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New Barns-Graham Archive Opens

3rd November 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Scran was lucky enough to be invited to the opening of the new Wilhelmina Barns-Graham Trust headquarters in Edinburgh on Wednesday night, and we were blown away by the sheer scale of the archive there. The artist, known as “Willie” to her friends and colleagues, was based for many years at Balmungo House near St. Andrews in Fife, until her death in 2004. Balmungo House was the Trust’s headquarters throughout the 2010s, but was recently sold, with the proceeds being used to fund the Trust’s charitable works. As well as curating the artist’s legacy, the Trust provides scholarships and bursaries to students, and funds a number of artist-in-residence programs.

The move from Fife to Edinburgh should result in an increased awareness of Willie’s works and influence, and the new building, an old ambulance station just off Leith Walk, provides an ideal showcase for her legacy. A temperature-controlled storage facility ensures that valuable artworks can be stored under optimum conditions, while her library of books and collection of Cornish pottery is on display in another part of the building. Scholars, students, researchers and others are encouraged to make an appointment to visit.

 

Scran has had an association with the Trust for a number of years; they kindly licensed a selection of Willie’s digitised works to our database in 2012, and you can find them here. The Trust is at 77 Brunswick Street, Edinburgh EH7 5HS, and can be contacted by email at info@barns-grahamtrust.org.uk or by telephone: 0131 209 7870.

 

http://barns-grahamtrust.org.uk/

 

Miners’ Strike 1984-85

23rd May 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

2017 is the Scottish year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and May is the month in which we highlight Scotland’s industrial heritage. For International Museums Day on May 18th this year, archives and museums including Scran were asked to contribute materials on the theme of “contested histories”. We had a think about an appropriate subject, and decided to draw on our extensive archives (and those of Canmore at www.canmore.org.uk) to tell the story of the 1984-85 miners’ strike in Scotland, a story that definitely has two sides, and remains controversial to this day.

Drawing on documentary photos, leaflets, flyers, posters, badges, interviews and video recordings from archives and museum collections including the National Museums of Scotland and the Scottish Mining Museum, the story takes the form of a long essay and is an attempt to look at the human side of the dispute as much as the industrial one. For technical reasons, the essay is hosted at www.canmore.org.uk/discovery/strike rather than on Scran.

 

Image: © Mr David Hamilton. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

 

Chrystal Macmillan- suffragist, feminist, peace activist, barrister

27th February 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Chrystal Macmillan, barristerScran has recently been a part of the Audacious Women’s Festival and, as a result of some fortuitous meetings, we were delighted to learn about Chrystal Macmillan. We were aware that there is a Chrystal Macmillan Building at Edinburgh University, but were blissfully ignorant of her achievements; there was certainly very little mention of her on Scran before this February. Luckily, we crossed paths with Helen Kay who thought we might be interested in some digitised archive materials that were in the care of the Macmillan family. To cut a long story short, we were very interested, and these materials are now on Scran. Many thanks to Helen for bringing these images to our attention, and to John Herdman and Iain Macmillan for kindly allowing us to share them with our users.

Chrystal Macmillan was a a suffragist, a feminist, a peace activist and barrister. She was educated at St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh, where she was the first woman to graduate from the science faculty in 1896 with a first class honours degree in mathematics and natural philosophy. She became active in feminist causes, joining the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage and later becoming an executive committee member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS).

In 1908 presented her case to the House of Lords that female university graduates should be given the right to vote, later becoming secretary of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. With the outbreak of World War I she turned her attention to peace activism, and following the Armistice she was an envoy from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) to the Paris Peace Conference, which was held in 1919. She went on to become a barrister in 1924.

You can read more of her story, see her family portraits and school life at scran.ac.uk/s/chrystal+macmillan.

Image © John HerdmanLicensor Scran 

 

Paolozzi in the news

21st February 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Paolozzi artworkThe late Edinburgh-based artist pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi is very much in the news at the moment.  His famous murals at London’s Tottenham Court Road tube station have just been restored after being stowed away during renovation works (see video below), The Whitechapel Gallery is holding a retrospective of his work, while an Edinburgh brewery has recently started manufacturing a Paolozzi beer that pays homage to the artist.
Meanwhile, on a short stroll past Edinburgh University the other day, a staff member spotted  an original Paolozzi artwork in a window (above). You can see a similar work, along with other Paolozzi sketches and artworks here.

 

Image © Andrew James

 

Audacious Women 2017

30th December 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

A gran on a skateboardScran is delighted to be taking part in the second Audacious Women Festival in February 2017, and we’d like your help. The festival was established in 2016 and this year takes place over the week of 18th to 26th February 2017. Comprising theatre, spoken word, poetry, workshops and more, the Festival aims to inspire women of all ages to “break down personal, political or institutional barriers, and to celebrate audacious women everywhere…women who have flaunted convention, taken risks and done audacious acts”.

As part of the Festival, Scran has been invited to curate an exhibition of Audacious Women at Edinburgh’s Central Library on George IV Bridge throughout the whole of February, and we plan to include sections on female pioneers such as Marie Stopes, Chrystal Macmillan and Elsie Inglis. But we want to include some public suggestions in our list of Audacious Women, and tell some stories about lesser-known female pioneers, or simply women who stepped outside their own comfort zone, in however small a way . And this is where we need your help. We’d like you to nominate your own Audacious Women for inclusion- perhaps your grandmother who was a pioneering campaigner, or your sister who conquered her fear of heights, or your mum, the first person in your family to go into further education. We’d love to hear their stories, and if you have any images, so much the better.  We can include the best ones in the exhibition, and, with your permission, all of the submitted materials can appear on Scran for others to see and read about.

To nominate someone you know, simply get in contact with us by e-mail here. Simply tell us who you’d like to nominate and why, and we’ll get back to you by e-mail to find out more and perhaps obtain a picture or two.

The exhibition runs from February 1st to February 28th 2017.

Image © Newsquest (Herald & Times) | Licensor Scran

 

 

SPAN – Forth Bridges Exhibition in Kirkcaldy, Fife

16th November 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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Invitation to Forth Rail Bridge opening of 1890

Whenever Scran engages with the public, one of the most frequently asked questions is “What is the ‘Buy’ button under Scran records for?” For the most part our users can ignore it; all Scran subscribers are entitled to save, download and reuse any of our records for non-commercial purposes (and our institutional subscribers can share our records within and between institutions too). But what happens when you want to use Scran records in a commercial or public situation, one which isn’t covered by the above? When you’re publishing a magazine or a book, for example? Or creating an exhibition for the general public? That’s where the ‘Buy’ button comes in.

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Clicking the button initiates a ‘licensing’ process, where the user tells us what they want to use the record (image, audio clip or video clip) for. Scran then gives the user a quote for usage, and the price for usage depends on how many times the record will be used, and where, and at what size; the price for using a large Scran image on the cover of a book that will be printed 100,000 times will be greater, for example, than that for a thumbnail image that will be reprinted on page 8 of a small circulation newsletter. The money raised by licensing materials in this way is split 50/50 between Scran and the owners of the materials.

One organisation that recently licensed a nimg_25141umber of Scran records in this way is Fife Cultural Trust, and Scran recently paid a visit to Kirkcaldy Galleries to see the resulting exhibition ‘SPAN- a Tale of Three Bridges + Kate Downie‘. It’s a great look at the history of the Forth Rail Bridge, the first Forth Road Bridge and the new road bridge that is due to open next year, and, in a separate gallery, there is a series of artistic responses by Kate Downie to the bridges themselves. In the first gallery, the history of the bridges, Scran images make up over 50% of the exhibition, and you can see some of the pictures that were used, in context, below. We especially like the large scale invitation for the opening of the Forth Rail Bridge, from National Museums Scotland- we think it looks great at such a scale. The exhibition continues until February 2017.

© Image: Forth Rail Bridge opening of 1890 from National Museums Scotland. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe

2nd August 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

  

108600046For three weeks every August the population of Edinburgh explodes as thousands of performers and their audiences fill the city. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the biggest arts festival in the world!

History

In 1947, eight theatre companies came to Edinburgh wanting to perform at The Edinburgh International Festival. The Festival had been formed after the Second World War to celebrate cultural life in Europe. As the eight companies were uninvited they did not get to perform as part of the official Festival, but they performed anyway, finding unusual venues for their shows. Every year after that more and more companies returned to follow their example. In 1948 Scottish playwright and journalist, Robert Kemp said while writing about the Edinburgh International Festival: “Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before”, giving this ever growing festival its name.

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Festival Fringe Society, the box office 1977

The Festival Fringe Society

At first the theatre companies performing at the Fringe managed everything themselves, but in 1951 the University of Edinburgh set up a centre point for performers to eat, sleep and meet. It proved popular. The following year the University set up a box office. However, not all Fringe theatre companies used it. In fact, some of them were very much opposed to the idea. In 1959, a year that saw 19 companies perform, the Festival Fringe Society was set up. It ran a drop-in centre, a box office and published a programme of all Fringe performances. Over the years the society, along with the Festival, has grown in size. It has begun to employ paid staff alongside original volunteer roles. Despite these developments the society has maintained the same principle that anyone can perform at the Fringe.

Variety of Spaces & Performances

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Street Performance, fire eater on the Royal Mile

  • It has always been the policy of the Festival Fringe that anyone can perform. Even after the formation of the Fringe Society no person or group can decide who can or can’t perform at the Festival Fringe. This has led to a huge range of performances from classical to bizarre. There is something for everyone regardless of your tastes.
  • A festival of such a huge size requires a lot of venues to house performances. There are a huge variety of spaces used, theatres, old church halls, courtyards, conference rooms, lecture theatres, school gym halls and even the back of a taxi.
  • In recent years comedy has become the biggest part of the Fringe followed by theatre. The Fringe programme is split into different categories; Comedy, Theatre, Music, Musicals and Opera, Dance and Physical Theatre, Children’s Shows, Exhibitions and Events.

The Royal Mile

With so many shows on at the same time the choice for audiences can be overwhelming. Many performers showcase their acts on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. A pedestrianised section becomes an advertising space where performers can make contact with the public, hand out flyers and publicise their shows. Small stages are set aside for actors to perform extracts of their pieces. This area also attracts Street Performers and huge crowds gather to watch them juggle, perform magic, dance and busk.

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A young Rowan Atkinson gets an award at the Fringe 1979

Famous Performers

The Fringe has helped to launch the careers of many now-famous actors and comedians, and for many is still a favourite performing opportunity. Some of the performers who got their big break at the Fringe include Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Stephen Fry, Rowan Atkinson, Steve Coogan, Christian Slater, Derek Jacobi and Emma Thompson.

Image © Cairns Aitken, The Scotsman, Marius Alexander  Licensor Scran

All the Rage

29th July 2016 by Scran

I had to do some work in South Edinburgh this lunchtime, and took the opportunity to drop in to the Open Door in Morningside to see the Scran-enabled exhibition “All The Rage” (see posts below). It’s obvious that a lot of hard work went into it, and the quotes from the Open Door’s clients were a great addition to the Scran photos of yesteryear’s fashions on display throughout the ground floor of the building. It’s on until August 12th, and if you’re in the area well the exhibition is well worth a look.

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This gallery contains 6 photos

Exhibition Now Open

13th July 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

All The Rage | Memories of Post War Fashion 1940s – 1960s

An exhibition of photographs from the Scran collections curated in partnership with The Open Door’s Good Neighbour Club opens today at The Open Door Cafe in Edinburgh’s Morningside.  Stunning images of fads and fashions from the 1940s to the 1960s are brought to life by club members’ own memories gathered through a series of reminiscence workshops.

fifties fashion

The Open Door supports older people and those with mental health issues.  It offers an inclusive space for social groups, creative arts and volunteering opportunities at its centre.

The exhibition runs from 13th July to 12th August at The Open Door Cafe, 420 Morningside High Street, Edinburgh, EH10 5HY.

 

Image © Scottish Borders Council by kind permission of Woolmark. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk.

Willaim Leiper 1839-1916

7th July 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

The work of the Glasgow architect William Leiper is often overshadowed by that of his near-contemporaries Alexander “The Greek” Thomson and Charles Rennie Mackintosh. However, he was nearly as prolific and eye-catching as his more well-known colleagues, and his most well-regarded building, the Templeton Carpet factory in Glasgow, is as stunning today as when it was completed over 100 years ago.

In the centenary year of his death, his life and work is being celebrated in a small exhibition at the appropriately-named Leiper Fine Art gallery in Glasgow. Housed in the William Leiper-designed Sun Life Building, the gallery hosts regular exhibitions by fine artists, but for the next two months as part of the Festival of Architecture, it is also hosting a small but informative exhibition on the life and works of the building’s designer. As well as photos of his many buildings, including Auchenbothie House in Kilmacolm and Kinlochmoidart House in the Highlands, the exhibition includes two terrific scale models of one of his buildings but also a large luxury yacht he designed for a Russian tsar! The exhibition features contributions from Scran’s esteemed colleague, Mr Simon Green of Historic Environment Scotland.

Definitely worth a look if you are in Glasgow city centre, the exhibition runs until mid-September.

Templeton's Carpet Factory

Leiper exhibition poster

Images © Charles McKean, Andrew James Licensor Scran