Discovering Collections Discovering Communities Conference DCDC15


DCDC (Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities) is a collaborative conference hosted by The National Archives and RLUK that explores inter-disciplinary, cross-sector approaches and opportunities to developing and widening access to the wealth of our collections through partnership and collaborative working, across the heritage, cultural and academic sectors


DCDC15 :: 12-14 October 2015

Exploring new digital destinations for heritage and academia


DCDC15 will look at the varied and innovative ways in which archives, museums, libraries and academia can engage with audiences in the digital age.

The last two decades have witnessed a flourishing of digital content across the heritage and academic sectors. Whether through the creation of digital discovery tools, mass digitisation and online delivery of content, or the creation of new virtual user interfaces; digital technology has come to complement traditional analogue formats to create an altogether richer user experience. The creation, delivery and curation of digital content provides great opportunities for audiences more actively to engage in, and enrich, both collections and the research based on them.

In doing so, our audiences have gone from being consumers of heritage content to active creators and curators, helping us to contextualise and interpret our rich and diverse collections. Crowd-sourced content has revealed the many hidden secrets behind heritage collections, giving them greater contemporary relevance and adding an increased complexity and diversity to established narratives. Digital platforms have democratised the experience and interpretation of heritage collections, not replacing the richness and importance of a physical encounter, but complementing these and widening their appeal. Finally, galleries and search rooms have been pebble-dashed with touch screens, hashtags, and barcodes. Our visitors are now as likely to leave with a mobile-phone app as they are with an exhibition poster. In doing so, the development of digital technologies have presented new opportunities for collaboration not only between our institutions, academics and sectors, but also new ways of collaborating with our users, whatever their purposes.

Digital platforms have provided many new and exciting opportunities, yet they have also presented new challenges for heritage and academic organisations. In what ways can we ensure that digital engagement is truly ‘engaging’? What is the relationship between online ‘hits’ and actual footfall? How can we better capture the meaningful ‘impact’ of engagement via digital means? And during a time of austerity, how can all sectors make the case for innovative digital engagement, not as an indulgent luxury, but as a necessity to preserve the broader relevance and wider-recognition of collections? This conference aims to explore the possibilities and also the pitfalls of digital engagement.

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Lowry 2

DCDC15 will be held at The Lowry, Greater Manchester (directions). Set in a magnificent waterside location at the heart of the redeveloped Salford Quays, The Lowry is an architectural flagship with a unique and dynamic identity.


We know that having the opportunity to network is an important part of any conference experience. That’s why we have arranged two social evening events during DCDC15.

On 12 October we will be holding a pre-conference drinks reception at the Imperial War Museum North. Whether you are new to DCDC, or if this is your second or third time, it will be the perfect occasion to get to know fellow delegates, both new faces and old, in the stunning exhibition space at IWM North.

On 13 October we will hold the main conference dinner at The Lowry. This is a second opportunity for you to make new contacts, discuss the conference presentations and even (as some of our delegates did at the 2014 conference) brainstorm potential collaborative project ideas with other professionals.


Click here to register for DCDC15

View the list of organisations currently registered for DCDC15

Conference fees

There is no fee to attend the conference, however, a small charge applies for both evening events:

– Pre-conference evening reception ( held at Imperial War Museum North): £15 (£19.48 inc VAT & Eventbrite fee)
– Conference Dinner: £25 (£32.03 inc VAT & Eventbrite fee)
– Reduced price for both evening events: £30 (£38.30 inc VAT & Eventbrite fee)

Please note: we will not be able to refund any cancellations made after 18 September 2015.

Archives+ tour

There are limited spaces to attend the Archives+ tour on Monday, 12 October. In order to secure a place please ensure you select an ‘Archives+ tour’ ticket along with a conference ticket.

Registration instructions

Please select all the tickets that you require – this may require you to select more than one ticket.

Example 1: If you will be attending the full conference only and none of the evening events then select the ‘Full Conference’ ticket.

Example 2: If you will be attending on 13 October and the pre-conference evening reception then select BOTH the ‘Day ticket 13 October’ and ‘ Pre-conference reception’ tickets.

Example 3: If you will be attending the full conference, both evening events and the Archives+ tour then select ‘Full Conference’ and ‘Both evening events 12&13 October’ and ‘Archives+ tour’ tickets.

If selecting more than one ticket you will be required to fill in information for all. Complete your details for the first ticket and then use the ‘copy data from’ dropdown option to automatically populate information on subsequent tickets.

Photography disclaimer

Please be advised that photography and filming will take place at this event. The footage will be used by RLUK and The National Archives in future promotional material and publications.

Attendance at the Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities conference constitutes the registrant’s consent for RLUK and The National Archives to photograph/film and use their image and likeness without further notification.


Delegates will need to arrange their own accommodation. Below is a list of hotels close to the conference venue (these hotels are not endorsed by The National Archives or RLUK and we cannot vouch as to their quality or availability):

Holiday Inn Express, Salford Quays
Holiday Inn Manchester, Media City
Copthorne Hotel, Manchester
Premier Inn, Salford Quays
Ramada Manchester Salford Quays
Quay Apartments
Travelodge Manchester Salford Quays