The Archives & Records Association both holds and participates in many events throughout the year. Below you will see our complete programme of regional and themed training events with booking details

Community Archives: Opportunities and Challenges (Tasglannan Coimhearsnachd: Cothroman agus Dùbhlain)
Jun 14

Community Archives: Opportunities and Challenges...

This two-day conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in community archives and heritage.


This two-day conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in community archives and heritage.

  • Community Archives: Opportunities and Challenges

    Tasglannan Coimhearsnachd: Cothroman agus Dùbhlain

    DATES: 14 & 15 June 2017

    VENUE: Western Isles Archive Service/ Tasglannaiche, Western Isles Council/ Comhairle nan Eilean Siar/ Lews Castle, Stornoway Lewis Isle, HS2, OXS Map

    COSTS: Free to attend - travel bursaries are available via conference partners, please see below for further information. Dinner on 14 June £30.00 (or £32.45 if paying with card).

    REGISTRATION: Please register by Friday 12 May 2017 via this online form.

    With the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and in partnership with Tasglann nan Eilean/Hebridean Archives and the Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland, the Scottish Council on Archives is pleased to open registration for a Community Archives conference at Lews Castle Museum and Archive in Stornoway. 

    Community archives encompass diverse organisations, collections and activities. They offer opportunities to inspire learning and enhance understanding, through the community’s active engagement with their own heritage.

    This two-day conference is aimed at anyone with an interest in community archives and heritage, from professional archivists, librarians, curators and heritage workers to independent community groups.

    Through a range of case studies and presentations, conference participants will consider how community archives and conventional archive organisations can collaborate and support one another to achieve common goals. Speakers will provide insights on:

    • Making the ‘intangible’ tangible - oral history and sound archives 
    • The innovative use of technology 
    • Collaborative techniques and partnership models 
    • Creating and using support networks 

    Past successes and future possibilities for community archives.

    The first day of the conference will be followed by a dinner in the Lews Castle ballroom. The second day of the conference will offer the opportunity to join a coach tour of historical sites and community archives. Attendees have the option of attending for one or both days. 

    SPEAKERS: Find out more about our speakers here


    DAY 1 – 14 JUNE 2017


    9.30 - 9.35 WELCOME - Seonaid McDonald, Tasglannaiche/ Archivist, Tasglann nan Eilean/ Hebridean Archives, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

    9.35-9.55 INTRODUCTION - Linda Ramsay, SCA Trustee and Preservation Committee Convenor

    9.55-10.25 KEYNOTE SPEAKER - John Chambers, Chief Executive, Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland

    • ARA-UK Community Archives and Heritage Group

    • Overview of network and its purpose, resources/guidance available and current activities in Scotland and UK

    • How and why should community archives get involved and join the network?

    • Archivists and Community Archives – benefits of working together?

    10.25-10.45 BREAK (TEA/COFFEE)


    10.45-11.25 National Library of Scotland, Scotland’s Sounds Project, Amy McDonald, Engagement & Learning Co-ordinator, Connecting Scotland’s Sounds

    • Overview of the Connecting Scotland’s Sounds project

    • Future and Upcoming plans for Scotland’s Sound Archive

    • How can community archives and heritage groups get involved/available training and resources

    • Challenges and opportunities in setting out to establish a national sound archive

    11.25-12.05 Comunn Eachdraidh Nis/ Ness Historical Society, Annie MacSween

    • Origins of the Comainn Eachdraidh movement in the Western Isles

    • What was the impetus and aims when CE Nis began 40 years ago?

    • What has been achieved?

    • What do they hope to achieve in future?

    LUNCH 12.05 – 13.05

    (Opportunity to visit Museum over lunch)

    13.05-13.45 Dumfries and Galloway – A Regional Ethnology Study, Dr Mark Mulhern & Professor Gary West

    • Overview of the study

    • Outline of the partnership model used - combining ‘official’ records with interviews, oral history recordings and community participation to create a picture of regional histories and identities

    • Approach to fieldwork and training of volunteers

    13.45-14.25 University of Dundee/ CAIS – Oral History Project Case Study, Dr Jan Merchant

    • Overview of ‘Voices of Dundee’ oral history project

    • How and why was the project set up?

    • Lessons learned?

    • Outcomes and benefits to local community and archive

    • Oral History Courses – distance learning available via CAIS

    14.25-14.45 BREAK (TEA/COFFEE)


    14.45-15.25 Tasglann nan Eilean/ Hebridean Archives, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar & Skills for the Future Traineeship (Seonaid McDonald/ Shona MacLellan)

    • Overview of development of the archive service and vision for its future progress

    • Collaboration between archive service and community archives - how to develop existing links and what mutual benefits might be delivered

    • Overview of Skills for the Future Traineeship – Traditional Skills

    • Highlights of traineeship and skills development

    15.25 – 15.55 National Galleries of Scotland, Natalie Milor (HLF Project Coordinator) and Heather Fulton, Leyla Tecelli, Kit Guy, Ali Gowers, Helena Robson and Ioana Cosma (Skills for the Future Trainees): 'Digitising the Collections of the National Galleries of Scotland and National Library of Scotland’

    • Overview of digitisation traineeship programme aims

    • Stories from the studio: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art 2 and the National Library of Scotland

    • Digitisation training in action: The Certificate of Work Readiness projects

    15.55 – 16.35 Debbie Potter, Trainee Archivist & Jamie Gaukroger, Am Baile Co-ordinator

    • Case study of ‘Am Baile’ Digitisation Project

    • Planning, procuring, metadata and preservation

    • Outcomes of project and lessons learned

    16.35-16.55 PANEL DISCUSSION

    16.55-17.00 Closing Remarks – Audrey Wilson HLF SFF Project Manager, Opening Up Scotland’s Archives – Scottish Council on Archives


    (Opportunity to tour Archive store 17.00-17.30)

    19:00 Dinner in Lews Castle

    DAY 2 - 15 JUNE 2017

    Visits to Comainn Eachdraidh (local historical societies) and historical sites

    9.00 – 9.30 Coffee at Lews Castle

    9.30 - 10.30 Travel by coach from Stornoway to Comunn Eachdraidh Nis/ Ness Historical Society

    10:30 – 12.00 Tour of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis archives and museum

    LUNCH - 12.00-13.00

    13.00 – 16.00 • Garenin blackhouse village

    • Callanish standing stones – talk on history of the trust and visitor centre


    Stornoway for 17.00 or Stornoway Airport for 17.30


    The conference is free to attend and includes lunch and refreshments, but not dinner on 14 June.

    14 June 2017: Dinner costs £30 (£32.45 if paying by debit or credit card) per person excluding drinks, in the Lews Castle ballroom.

    15 June 2017, Coach tour – there is no cost to join the coach tour however, delegates will need to buy their own lunch and afternoon coffee.

    Please note that all payments must be received in advance of the conference to guarantee attendance.


    The ARA Scotland members and ARA New Professionals can apply for travel bursaries of up to £350 each, three are on offer.Download the bursary application form here. The deadline for applications is Monday 1 May 2017.

    SCA members can apply for up to four Cadell Bursaries of up to £200, here.

    Members of the Western Isles Heritage Network can apply for assistance to send one delegate per organisation to meet cost of travel, accommodation and dinner on the evening of 14th June 2017. To apply for this assistance, email by 28th April 2017. Please ensure that you have booked your conference place via the Scottish Council on Archives before applying for assistance.


    Conference registration closes on Friday 12th May. It is strongly recommended that you book as early as possible as flights can be costly and fill up quickly.

    Option 1:

    • Travel to Inverness (by bus, train or private car)

    • Citylink Bus from Inverness to Ullapool (it is recommended you book this well in advance)

    • Ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway

    Option 2:

    There are regular Loganair/Flybe/Eastern Airways flights from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen to Stornoway. There are usually at least 2 flights per day each way but they book up fast.


    It is recommended that all accommodation is booked well in advance - you can contact the local Tourist Information Centre for assistance.

  • Category
  • Date & Time
    Jun 14 2017 at 09:00 AM - Jun 15 2017 at 05:00 PM
  • Location & full address
    Lews Castle, Stornoway Lewis Isle, HS2, OXS
  • Event Admins
    Lorraine Logan