We were delighted to be invited to contribute to Age Scotland‘s 75th anniversary celebrations this week. The organisation, renamed in 2009 when Age Concern and Help The Aged merged, held a wonderful party at the Scottish Parliament at which MSPs Lord George Foulkes and Christine Grahame both spoke.
Campaigning for and supporting older people in society has always been Age Scotland’s role, going back to 1945 when it was known as the Scottish Old People’s Welfare Committee. The emphasis is slightly less on “helping” the aged or on “concern” for the elderly today (though, of course, Age Scotland still supports those in need); today the organisiation’s new motto “Love Later Life” demonstrates its commitment to activity and independent living in retirement years.
As well as providing images (such as this one) for Age Scotland’s celebratory brochure “Speaking Up For Our Age”, Scran plans to host some of the material that has been rediscovered in the AGE Scotland archives, and this should appear on our site in 2019. Watch this space.
Many thanks to Elizabeth Bryan and Emma Bisset at Age Scotland.
HES colleagues at Stanley Mills, a former textile mill in Perthshire, recently organized a fantastic opportunity for young people at Stanley Primary School to curate an exhibition at this historic site in a project supported Skills for Life, Learning & Work.. The pupils did a great job, meeting with HES curatorial and educational staff over 8 weeks to choose, document, assess, describe and display their chosen items, which included a gird and cleek, a strap (used to punish slow workers), a porridge bowl and spoon, and two shillings (the weekly wage at the Mills for children in the 1830s). The pupils displayed great skill, especially in distilling the caption for each of their objects to 25 words or fewer- no mean feat, as any curator will tell you.
The results were unveiled on Monday before a select audience of parents, teachers, teaching assistants, HES staff and the pupils themselves, and as you can see below the results look extremely professional.
The world was very different in 1997. Google didn’t yet exist, and the poor benighted users of the fledgling World Wide Web had to rely on Yahoo, AltaVista and Excite to search the few websites that existed. Amazon had not yet … Continue reading →
Here at Scran we have a longstanding volunteer who has been toiling away for almost ten years. This trusted member of the Scran team, Alison McKay, deals with a steady stream of information, liaises with Scran fans & then enhances the records. In the past decade she has encountered many a curious tale and become expert on a variety of topics. Here is her account of a recent discovery about this picture.
“As a volunteer based at Scran, I receive the messages which are generated by the ‘Comment’ & ‘Correct or Add Info‘ functions available on every Scran record. The messages come from individuals who may have come across a record by chance (as I first did back in 1999 and discovered Scran in its early days) or by focused research and who realise they have something to share from their familiarity with the subject matter of the record. Providing additional information or suggesting corrections to captions attached to Scran records is a wonderful opportunity for people to share their passions, interests and knowledge about subjects as diverse as types of buses, footballer players of yesteryear, speedway riders and scenes from their childhood.
As I join in the detective work of verifying the new information they suggest and making it useful to the ever growing resource which is Scran, I too learn more about their chosen subject. I may find other links in related Scran records to which I can alert them. By sharing information and ideas, the users ‘out there’ provide a voluntary service to complement my in-house voluntary efforts. This collaboration of real and virtual volunteers can continue over an extended period of months or years.
Nellie MacDougall 1903, seated on the far right of the middle row.
Earlier this year, a Scran user supplied a detailed final background paragraph on the teacher, Nellie MacDougall, featured in the above picture in 1912. By scrutinising the image, I was able to identify that the words on the blackboard were French and so this was added to the caption. Next I wondered if the teacher appeared in any other record and I found her in 1903, pictured in the group photograph to the right.
The task of enhancing the caption for these two records may continue. Perhaps a Scran user will be able to give me birth or death dates for Nellie MacDougall (or any other people mentioned) – or even confirm if her teaching subject was French? And was Hamish MacDougall in one of the photographs a relative?”
If you can help Alison discover more about Nellie MacDougall, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, we would like to thank Alison for everything she does for Scran, her years of dedication are fully appreciated.
Arts Award is a series of qualifications for children and young people accredited by Trinity College London. Heritage is very much seen as part of the arts world and young people can focus on any traditional craft or more broadly heritage based creative roles, such as curating as part of their Arts Award Portfolio.
To date, there have not been many heritage organisations in Scotland taking up Arts Award. However, at the Museum Association Conference at the SEC last Autumn, we were blown away by the amount of interest in the awards and by the open friendliness of all the creative learning professionals we encountered.
To start with, a group of around fifteen 15-25 year olds will come together to use the heritage of Stirling as inspiration and resource for a Silver Arts Award.
Silver Arts Award encourages young people to develop their artistic practice (any art form), delve further into the world of the arts in the locality and to work together on a leadership project.
The group will have the opportunity to work with a range of artists and heritage experts including the outreach team at Scotland’s Urban Past and take part in a traditional arts workshop at the Engine Shed.
Then, next April, the group’s leadership project will be to devise a creative virtual and/or physical heritage trail for other young people. This trail will involve arts activity, discovering artists and some way for those taking part to share what they have created/discovered. All young people who have completed the trail will receive a Discover Arts Award.
The young people will chart their progress in a digital Arts Award portfolio, culminating in achieving the Silver (equivalent to level 5 on the SCQF). More details on the awards can be found at www.artsaward.co.uk or for Scottish specific case studies: www.seethinkmake.co.uk
Last year, Scran was delighted to be contacted by Annabel Murray, who had an exciting find to share with us. She brought in a box of glass slides, along with an antique slide viewer. The slides were images of her stepfather as a young boy, along with members of his family, servants and other friends. Although the family had its roots in Scotland, the images were taken in Malawi in the 1930s. The most exciting part for us, though, was that the images were stereoscopic- in other words, the slides contained two images side-by-side, taken with a special camera with two lenses. The two lenses are set slightly apart and mimic what the human eyes see, so that each picture is slightly different, offset by a few centimetres. The resulting images can then be viewed in a stereoscopic viewer, a little bit like a pair of opera glasses, and the image appears to be 3-dimensional. The same principle was used in children’s View Master toys. It’s easier to see than to explain, so here’s a picture:
The images themselves are terrific, and while they are certainly of historical and archival interest, we felt it was important to preserve their stereoscopic nature. They have a lot of scientific value- biology students and tutors will find these fascinating, as they are directly informed by the science of optics and the inner workings of the eye. We’ve digitised the images, with much help from the Historic Environment Scotland photography team, and made them available to download here.
We’ve also digitised 12 images that seemingly came free with the viewer, a bit like the free reels that you get with a modern-day View Master. In this case, they’re images of the walled French medieval city, Carcassonne. Again, they’re really amazing curios. They can be seen at www.scran.ac.uk/s/carcassonne.
We’re looking for a new member to join our Education & Outreach team, based in Edinburgh. If you’re as enthused about digitisation, culture and history as we are, drop us a line! More info and the application form are at http://bit.ly/ScranJob, and the closing date is July 21st 2017 at noon.
Recently we gathered at Forthview Primary School in Edinburgh with Miss Watson’s P7 class, their friends & families for the premiere of the animation Forthview of the Great War. As the credits rolled we were able to reflect on the project which had brought us to this point, a project which brought together Forthview Primary School, Edinburgh Castle’s Learning Officer & the Scran Education Team.
Film Premiere at Forthview PS
Beginning in January 2017, this project took the form of a journey through the First World War, exploring the experiences of those involved in the war, from propaganda and recruitment to remembrance. During the First World War many new recruits passed through Edinburgh Castle’s gates, experienced their first taste of military life during initial training and stood on the Castle Esplanade ready to begin their journey to the Front; sadly many never returned. The project followed the journey of these soldiers and others caught up in the First World War, reflecting on their experience.
Military Hospital, Edinburgh Castle 1914
With Scran, Historic Environment Scotland’s Learning Team provided a range of interactive and cross-curricular workshops at school and at Edinburgh Castle. Pupils learned about propaganda and the methods used to encourage people to sign up or do their bit for the war and created their own propaganda posters with artist Hannah Ayre. They followed in the footsteps of the men who came to Edinburgh Castle to sign up and experienced a taste of what initial training would have been like in an immersive workshop run by Artemis Scotland. In this workshop they also took on the role of VAD nurses, learning how to put an arm in a sling and the tiresome task of rolling bandages! They learned about the realities of trench warfare through object handling at the National War Museum and reflected on those who had lost their lives during the war; visiting the Scottish National War Memorial and exploring real objects from WWI as inspiration to write their own remembrance poetry with poet Ken Cockburn and arts educator Lorna Irvine.
Using the Scottish National War Memorial to tell the story
As a culmination of the pupils’ learning journeys and to bring together and reflect on what they had learned from the workshops at Edinburgh Castle and at school, HES commissioned animator, Henry Cruickshank, to work with the pupils to create their animation. It was this animation that we gathered together to view for the first time on the 8th June.
Led by Henry Cruickshank, the pupils created their own characters and story. Suitable Scran imagery was carefully selected to support the pupils’ creative writing ideas and then integrated into the storytelling. The archive imagery was used as the backdrop for their characters and pupils decided which to use scene by scene. Using stop-go animation they then brought their characters to life! Heleen Schoolmeesters, an intern working with the HES learning team, also documented the whole process in the following film.
The final animation follows one character on his journey, from recruitment to training, to his experience on the battlefield. Powerful lines from the pupils’ own poetry and carefully selected words provide the soundtrack and the final scene reminds us of the families left behind and the importance of continuing to remember and reflect on those who gave their lives during the Great War.
* * *
It is hoped this summary of our partnership project will inspire other groups to engage with their local heritage and learn about the experiences of people during World War One. If you are interested in developing such creative learning opportunities, please contact us – either the Scran Education Team or Historic Environment Scotland‘s Learning Team.