Norman Connections is a European partnership project linking Anglo-Norman heritage sites in South-East England and Normandy to promote our shared history and explore common cultures, traditions, and characters. Norfolk Museum Service is one of nine partners in the INTERREG IV A FRance (Channel) funded project.
Desired project outcomes:
- Discover more about our sites through academic research and archaeological excavations.
- Site development - using innovative technology and public events to bring Anglo-Norman history to life.
- A shared approach to the conservation and interpretation of our sites.
What worked well:
- Hiring a consultant to develop the bid.
- Optimum number of partners with strong leadership.
- Mutual trust and respect, and complementary skill set.
- Shared goals and enthusiasm for the subject.
- Promoting the project internally and involving colleagues. Staff exchanges not only provided the opportunity to network and acquire new skills and knowledge, but also enabled staff buy-in.
- A genuine legacy, as evidenced by a memorandum of understanding.
- International conference on archaeology, architecture, and artefacts.
- Bilingual website.
- 3D reconstructions of partner castles.
- Tourism brochure and joint marketing campaign.
- Promotional film.
Lessons learned and top tips:
- Don’t underestimate the support needed to deal with financial and administrative work.
- Don’t underestimate the amount of staff time that could be eligible as match funding.
- Ensure there is a contingency budget for non-eligible spends.
- Expect long delays before claimed funds are released due to auditing processes.
- Retain all records relating to project expenditure (including originals of all documents).
- Photograph all project activities for audit purposes.
- Raise issues as they arise (this will help ensure a more favourable response when requesting budget modifications).
- Beware of fluctuating EUR/GBP exchange rates; monitor your budget closely.
- Don’t be put off by the physical distance between partners, a language barrier, or complex funding requirements. International partnership work can be an incredibly rewarding and valuable experience. You may be surprised at how quickly you adjust to new ways of working and communicating.
Angela Riley, Norman Connections Project Officer, Norfolk Museums Service