New Wave

New Wave is our annual training and development programme that takes a small cohort through a structured 5 session course focused on working with young adults to develop new, innovative Heritage Open Days events.

Collage depicting dozens of New Wave events from the festival, for example, yoga, t-shirt making, walking tours, escape rooms, pop up cinemas

How does it work?

New Wave is guided by three key themes:

  • Learning from others - we encourage and support participants to find examples of past events that have successfully engaged young people, both in the cultural sector and beyond. New Wave aims to learn from and build upon the previous work that has been done in this area.
  • Understanding our audience - New Wave focuses heavily on utilising audience data to inform and guide our approach. The project aims to build an in-depth understanding of the motivations, aspirations, and barriers when it comes to youth engagement in the cultural sector.
  • Co-creation and collaboration - New Wave is about producing events working directly with young adults. Our participants are supported and encouraged to work with this target audience to plan, promote, and deliver their events.

How can I get involved?

Applications for New Wave usually open every year in November. Details on how to apply for New Wave 2025 will be published after the 2024 festival.

Why are we doing this?

Over the years the festival has evolved from just opening doors to encompassing a wide range of innovative and dynamic events. However, too often we’re still perceived as only being for traditional heritage audiences. New Wave seeks to change that. It aims to enable the delivery of high quality events that push the boundaries of what people expect of Heritage Open Days, widening our appeal to audience groups that we have previously struggled to reach.

How do participants benefit?

Each year participating organisers receive funding to put on their event, and get specialist guidance and support from guest speakers, for example, the Imperial War Museums, the Tate, the Audience Agency, Kids in Museums, Historic England, Decision House, Y Heritage Leicester YMCA, and Chloé Nelkin Consulting have all spoken previously. Building on these training sessions participants conduct their own local research and engage local young people collaboratively to create new events at their sites. From these learnings, new connections and partnerships are formed and a whole host of exciting events are put together.

It was amazing - so nice to do things in a small group setting (especially the in-person session) so that we could get to know one another. Super supportive and responsive team and I will be recommending the programme to others.


New Wave 2022

Past participants

Past participants have created a range of innovative events including interactive workshops, escape rooms, museum lates, outdoor cinemas, and all sorts of quirky pop-ups. See who took part:

A circle with blue, pink, orange and green outline

ArtCare UK

A logo showing a golden line drawing of a ship

The Golden Hinde 

A logo showing a white owl wearing a crown on a green background

Middleton Hall & Gardens

Logo showing the text "North Yorkshire Moors Railway" around the letters "NYMR" in a oval shape.

North Yorskhire Moors Railway

logo showing red text "Red Brick Building"

Red Brick Building

Logo showing the text "St Alfege Church"

St Alfege Church

Logo showing the text "Cultura Trust" with a pink A

Cultura Trust

Logo showing text "Harlow Art Trust" on a black background

Harlow Art Trust


Newport Minster 

Logo showing text "Ouseburn Trust"

Ouseburn Trust

Logo showing text "The Roman Baths Bath" on a purple background

The Roman Baths 

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Tyntesfield (National Trust)

Logo show text "Forum Cinema Hexham"

Forum Cinema Hexham

Logo showing the text "Lyceum Theatre Crewe" on a dark blue background

Lyceum Theatre Crewe

A green logo with a bird

North Pennines National Landscape


The Pankhurst Centre

Logo showing the text "SHOP" on a red background.

Shop Preston CIC


20-21 Visual Arts Centre (North Lincolnshire Council)


Logo with text All Saints North Street next to a cross shaped graphic.

All Saints North Street (York) 

A red circle with a white letter P inside.

Gorleston Pavilion

Logo showing a silhouette of a building above purple text that that reads "Mechanics' Institution Trust"

Mechanics' Institute Trust

Oxford Preservation Trust Logo - 95th anniversary edition.

Oxford Preservation Trust

A light blue logo with a white illustrative graphic of ivy and gravestones above the text "Wardsend Cemetery Heritage Park"

Wardsend Cemetery

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Bath Assembly Rooms

An illustrational logo with environmental drawings forming the word GROW.

Grow North Staffs 

Logo showing the Royal Navy flag and the text "The National Museum" and "Royal Navy"

National Royal Navy Museum

Logo showing the text "Shakespeare birthplace trust" in three red and orange boxes

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Logo. Green oak leaf.

575 Wandsworth Road

A logo with the text "The Birmingham Botanical Gardens An Educational Charity"

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

A circular green and white logo with a silhouette of a building with a round roof and the text "Lister Steps at the Old Library"

Lister Steps

Logo showing a multi-coloured circle made up of petal shapes next to the words "Inspire Culture | Learning | Libraries"

Nottinghamshire Archives

Logo showing a multi-coloured circlar illustration that includes a lion and vase next to the words "Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens"

Sunderland Museum & Winter Garden

A logo showing a 'H' is blue with the words "Berwick Heritage Open Days" surrounding the 'H' in a circle.

Berwick Archives

Logo for Evesham Abbey Trust with a yellow, blue and green illustration.

Evesham Abbey Trust


Logo showing the text "The Landmark Trust" in a red square.

The Landmark Trust

Logo with text "University of Cambridge" above "Open Cambridge" in a white seven sided shape.

The University of Cambridge

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Crook Hall and Gardens

A green logo with the text "Devon & Exeter Medical Heritage Trust"

Devon & Exeter Medical Heritage Trust

Logo showing the text " St Albans Cathedral"

St Albans Cathedral

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Dunham Massey 

Hillingdon council logo with the Hillingdon's coat of arms and the text "Hillingdon London"

Hillingdon Council


A blue logo for the Thames Discover Project

The Thames Discover Project (Museum of London Archaeology)

The words "the forum" on a blue background

The Forum Trust


A badger's face next to the text "Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust"

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

The words "Brighton & Hove Museums" next to a multi-coloured & sign.

Brighton and Hove Museums (was Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust)

The logo for Friends of Flaxmill Maltings showing a silhouette of the maltings buildings with 'Flaxmill Maltings' text inside  the silhouette.

Friends of Flaxmill Maltings


The word "Locomotion" on a blue and purple gradient background



Blue text "Wheal Martyn Clay Works" with a line illustration above it of a tree and clay works.

Wheal Martyn Clay Works

A pink and blue curved line above with words "Archive Resource Centre Where guiding history comes alive!"

Girlguiding Norfolk Archive Resource Centre

Logo showing the words "The Reader" next to a large lowercase r.

The Reader

A black circle with 'a space arts' text inside and a smaller striped black and white circle.

'a space' arts

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Lyme Park

A logo with the text "University of West London The Career University" next to a grey and blue U shape

University of West London

A logo for Brierley Hill Community Forum with the letters BHCF all connected.

Brierley Hill Community Forum

The words Sheffield Civic Trust next to a diagonal line.

Sheffield Civic Trust

Logo. Green oak leaf.

Wentworth Castle Gardens

A kite shape divided into four colours with East Suffolk Council text below.

East Suffolk Council

The words 'The South Asia Collection' above a photograph showing a large gallery with red brick walls and a domed wooden roof.

The South Asia Collection

Find out more

  • 2023 year in review - See what participants got up to last year
  • Newsletter - Join our newsletter for updates straight to your inbox
  • Blog - More stories and behind the scenes news from the team!