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The network

The development of collaboration between scientific research actors and civil society, which has been observed for several years, also applies to the fields of culture.
Heritage conservation, archives, archaeology, architecture and urban planning, computerised documentation, music, performing arts, written heritage, ethnology, sociolinguistics, visual arts, etc. In all these sectors, participatory approaches linked to research projects are emerging, accompanied by their share of specific questions.

What are the specific features of citizen research in the field of culture? How can we involve the public more effectively at all stages of the research process? How can we accommodate a citizen’s willingness to carry out research? How can the results be communicated to partners, participants and the general public?

The Particip-Arc network, supported by the French Ministry of Culture, aims to create a network of actors involved in citizen cultural research, to encourage the sharing of experiences and the reflective analysis of practices, as well as promoting and developing citizen science in the field of culture.

Musée de Bibracte. First recruitment workshop for the « Bulliot, Bibracte et Moi » project organised for the European Heritage Days. © Bibracte, Antoine Maillier, 2019

Brief history


The French Ministry of Culture is calling for expressions of interest in "Cultural research and citizen science", and is inviting researchers, professionals and representatives of civil society to create a network combining cultural research practices and participatory practices. The aim is to highlight the contribution of participatory approaches to cultural research projects in terms of methodological and scientific innovation, and to strengthen the capacity of citizens and cultural professionals to play an active role in research and innovation.


In response to this request, around thirty researchers and professionals from the cultural sector (archaeology, urban planning, linguistics, arts, musicology, communication, heritage, etc.) came together in a network called "Particip-Arc", coordinated by the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, (MNHN), Paris.

After a phase of sharing knowledge and expertise, and a wealth of questions and findings, the network decided to focus on three key areas:
- participation and public engagement;
- research and the changes brought about by citizen science;
- tools for participation, data collection and processing.

The main results of the network will be shared at a conference in July 2019, then in October as part of the TURFU festival organised by Le Dôme (Caen), as well as in a report submitted to the French Ministry of Culture in September 2019.


On the strength of this initial networking experience, the partners, supported by the French Ministry of Culture, agreed they were committed to continue working together. The Particip-Arc network then entered a consolidation phase, involving the structuring of the network's governance, the organisation of seminars to pursue collective reflection and exchange and the setting up of the network portal – a real showcase for projects and members. The aim was to consolidate the network's deployment and raise its profile among cultural research actors and the general public.

The actions

Network deployment and visibility

  • Encourage new members to join the network
  • Implement a network communication strategy
  • Consolidate management procedures

Exchanges and collaboration between the various actors

  • Organise themed seminars to stimulate network reflections, the production of summaries and innovation.
  • Organise thematic working groups. In 2021, a new group was launched aimed at identifying the bridges needed to link actors in citizen research programmes and visitors to museum exhibitions.

Running, maintaining and developing the Particip-Arc portal

  • Provide content for the portal: projects, resources, news, events, etc.
  • Consider the introduction of additional functionalities
Genealogical and autograph collections: identify, digitise and inventory documents in order for them to be classified, listed in the virtual inventory room and made available to all. @Archives Nationales

Network governance

The Particip-Arc network is organised around :

  • A network committee responsible for steering the network's strategy and actions. It comprises 6 to 10 members and meets 6 times a year.
  • Thematic working groups, depending on the actions that members wish to develop.

Conference organised by the Particip-Arc network, July 2019 @MNHN

A person or organisation takes part in the network

  • As a member: taking part in network discussions and seminars, contributing content to the portal, etc.
  • As an active member: taking part in the network committee and/or thematic working groups (workshops).

Once a year, all network members are invited to become active members by joining the network committee or one of the working groups.

Active members

Organisations involved in steering the network and its projects