A project to encourage sustainability of land-use, language and culture in rural communities wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
Perthshire charity Grace Notes Scotland has received £53,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an inspiring project to digitise the unpublished journals of the late Eric R. Cregeen, the visionary social historian and founding member of the Scottish Oral History Group. The Cregeen Journals consist of more than 2,000 hand-written pages in 23 notebooks, as well as manuscripts and photographs, which will be digested to create a searchable archive.
A team of subject specialists will collaborate on the project and will hold workshops and events in seven communities central to Cregeen’s work. People will be invited to engage with the journals to learn more about traditions that help sustain the economy, heritage and language of their communities. The project will also train 140 volunteers in oral history and manuscript skills, and will encourage them to make new recordings in their communities, to add to those recorded by Eric Cregeen and archived at the School of Scottish Studies in Edinburgh.
As Grace Notes Scotland is a charity that works with young people to help them to learn through tradition, the project team will operate in partnership with Crofting Connections to reach schools in the crofting counties of Argyll, Highland and the Western Isles. The Cregeen journals will be used to inspire both Gaelic and English pupils, enriching their rural skills as well as traditional knowledge of local history, language and culture. The collaboration will help teachers meet the aims of Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence and will raise awareness of the importance of “Sustainability of land-use, language and culture in rural communities.” Selections of Cregeen’s photos and journals will also be on display at exhibitions in these communities as well as at the National Library of Scotland.
Commenting on the award, Grace Notes Scotland’s Secretary Liz Elkind said: “We’re delighted that Heritage Lottery has given their support to the project which will not only recognise Cregeen for his outstanding work but will also benefit such a wide range of people. As there’s an ever-increasing need for skills to sustain land-use, language and culture, digitising the Cregeen journals will provide world-wide access to a fantastic resource. We are also pleased to collaborate with Crofting Connections and very grateful for additional funding from Grimsay Community Association, North Uist and the Community Interest Company in Crieff, Grace Note Publications.
Lucy Casot, Head of HLF Scotland, said: “Saving our historic archives has never been more important. They provide such a valuable resource for anyone who wants to delve into their past. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to support projects such as Grace Notes Scotland that is bursting with information about what life was like and how that has shaped who we are today.”