Sustainable Community Heritage in Scotland's North-East: Bennachie and Beyond
University of Aberdeen
The Sustainable Community Heritage project focuses on the rich cultural landscapes of north-east Scotland building new and strengthening existing partnerships between the University of Aberdeen and a variety of communities in the north-east Scotland's hinterland. At its heart is a burgeoning interdisciplinary community-centred research project concentrating on the past, present and future significance of one of north-east Scotland's most celebrated cultural and physical landmarks: the hill of Bennachie and its environs. The project serves to not only facilitate public engagement with and enjoyment of the region's landscape heritage, but will more importantly provide training and development opportunities, which will facilitate proactive and long-term interest in doing local community heritage.
In May and June this year a series of heritage events will be held where people can join in and help discover more about the heritage of northeast landscapes. These events are run in partnership with the Bailies of Bennachie, Aberdeenshire Council Ranger Service and the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The Bennachie study aims to showcase both the university's research expertise and its extensive collections in archaeology, history, and ethnology and the capacity for the wider community to engage in heritage research. The events will include learning to work with university archives, using community oral history as a research tool and investigating opportunities for learning outdoors with archaeology as part of the Curriculum for Excellence. In addition heritage will be explored through the creative arts in a day where people can come along and help compose an original piece of music based on the landscape of Bennachie. Hands on opportunities to help excavate and record a 19th century settlement and learn about historic ceramics will also be part of the project.
These events will provide opportunities to share skills and develop existing community research, leading to the presentation of ideas to a wider public. Most importantly, however, they will provide an interactive environment in which members of a wider community can become involved in projects and an important objective is to engage members of the local community in developing and conducting a long-term landscape history project, which will aim to create a proactive and sustained interest in the region for future generations.