Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

WW1 South African Native Labour Corps

7th November 2017 by Scran | 0 comments

Original caption reads ‘At the window of one of their huts’

Amongst the many thousands of photographs from the National Library of Scotland to be found on Scran, there is a collection called Images of War. These were taken by official War Office photographers during World War One and form part of the Haig Papers. This astounding and often arresting war photography contains a small set of 21 images, which tells the story of the South African Native Labour Corps, referred to as the SANLC.

Some 20,000 South Africans worked in the SANLC and took part in World War One, however due to South Africa’s segregationist policy, black South Africans were restricted to non-combatant roles. The SANLC were discriminated against because of the racist attitudes of the period which meant that black South Africans were not enlisted as combat troops, but only in the Labour Corps. They laboured in the docks, in salvage, supply, burial and other non-military jobs. They were used as cheap manual labour but were denied the right to serve in the army or to be given any recognition of the role they played. In part this was due to the South African government’s fear of the native claims for land.

Labourers display shell damaged radiator to the camera

When the SANLC were recruited, the units tended to be organised on the basis of their homeland tribe or region. In part this was to avoid problems from traditional tribal feuds, but it also reflects the fear of the South African government that the different native groups would combine against the existing white rule.

Although the SANLC were not meant to be deployed in combat zones, there were inevitable deaths when the docks or transport lines on which they worked were bombed. The greatest tragedy was the sinking of the troopship SS Mendi on 21 February 1917, when 617 members of the SANLC were drowned in the English Channel. The SANLC had operated in the fight against the Germans in South West Africa since September 1916, but the Labour Corps for the Western Front was established and camps set up in 1917.

Original caption reads ‘Smiling and Warm’

The various Labour Corps included many non-European groups such as the South Africans (SANLC), Egyptians, Chinese, Cape Coloured and Indian Corps. They were not only restricted from contact with white Europeans but were also segregated into different racially-determined Corps. Unlike some of the other labour contingents, the SANLC were not awarded any medals after the war.

World War One saw the development of a system of ‘official’ reporting by professionals especially recruited into the forces. Several of the SANLC series of photographs have been attributed to photographers John Warwick Brooke and Ernest Brooks.

SANLC dancers performing a traditional war dance

Initially reluctant to allow cameras near the fighting, it took some time for authorities to appreciate the propaganda and recording potential of photography. The cheerful appearance of the SANLC men is possibly deliberate propaganda on the part of the photographer, to counterbalance the reports of strikes and unrest among the various nationalities of Labour Corps, when they felt their conditions were unreasonable, or their original contracts had been broken. These photographs provide us with an invaluable record of how the Government and Military wanted the war perceived. 

Images © National Library of Scotland Licensor Scran

 

 

A Day Trip to Dunoon

21st March 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

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1950s booklet © Argyll & Bute Library Service

Scran paid a visit to Dunoon & it was a grand day out!

The purpsose of our visit was to meet the team of volunteers working with Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust as part of their Pop Up Programme. The Trust is in the midst of an exciting project to reclaim what is one of the town’s most important civic buildings. The 1873 Hall, listed on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland,  is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and restoration programme. If you are curious to see the before pictures, there are 99 images available via Historic Environment Scotland on Canmore.

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Zoomorphic figure at main entrance © Crown Copyright: HES

Meanwhile the volunteers are not letting the dust settle – they are investigating local heritage and all things relating to the history of this seaside town & the wider Dunoon community. During our visit we were able to show everyone how to access Scran, free of charge using their Argyll & Bute library cards. Together we looked at and discussed a host of collections material, including the day the Waverley ran aground – seen below in 1977. Some of the volunteers remembered it clearly & memories were exchanged. There were other reminiscences too, relating to more controversial events in 1984 when different peace demonstrations took place in Dunoon.

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The Waverley 1977 © The Scotsman

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Pop Up Scran! 2016 © Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust

Of course the relationship between Dunoon Burgh Hall Trust & Scran pre-dates this visit. The Trust previously contributed film footage from Holy Loch Heritage – the American Presence a project which aimed to bring to life the 30 year period when the American Naval Base was sited at nearby Holy Loch. We are delighted to say our partnership is set to extend into 2016, when we look forward to sharing more Dunoon ephemera surfacing from the restoration works. To see what’s been lurking under their floorboards, watch this space.

Images © Argyll & Bute Library Information Service, Historic Environment Scotland, The Scotsman, Dunoon Burgh Hall TrustLicensor Scran 

Dunbarney Discovers Jolomo

23rd February 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

IMG_1074Last month we told you about Scran working with Art & Design in Perth & Kinross, well here’s some of what we got up with Primary 7, in Bridge of Earn. Armed with a mobile art studio, laden with materials the class found inspiration in the work of Jolomo.

Through a series of research tasks and group conversations the class got to grips with heaps of visual and contextual information from Scran.  They expanded their visual literacy skills, extended their vocabulary with such terms as impasto and gained a new appreciation of Scottish Art.

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To deepen this understanding the pupils then created their very own paintings influenced by the techniques used by Jolomo.  The class had gone walk about with their cameras to capture the local landscape using photography. Their pictures were then used for each individual composition on canvas.

FullSizeRenderFullSizeRender (1)FullSizeRender (3)FullSizeRender (2)The pupils were able to explore using new materials such as texture medium to build up the surface of their work. Next they considered the vibrant palette and colours often used by Jolomo and mixed similarly lively hues for their own landscapes.

FullSizeRender (4)FullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (6)IMG_1099The culmination of the P7s’ hard work & focused learning was a whole-school exhibition Inspired by Scotland, which not only included these great paintings but all sorts of  arts activity – but more about that later…

Meanwhile over in Abernethy, Primary 7 were busy exploring their locality through Jolomo as well! They got creative with their texture too, adding in mixed media & all sorts, to create impressive effects too.

IMG_1146IMG_1147IMG_1151IMG_1153Thanks to Mrs McLaren & P7, all the staff at both schools and not forgetting the pupils, for making this successful partnership project and learning adventure happen – keep on creating!

Italian Students visit Scran

22nd January 2016 by Scran | 0 comments

Portobello beach

Portobello beach by Davide Corsini, aged 17

For the past two weeks, Scran has hosted three young students from the Istituto Pavoniano Artigianelli per le Arte Grafiche in Trento, Italy, as part of a course organised by our colleagues at the University of Edinburgh. As first-time visitors to Scotland, they were given an assignment to photograph Edinburgh and Glasgow from their own, personal point of view. While they naturally gravitated to some of the better-known landmarks of the cities, such as Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat, they also found time to visit Portobello, the Botanic Gardens and anonymous streets in the capital, and they were particularly drawn to our squirrels, which they said are rarely seen in Italian cities! The photographs that they compiled show their individual viewpoints, and they each captured some striking and unusual images. You can see the best of their various images of Scotland at http://www.scran.ac.uk/database/results.php?id_proj=1128

Image  © Davide Corsini | Licensor Scran

Views of North Berwick & Vicinity (3)

20th October 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Here’s the final update on the partnership work with Mrs. Dalgleish’s wonderful Primary 5 class, at Law Primary School in East Lothian. After bated breath, the wind got up enough strength allowing us to complete our exploration of aerial photography. The sun shone, we went outdoors & finally flew the kite aerial photography kit. See how we fared by browsing through the gallery below.

During an InSET session yesterday Law Primary School staff had a presentation detailing the full project. It was agreed that the class had achieved their learning intentions & much more besides.

  • I will be able to use Scran confidently to research a topic
  • I will have a better understanding of aerial photography
  • I will help to curate & create an exhibition

You can download the attached CfE learning experiences & outcomes for the project.

Before signing off, we’d like to say a big Scran thank you to Mrs.Dalgleish and everybody in P5 who made this such a success!

Imagery © Portrait of John Marr, East Lothian Museums Service / Various Aerial Images RCAHMS – Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

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Kite Aerial Photography

25th August 2015 by Scran | 3 Comments

Recently we’ve been getting to grips with the kite aerial photography kits provided by Dr. John Wells of the Scottish National Aerial Photography Scheme (SNAPS). As you can see we visited Tantallon Castle for a practice flight. We were quite pleased with our results & the potential for learning.

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We are planning on piloting this activity with schools over 2015/16, so if you are interested please contact us & lets’s go fly a kite! 

We believe exploring the aerial photography collections on Scran, in combination with the active learning involved in kite aerial photography, could lead to all sorts of creative learning.

For example, studying aerial photography can support the following Curriculum for Excellence experiences & outcomes within Social Studies.

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  • describe the major characteristic features of Scotland’s landscape and explain how these were formed (SOC 2-07a)
  • discuss the environmental impact of human activity (SOC 2-08a)
  • explain how the physical environment influences the ways in which people use land by comparing the local area with a contrasting area (SOC 2-13a)
  • use knowledge of a historical period to interpret the evidence and present an informed view (SOC 3-01a)
  • compare settlement and economic activity in two contrasting landscapes (SOC 3-13a)
  • explain the impact of processes which form and shape landscapes on selected landscapes in Scotland, Europe and beyond (SOC 3-07a)
  • evaluate the changes which have taken place in an industry and debate their impact (SOC 4-05b)
  • discuss the sustainability of key natural resources (SOC 4-08a)

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    Salisbury Crags Holyrood Park

  • assess the impact of developments in transport infrastructure in a selected area (SOC 4-09b)
  • describe and assess the impact of human activity on an area (SOC 4-10a)
  • explain the development of the main features of an urban area and evaluate the implications for the society involved (SOC 4-10b)

Winners

27th July 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

jackies2_3689_25471_005-000-012-729-R_2015-04-21_11-01-31Our photography competition attracted a lot of entries, and the judges deliberated long and hard over the outcome. The theme was What Scotland Means to Me, and we received a variety of interpretations, from images of Munros and monuments to the odd bottle of Irn Bru.

The overall winner, was Rona Stewart’s picture of three rams looking through a fence. The judges said “Rona’s photo is a fantastic composition. It’s sharp, beautifully-framed and captures her Highland heritage.kingussieRona won an iPad for herself and 10 iPads for Kingussie High School, where she is currently studying. She was presented with her prize at an assembly on a sunny morning in Kingussie. She is pictured here with Head of Art & Design, David Douglas, and Andrew James of Scran.

We also travelled to Dunbarney Primary School near Perth to present Angus Johnston with his prize. Judges commented on his picture, of two boys jumping into Portsoy harbour, jackies2_3689_25469_005-000-012-728-R_2015-04-21_10-52-38

“…it captures a picture of enjoyment and also it is filled with light just waiting for a photographer to come along and capture the inspiring photo.” Angus is pictured receiving  his prize from Jackie Sangster.winner

 

Isobel Mair School for children with additional support needs was the winner in its category. The winning image, of a path leading through a Scottish forest, was selected by the judges for its sense of “calmness” and a feeling that “you could really be there in the photograph.” The picture was a joint effort, taken by pupils from the school’s Tiree class, and the class was presented with their prizes by Neil Fraser.

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photo2Images © Rona Stewart, Angus Johnston & Isobel Mair School. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk