Submitted by on 01-12-2015 13:56:54
Talking heritage over coffee, hearing humour, warmth, dedication and magnificent local expertise from Skye to Northern Ireland to the Borders, zooming through my One Minute Madness presentation, the unveiling of an exquisite maquette for a statue...
These are the elements I’ll remember from Scotland's Community Heritage Conference 2015.
Our Scotland's Urban Past (SUP) workshop was a hit! Warmed up by my One Minute Madness about the project, we had a packed out room.
Pamela McIntyre from the Friends of St John’s Tower in Ayr also took to the stage, sharing firsthand experience of the SUP ethos and what led to her group making their film, a virtual tour of the tower.
From there, our architectural historians, Nicky and Danny, took the audience on an interactive tour of the Conference's beautiful venue, the Atholl Palace Hotel, a 'hydropathic' hotel from the 19th Century.
They were anything but urban but, for me, one incredible highlight of the conference was hearing Morag Nicolson talk with great passion, warmth and humour of the Collie Mackenzie Sculpture Project in Skye.
Meeting the members of this project at our neighbouring stall was already a great treat for SUP team, but when we heard her speak and saw them dramatically unveil a maquette (resin model) for the hoped-for sculpture and heard of its epic overnight journey by ferry and bus from Northern Ireland to reach us just in time, everyone in the room was blown away.
Their aim is “to commemorate the climbing achievements of Skye native, John Mackenzie, and his friend and mountaineering pioneer, Norman Collie with a bronze sculpture of both men to be erected at Sligachan on Skye… to gain public appreciation of the achievements made by Collie and Mackenzie during their pioneering climbs of the Skye Cuillin… and to promote the value and connection of the local landscape, wild places and the Gaelic culture.”
An example to us all, they’ve already engaged with every one of the local schoolchildren and gained a truly exciting patron.
Find out about them on their website – you will want to support them, believe me…
Ever walked past a graveyard and been curious about the occupants?
A much more urban project we also loved hearing about about was the Friends of Glasgow Necropolis, who were recently awarded with one of the first Scottish Heritage Angel Awards for their ongoing work and dedication to digitally capture and create a permanent record of over 3,500 graves, memorials and mausolea.
They give guided tours of their personality-packed 37 acre cemetery and its amazing sculptures, constructions and other discoveries. They’re determined to maintain and restore the graves as they deserve. The members interact with descendants of the deceased from all over the world in order to capture and share the stories of its inhabitants.
Find out more about this brilliant community-led project at: www.glasgownecropolis.org
We made so many new contacts, sparked off great exchanges of knowledge and contacts, signed up many folk for our newsletter, engaged in sparky debates about the meaning of urban heritage. Talks and workshops were stimulating, galvanising, challenging, intriguing and often amazing.
I look forward to being part of this brilliant event again, and hope to attract the SUP community group participants to come along and contribute. Conversations evolve and ideas germinate; ideas of heritage expand; and we think of new ways to reach out...