Based on questions raised at our Mentor Training Day and Networking Event, the below FAQs help to give those involved a clearer understanding of the project.
How do we deal with sensitive histories?
Historians and museums deal with sensitive and complex issues frequently. The research will be conducted using records that are in the public domain and our advice is that research should be restricted to pre-1920 and any research after this date must be based on reliable records that are in the public domain without breaching third-party copyright (e.g. Probate Records, 1939 register). Any reference to living individuals can only be made with their written consent. Museums operate within the Museums Association Code of Conduct.
Can we use existing research and current reports on contemporary issues that rhyme with the 19th century issues?
Research into contemporary poverty is potentially an important part of the project, especially when it comes to the eventual exhibition. This research should be focused on material in the public domain. Any research into specific living individuals would require ethical clearance. This might form part of a future project.
Is there going to be an area where we can all support each other, across regions, such as a closed Facebook group?
For regional mentors, please use the closed Google Group for support across regions - there is a wealth knowledge within this group that we must utilise. We advise each regional site to also make the most of this format, or indeed similar closed email groups, within their individual teams - please contact your regional mentor to find out if there is a platform already in place.
Is there any funding available for record searches/certificates etc?
Whilst in some cases it might be helpful to purchase certain certificates/documents, for the purpose of our project it might not be so essential. If you come across a document that you believe is completely necessary to further the story of your inmate, please do contact your regional mentor to discuss this further. If it is agreed that the document is needed, please email Elspeth Hunter, Project Support Officer, with the price of the document and a rationale as to why you think it is vital. Please do not purchase the document without receiving consent as we cannot guarantee these costs will be reimbursed. There may also be other ways of obtaining the document so please speak to us first.
Are there deadlines or targets to meet within the next 12 months?
There are two strict deadlines that we must meet; all biographies and inmate life history summaries must be completed and submitted by January 6th, 2020; the final exhibition and digital exhibition must be ready to open by June, 2020.
I can't run skill sessions - can I get some help?
Please use the Skill Session Guidance document, found on the Project-Specific Resources page. If you think you need further support, please do contact Elspeth Hunter, Project Support Officer, detailing your concerns.
There may be times when research calls for travelling to locations - will there be funding for this?
Unfortunately, we are working with a very tight budget. As such, there is no funding for groups of volunteers to travel to various locations for research, such as The National Archives. However, there are many individuals involved with the project that will want to visit various archives out of their own interest. We advise that these individuals make themselves known to their group in case they have capacity to search out information on other inmates, or indeed in case fellow researchers wish to join them.