Cultures and memories

Cultures and memories

Women sharing skills and traditions
Women sharing skills and traditions at the 'BAM! Sistahood!' project
These are the customs and traditions, skills and knowledge, passed down to us through generations

They are also our personal histories, and the experiences that have shaped us and our society.

Since 1994 we have awarded over £500m to 26,700 community and cultural heritage projects across the UK.

What do we support?

We fund projects which help to explore, save and celebrate the traditions, customs, skills and knowledge of different communities.

This cultural heritage is sometimes referred to as intangible or living heritage. This is because it is constantly changing and kept alive when practiced or performed.

We also fund projects which document and share people’s memories. These projects often involve oral history interviews, capturing people’s stories and opinions digitally, and making sure they are deposited and accessible now and in the future.

Project ideas

Our funding could help people:

  • research and share oral traditions, such as storytelling or local dialects
  • train others in traditional skills and crafts, from dry stone walling and blacksmithing to basket weaving and textile making
  • research the origins of culture, such as music, theatre or dance, and create performances influenced by past styles
  • share the history and fun of celebrations, festivals or rituals with new audiences, from games and cooking to carnivals and fayres
  • capture accounts of traditional knowledge or pass it on, such as woodland management or home remedies
  • record the stories of ordinary people through oral histories, for example about growing up, migration or work
  • retell people’s memories about a place or event, such as a long-stay hospital, the miners' strikes or the punk movement

How to get funding

Our National Lottery Grants for Heritage programme has resumed with refocused priorities until the end of the 2022–2023 financial year. Find out more and apply.

Crowd watching aerial performance
Design visual of the Wondrous Stories production. Credit: Motionhouse and Birmingham 2022 Festival

Projects

Birmingham 2022 Festival: spotlighting creativity in the West Midlands

Running from March to September 2022, the £12million festival will feature hundreds of artistic commissions, engaging a local and national audience with Birmingham’s cultural heritage.

Children and adults dancing and smiling
Pakiki Theatre group.

Projects

Exploring Newham’s Olympics heritage

Pakiki Theatre’s Who wants to be an Olympian? project will explore the sporting heritage of the Olympics and Paralympics with young people in Newham.

Person from Newham Music Trust performing
Credit: Newham Music Trust

Projects

The Olympics 2012 Legacy Songbook

Newham Music Trust will create a music programme to help Newham’s schools explore the positive impact London 2012 had on the area.

Outfits on display
Queer Looks exhibition at Brighton Museum. Credit: Tessa Hallmann

Projects

Wear it Out: the heritage of LGBTQ+ dress in Sussex, 1917-2017

This cultural heritage project explored how some people from LGBTQ+ communities have historically used clothing to express identity. It focused on Sussex in the time period 1917-2017.

Pride march 1974
Pride march, 1974. Credit: Wikimedia

Stories

Saving LGBTQ+ stories before they are lost forever

A new Heritage Fund project might be the last chance to capture the experiences of LGBTQ+ people in Manchester who remember life before the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
Old photo showing large billboard with the words "AIDS: don't die of ignorance"
Don’t Die of Ignorance campaign billboard in Levenshulme, c.1986. Credit: Manchester Archives and Local Studies.

Projects

Pride! Prevention! Protection! Let’s Talk About Sex

LGBT Foundation recorded the memories of people involved in and affected by safer sex campaigns from the 1980s to the present day.