Cultures and memories

These are the customs and traditions, skills and knowledge, passed down to us through generations

They are also our personal histories, 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 for 2021-22. Find out more and apply.

Oral History guidance

Publications

Oral History guidance

Oral history is the recording and archiving of people’s memories, feelings and attitudes.
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Projects

Llanfyllin history and memories

The ‘Llanfyllin ni – our Llanfyllin’ project in Mid Wales is recording the contribution made by people living with learning disabilities to their local community.

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Project participants

Projects

Rediscovering 800 years of disability history

The Accentuate History of Place focuses on exploring disabled people’s lives from the Middle Ages to the present day, in relation to built heritage.