Museums changing lives in Northern Ireland
26 September 2023
Our mission is inspiring museums to change lives.
For the past decade, we have encouraged museums to place social impact at the core of their work through our flagship campaign, Museums Change Lives.
We define social impact – also known as social value or socially engaged practice – as work that purposely benefits people and communities. Across the UK, museums are influencing positive changes and fostering rich and meaningful relationships between staff, volunteers and participants, enhancing the lives of everyone involved.
We believe that, just as museums report on their economic and environmental impact, social impact can and should be articulated to provide a wider picture of the work that museums do and their value to society.
We know that many museums in Northern Ireland are pioneering innovative and impactful socially engaged practice, but mimimal data exists showing the scale and breadth of this work. In 2023, we secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to undertake targeted research to capture data about museums and social impact in Northern Ireland.
The research looked at four areas of social impact practice: health and wellbeing; placemaking; acting as a space for engagement, reflection and debate; and addressing the legacy of colonial collections.
Read the full report via the download below.
Lead image: Linen Lab project at FE McWilliam Gallery and Studio © Bradley Henderson