Written Sources from the Dumfries and Galloway Study

In this blog post, our EERC colleague Kenneth Veitch reflects on the written sources gathered during the Dumfries & Galloway Study. These can be accessed in full on the Study website.

Account books, diaries, journals, letters and other personal documents are a rich source of material for ethnologists, historians and others interested in studying everyday life. Separately, they provide first-hand, detailed information about individuals, communities and occupations rarely found in other historical sources, and offer an opportunity to investigate life at the level of the parish, town, workplace or family. Collectively, they show the great variety of everyday life and how its rhythms, forms and customs differed not only across time and place, but also between occupations, social groups and genders. They are particularly useful for studying the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period that lies beyond the reach of first-hand oral reminiscences but when increasing levels of literacy meant that a wide assortment of people were recording their daily affairs. Continue reading

UNESCO celebration of Audiovisual Heritage

Today is all about finalising material for our planned Tweetathon to celebrate UNESCO World Day of Audio Visual Heritage on Friday 27 October.

Over the course of the day we will be sending 24 tweets at half-hourly intervals, starting at 7.00am.  Each tweet will carry the hashtag #Audiovisualheritage and will link to individual clips of fantastic audio material that can be listened to on the Study website.

The 2017 theme is Discover, Remember and Share and we’re excited to be part of this global celebration of sound and vision.

You can find out more about 2017 Word Day for Audiovisual Heritage by following this link:

Let’s Talk

As part of the EERC’s partnership with D&G Libraries and Archives, the EERC has contributed to the Let’s Talk Project run by Alison Burgess at the Ewart Library, Dumfries.

This project gathers together photographs, objects and sound clips in 20 themed packs which are used by community groups across the region in reminiscence sessions.  This imaginative use of 200 clips from the over 350 interviews form the Dumfries and Galloway: A Regional Ethnology Study meets one of the main aims of the project – to give back to the people of D&G their own material.  It is great to know that the work of the EERC is now being used to allow the people of D&G to talk freely and openly about their lives.  It is also gratifying to know that those who make use of D&G Libraries and Archives ‘Let’s Talk’ project get an immense amount of enjoyment and fun out of it all. Continue reading

A Grand Day Out in Stranraer

Recently I was in Stranraer to meet up with members of the Stranraer and District Local History Trust to hand over hot-off-the-press copies of our first Regional Flashback, Stranraer and District Lives: Voices in Trust. 

Christine and Eric Wilson had very kindly brought together a number of colleagues from the Trust and laid on a celebratory feast at their home.  This included the delicious local tattie scones, which are coated in oatmeal.  We also toasted the book, and our collaboration, with a celebratory glass of sherry.

Donnie Nelson, Nancy McLucas, Christine Wilson, Eric Wilson

Left to right – Donnie Nelson, Nancy McLucas, Christine Wilson, Eric Wilson

Continue reading

Carsluith: Sound and Content

We’re delighted that our audio-visual technician, Colin Gateley, agreed to write a blog post for us.  The result is a posting which gives us a flavour, both of his work and his current project, the digitisation of a recent, and very welcome, donation on fieldwork recordings from Carsluith made in between 1972 and 2006.

I have been working for the EERC as an audio-visual technician, digitising and editing photographic and audio materials for a couple of years now. My background is in audio and digital imaging so the EERC work is something I enjoy from a technical perspective.  My job generally involves working on individual projects over a period of weeks or months. I particularly enjoy the problem solving and also the interesting content of the materials I get to work with. Continue reading

Reconnecting with the past

We were delighted when Julia Macdonald agreed to write this week’s blog post for us.  Julia attended one of the early Study training sessions and went on to make a fieldwork recording with her dad, David Brown.  More recently, as a friend of both Donnie Nelson and the Stranraer and District Local History Trust, Julia came to our assistance when we were looking for additional photographic images for the forthcoming Study Flashback, Stranraer and District Lives: Voices in Trust, and particularly the book cover.


“I grew up listening to stories from my parents of what life was like when they were young.  My mum told me that during WW2, when she was a young girl, she would stand outside the family cottage and wave to the pilots as they took off from West Freugh.  On one occasion, an enthusiastic pilot flew by even lower than usual, clipping the chimney pot on the farmhouse roof as he passed.  Continue reading

Transcribing for the D&G Study

 I’m Sheila Findlay and for the past four years I’ve been transcribing for the Dumfries and Galloway Study, having worked on over one hundred interviews and sound extracts to date. 

I studied Scottish Ethnology as part of my Economic and Social History degree at the University of Edinburgh and it was there that I was introduced to oral history and the art of transcribing.  Since graduating I have also transcribed for the SAPPHIRE (Scottish Archive of Publishing and Print History and Records) initiative.  I am a founder member of Penicuik Oral History Resource and have undertaken all aspects of oral history collecting while with it and have contributed to its projects aimed at making the resultant material available to the wider community. Continue reading

How Time Flies

It’s difficult to believe that we are coming to the end of our initial 4-year study period in fair Dumfries and Galloway.  We’ll be continuing to support initiatives, such as fieldwork collecting, as well as individual projects, for example our collaboration with Moat Brae, for some time to come.  And our super colleague, Alison Burgess, will co-ordinate and facilitate ongoing activities so we’re looking forward to seeing how this Study will continue and develop into the future.  We are all excited to see, for example, how the fieldwork recordings might be used by school groups, researchers, artists, community groups and individuals to explore our shared history and also, perhaps, inspire new work.

Continue reading

Fieldwork in Stranraer

Enjoyable and satisfying as it is, the process of editing a book is often quite a lonely task. 

Not so a few weeks ago, when an expedition to Stranraer in pursuit of background information for one of the planned Dumfries and Galloway Flashback publications, provided a hugely enjoyable, laughter-filled interruption to my usual solitary endeavours.

The Flashback I’m working on is based on the 40+ oral history recordings made by the Stranraer and District Local History Trust since January 1999.  The task of deciding what to include in my selection (or rather, what I have no choice but to leave out) has been challenging.  The interviews are packed full of significant material covering a wide range of themes across both rural and town life in the Stranraer area.  As my work progressed and the Introduction for the book began to take shape, I realised that I had a long (and growing) list of questions to ask those who’d been involved with this aspect of the Trust’s work.  After a chat with Mark Mulhern (Flashbacks general editor) we concluded that a fieldtrip to interview the collectors was needed and the Stranraer trip arranged.

Eric Wilson, Nancy McLucas, Christine Wilson and Caroline Milligan.

Left to right: Eric Wilson, Nancy McLucas, Christine Wilson and Caroline Milligan.

We set off to Stranraer in high spirits.  We would be meeting up with Christine Wilson, her husband, Eric, and Nancy MacLucas that afternoon, and we had a further meeting planned, with Donnie Nelson, for the following morning.  Continue reading