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Lothian Workshop

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Activities

veterans were given a tour of the RCAHMS rare books and print rooms

Introduction to RCAHMS and the Collections

The first day of the workshop began with an introduction to the work of RCAHMS. The veterans were given a tour of the RCAHMS rare books and print rooms, during which they were able to examine a range of archive material including sketchbooks belonging to Sir Robert Lorimer (the architect of the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle) and a scrapbook belonging to his secretary, Margaret S Swan. Following this, the veterans visited Edinburgh Castle where they were introduced to additional RCAHMS collection material, including photographs, drawings and books that they would be using throughout the week and given a short presentation entitled “ A Flight Round Scotland during World War Two”.

Generic Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge & Understanding
  • Attitudes & Values
Learning Outcomes
  • Understanding the role of RCAHMS
  • Knowledge about the variety of collection material held by RCAHMS and its importance in documenting all aspects of Scotland’s built environment
  • Positive attitude towards RCAHMS and the workshop, despite having been unsure of what it would involve

"I was totally amazed at the archives that you hold on file"

- Andy, Northern Ireland Conflict Veteran

Introduction to Poetry and Creative Writing

Following the examination of the collection material, each veteran was asked to select one object and, working with Ken Cockburn, write a piece of short text for an exhibition label, describing why they chose it and what they think someone else should know about it. They then worked as a group to discuss each text and the reasons behind their selection, leading to the telling of some wonderful personal stories.

Generic Learning Outcomes
  • Skills
  • Attitudes & Values
  • Enjoyment, Inspiration & Creativity
Learning Outcomes
  • New skills in creative writing
  • Thinking more deeply about their own and others’ experiences
  • Being inspired by the collection material to write and tell stories

"If we all wrote down experiences, this would be something for future generations to learn about"

- Fred, WWII Veteran

Visit to Scottish National War Memorial

On the second day of the workshop, the veterans were given a guided tour of the Scottish National War Memorial (SNWM) by Colonel Iain Shepherd, Secretary of the Memorial. This proved a time for thought and reflection as the veterans could view their own Regimental Memorial and learn about the process of updating current memorials, as well as learn about the history and construction of the SNWM.

Generic Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and Understanding
  • Attitudes and Values
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and understanding about how and why the SNWM was constructed
  • Expressing new and strengthened feelings on learning more about their own regimental memorial

"Colonel Shepherd introduced aspects of the memorial not apparent to the casual visitor"

- John, Engineer

Memory Sharing & Creative Writing

Following their visit to the SNWM, the veterans reflected on the visit and carried out some creative writing exercises based on the experience and the memories and reflections it provoked. This process was continued on the final day of the workshop      when the veterans worked with Ken Cockburn to write poems and short pieces based on the SNWM and the items from the RCAHMS collection. These included descriptive pieces, personal associations, memories or anecdotes.

Generic Learning Outcomes
  • Skills
  • Enjoyment, Inspiration & Creativity
  • Activity, Behaviour & Progression
Learning Outcomes
  • Developing skills in creative writing
  • Being inspired from visit to SNWM
  • Working on their written pieces individually and in their own time

Event

A poetry reading was held at the Scottish Poetry Library on Friday 9th November 2007 during Remembrance week. Family and friends of the veterans, as well as several RCAHMS staff, attended the reading, during which the Veterans read aloud their individual and collective pieces. To complement these pieces, Lorna Irvine from the Scottish Poetry Library read aloud a selection of poems written by children about the Second World War.

Generic Learning Outcomes
  • Skills
  • Attitudes and Values
  • Enjoyment, Inspiration & Creativity
  • Activity, Behaviour & Progression
Learning Outcomes
  • Communication skills enhanced
  • Motivation to read aloud their own works
  • Enjoyment of the evening and celebration of each others work
  • Expression of interest to use RCAHMS resources in future

Further Development

Since participating in the workshop, many of the veterans have remained in contact with RCAHMS and have provided us with a range of valuable information, including material on the Bathgate War Memorial and photographs and information on Wojtek, the soldier bear who served with the Polish Army, further strengthening the exchange of knowledge between RCAHMS and the public.

Overview

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