastbourne, led to second event culminating in a performance at the venue over a weekend in March 2014.
Our collaboration with Zap Arts and inroads productions has continued in partnership with Gateways to the First World War with a successful application to HLF for for the Newhaven and Seaford-based oral history and drama project, ‘Home Fires. A haunting story of love and loss in the Great War’. The resulting production took place at Newhaven Fort on 18-21 March 2015. Through Gateways to the FWW we are also supporting the work of Strike A Light Arts and Heritage organisation on ‘The Orange Lilies’, an HLF-funded project to research and commemorate the men who fought and died in the Battle of Boar’s Head, 1916. Activities include the training of community researchers, the creation of a digital map of Brighton, to include biographical details of soldiers, and a range of public engagement and information activities. These include a public seminar on the First World War at the University’s City campus and a screening of the 1916 Battle of the Somme film at the Duke of York Picturehouse Brighton, both in November 2016.