PAST EVENT: Scotland's Community Heritage Conference in Ayr

Join Scotland's communities as they share their heritage at the first of three Community Heritage Conferences throughout Scotland in 2016.

Ayr Academy, 7 Fort St, Ayr KA7 1HX

About the event

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference celebrates public archaeology, showcases community-led projects across Scotland and supports people as they explore their connection to the past. The event is open to anyone with an interest in history, heritage or archaeology, and includes excellent talks, interactive workshops, inspirational displays and stimulating networking opportunities.

Volunteers who protect and promote our heritage, such as the Friends of St John’s Tower, Friends of the Prestwick Seafront and the Friends of Dundonald Castle will share their stories, struggles and expertise, and invite the audience to join the conversation.

Attendees can become an Urban Detective, step into the world of fundraising, find out what happened at Ardrossan’s Castle Carnival, learn how to “Adopt-a-Monument” and more! 

Tickets are priced at £10, including a light lunch and refreshments.

Comments from previous participants at the conference include:

"… the variety of projects and the combined energy is a huge force for good. It was refreshing to have a programme that did not consist solely of formal presentations."

“We had a great time, networking, learning and experiencing all the different aspects of community involvements.”

To give a short poster talk, a One Minute Mayhem, or to book a display table, please email

Keep up to date with all the conference news by following the Community Heritage Conference on Twitter @chcscot or by emailing with any questions.

Further Community Heritage Conferences will take place in Oban in September and Aberdeen in November.

A graphic with outlines of different buildings in shades of orange. The text reads "Scotland's Community Heritage Conferences 2016"


Registration and Coffee                                      

Session One: 10.00 – 11.50
Chair: Kevin Grant, Historic Environment Scotland

Eve Boyle, Historic Environment Scotland
Housekeeping announcements

Tom Rees, Rathmell Archaeology, Kilwinning
Keynote Address

As founder of Rathmell Archaeology Limited, who have completed community archaeology projects throughout Ayrshire, Tom will open the conference by introducing the organisations who are bringing people together to unlock Ayrshire’s full heritage potential.

Pamela McIntyre
St John’s Tower, Ayr

In 2001, local residents banded together to take this landmark under their wing and have since produced a short film with Scotland’s Urban Past to improve public awareness and grow community pride.

Mark Seaborne
Abbot House, Dunfermline

Spurred on by the closure of one of the oldest buildings in Dunfermline, the local community set out to investigate and map its history, as well as produce a short film with Scotland’s Urban Past.

 I Youth Zone (Greenock)
If the streets can speak 

Adopt-a-Monument has been working with Greenock's I Youth Zone to investigate their old post office on Nicolson Street (where the Zone is based) and Greenock's other fascinating sites and monuments.

One Minute Mayhem
60-second presentations

Presenters from across Scotland will race against the clock to share the inspirational stories behind their heritage project. Sign up slots will be available on the day! 

12.00 - 14.10

Lunch, Workshops and Displays
Buffet lunch will be available. Please take time to explore the many projects, groups and organisations displaying their achievements in the main hall.


12.40 - 14.00
Lunchtime workshops

Buffet lunch will be available and is included in the price of your ticket. Please take time to explore the many projects, groups and organisations displaying their achievements in the main hall.

Please note:
Workshops A & B will be held in Ayr Academy.

Workshop C will be held in the Computing Suite of the Carnegie Library, a 10 minute walk from Ayr Academy. Numbers for Workshop C are limited, so please book your place at the Conference Registration desk.

  • Workshop A: Recruiting and retaining volunteers for your heritage project
    12.40 - 13.10
    Cara Jones, Adopt-a-Monument (30 Minutes)

    Monuments of any age from anywhere in Scotland can be proposed for this programme, (no matter how unusual), with the focus on helping volunteers to improve sites which they are passionate about. Come along to learn about this scheme, which equips volunteers with new skills in archaeological fieldwork and conservation, which can be used again and again to promote the heritage of their local area.

  • Workshop B: Fundraising for your heritage project
    13.15 - 14.00
    Louise Downing, Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage (45 minutes)

    Resourcing Scotland’s Heritage is the first fully co-ordinated sector specific training and network strengthening programme to provide Scotland’s diverse heritage sector with the vital tools it needs to increase funds from private sources. This session will give you a basic introduction to fundraising and point you in the right direction.

  • Workshop C: Become an Urban Detective with Scotland’s Urban Past 
    12.45 - 13.45 
    Peigi MacKillop, Scotland’s Urban Past (60 minutes)

    Scotland's Urban Past provides free training, support and resources to people of all ages to help them discover and share the fascinating stories of Scotland’s towns and cities. During this session, attendees can become ‘Urban Detectives’ by learning how to contribute to Scotland’s online record of architecture, archaeology and industry.                                              

Session Two: 14.10 - 15.00
Chair: Robin Turner, Historic Environment Scotland

Friends of Ardrossan Castle

While working to preserve and develop this medieval site, this ambitious group has been making headlines for their Castle Carnival and £53000 boost from the Big Lottery Fund

Friends of Dundonald Castle

Dundonald Castle has transformed from a forgotten and neglected ruin into one of Ayrshire’s must-see visitor attractions and focus for the local community thanks to this enthusiastic local charity

15.00 - 15.30
Tea,  Coffee, and Displays          

Session Three: 15.30 - 16.50

Chair: Robin Turner, Historic Environment Scotland

Jo Hambly (The SCAPE Trust) and the Friends of Prestwick Seafront 
A future for Prestwick Salt Pans           

How can we help secure the future of the best-preserved salt pan buildings in the country? This session will invite the whole conference to help the Friends of Prestwick Seafront develop project ideas to conserve and promote this nationally important monument.


Jo Hambly (The SCAPE Trust) will offer an overview of the Scottish salt industry, and demonstrate SCAPE’s 3D visualisation of the pans at Brora; and the Friends of Prestwick Seafront will introduce the issues surrounding the Prestwick site. We will then all divide into groups to discuss potential ways forward, coming together at the end to compare results. This is a truly exciting and innovative way for each of us to make a positive contribution to caring for Scotland’s Built Heritage!


Tour of Loudoun Hall by Ayrshire Archaeological and Natural History Society  

More information

We'll be communicating key messages from the conferences through:

  • a live Twitter feed throughout the day - join in with #CHCAyr
  • Alex Hale, our resident scriber, will capture the ideas of the day in drawings and doodles
  • many talks and workshops will be filmed for the benefit of those who can’t attend
  • photographers will be on hand to record the conference’s activities and displays. A selection of these may be used to report the conference online and in print.

Scotland’s Community Heritage Conference is organised by a partnership of several organisations: Archaeology ScotlandHistoric Environment ScotlandScotland's Urban Past, the SCAPE TrustDig It! 2017 and Northlight Heritage.