Scranalogue

Culture Heritage Learning

Mosaic – Ancient & Modern

October 21, 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Here’s our second instalment from the Archnetwork Erasmus+ course, Empowering Communities in Cyprus.

Wednesday 16th September 2015. Up early for our road trip we started for the coastal town of Limassol, ready for another day to find out about Cypriot culture.

IMG_9468Our first destination was the wonderful Mosaic Collective run by Soula Christou, a truly inspiring woman. The Collective design, create and sell contemporary mosaics across Cyprus and internationally. Their artwork is innovative and work is carried out in both two and three dimensions.
Clients commission the mosaic for domestic settings as well as commercial purposes such as hotels. Soula spoke with passion about her art and with real enthusiasm for life, leaving us all feeling upbeat as we left her studio.

The group had a brief interlude and wandered the narrow streets of old town Lemesos, where we came upon an outlet for the Cyprus Handicraft Service. Part of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Service advocates the preservation of folk art as part of Cypriot cultural heritage and aims to perpetuate folk art as part of Cypriot historical and national identity. What a find! Inside we found a various traditional crafts, including of course Lefkara lace as we had encountered the previous day. However here there was evidence of design innovation, for example one potter had made plates with Lefkara lace imprinted into the surface. The result was simple yet effective, aesthetically pleasing and contemporary. The shop only stocked & sold Cypriot made craft, pricing ranged from affordable to expensive. It’s a shame it is tucked away from the main streets where it would perhaps have more footfall & custom.

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We drove out of Limassol, along by Akrotiri. There is a large Royal Air Force station here, so the sky had plenty of military air traffic. Here was another inescapable dimension to Cypriot life, the British military presence.

The afternoon was spent on site, firstly visiting the ancient archaeological site of Kourion. IMG_9558We were able to view staggering Roman mosaics in the House of Achilles, which are protected from the elements under huge canopies. We made direct comparisons with the Mosaic Collective and appreciated the longevity of the medium and it’s ability to tell stories. The whole site was huge and included a cliff top auditorium, classical architectural details littered the area – a brilliant place. I got carried away photographing the ionic capitals in particular. As well as all the perfectly carved stone, the exposed structures of under-floor heating were made from stacked ceramic discs and blocks. Coming from a ceramics trained background, I am always drawn to such functional use of clay, not to mention the Roman drainage system & sewers. We completed our itinerary for the day at The Temple of Hylates.

Imagery © J.Sangster

Learning about Lefkara 

October 13, 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

You may recall we were about to embark on an overseas fieldtrip? Scran had the privilege of participating in the Archnetwork Erasmus+ course, Empowering Communities in Cyprus in September. Here’s the first instalment of our education officer’s report.

IMG_9427Tuesday 15th September 2015. Our all-female, party of five had travelled from Scotland. The group consisted of heritage & education professionals with definite interests museum practice, interpretation, learning and community engagement. Although, through the week other interests & skills would surface as we got to know each other.

Day one consisted of some orientation. For me, this was a first visit to Cyprus although others in the group had been before & we even had the privilege an ex-pat, Cypriot in our number. I purposely had not researched my destination in advance of my travels, so I was coming to the Kato Drys municipality uniformed & ready to learn. We were staying in the village of Pano Lefkara. IMG_9412The village & surrounding area is renowned for it’s lace making, so much so, in 2009 it was recognised by UNESCO. Lefkara laces or Lefkaritika was added to the list of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage . It also used to feature on a Cypriot bank note.

We set off on foot to explore the village with our host, Martin Clark. Just by our lodgings we started with some foraging – sampled fresh figs plucked from the tree, learned about the often, overlooked carob and picked a few almonds. The importance of these crops has been integral to the economy of Cyprus both past & present. Next we wondered towards the centre of the village to visit one of the many lace vendors, namely Harry & Maria Loizou’s shop.

IMG_9356Here we were welcomed with some homemade traditional lemonade & shown a wealth of Lefkaritika as well as locally made silver jewellery. I had not seen the lace in reality before and there was no doubt that Lefkaritika was indeed beautiful. The pieces on offer were mostly traditional & could be considered old fashioned by some, however the lace is labour intensive to produce and requires years of skill to become a proficient maker. The lace makers of Lefkara are traditionally women, who learn the art from their mothers & grandmothers. Sadly this knowledge of applying cotton thread to linen is being lost as the population shifts away from Lefkara and other socio-economic pressures increase on Cypriot life.

Loizou’s heavily stocked shop had an abundance of local hand crafted embroidery, which sat alongside a certain amount of imported mass-produced lace. This is testament to the financial straits the retailers of the village find themselves; in an attempt to offer cheaper products for the tourist market, it is however to the detriment of authentic, local lace making. This was not the only instance we would encounter such compromise, local high quality craft versus imported cheap mass production. The challenges of sustainable tourism were becoming obvious.
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Following-on our walking tour, we proceeded to explore the narrow streets and admire the vernacular architecture. Did you know, the dimensions of the typical Cypriot house were originally dictated by the standard length of the local trees. I was especially interested to discover the significance of the colours adoring the homes around the village. Coming from Northern Ireland, I am all tooIMG_9359 aware of the power and impact of certain colour schemes. We were informed the homes with blue doors, shutters & window frames, were those of Greek Cypriots whereas the homes with green paintwork, were those of Turkish Cypriots, some of which were unoccupied. In the same vein, many doors had knockers in the shape of a woman’s hand. These would be referred to as the hand of Mary or the hand of Fatima depending on whether it was a Greek Cypriot Christian or Turkish Cypriot Muslim home respectively. Amongst the numerous Greek Orthodox churches in Lefkara we visited the impressive & ornate 14th Century Timios Stavros church. Further down the hill we also admired the derelict, but well maintained, mosque. It quickly became apparent to me that impact of history, politics and conflict was visible everywhere. As a visitor it was plain to see Lefkara is one village, with two distinct communities linked through many common threads.
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IMG_9384Food brings people together, so later that day we had the pleasure of helping to make a batch of ketchup – this was a lot of fun. The glut of tomatoes had been harvested by a group of UK environmental conservation students on a course with Archnetwork’s, sister organisation Grampus. We also had a demonstration of preparing & preserving green olives for the coming months. IMG_9443Our evening meal was prepared for us by our second host, Panayiota Demetriou local resident of the neighbouring village of Kato Drys. We observed the lighting of the customary Cyprus outdoor oven, a selection of dishes including tavas was put in & the domed oven was then sealed with clay for several hours of slow cooking. The results were delicious & served us well as a welcoming feast.

Imagery © J.Sangster

Morningside Memories

October 7, 2015 by User deactivated | 2 Comments

A little while ago, we said to ourselves “Wouldn’t it be nice to get Scran off the computer screen and into the real world?”, and thanks to our friends at Morningside Library in Edinburgh, we’ve done just that.

Poster for Scran exhibitionThe staff at the library kindly allowed us to use their Charles Smith Room, located upstairs at the branch and usually filled by exhibitions by local artists. In it, we’ve hung 19 prints of Scran images of the local area from the archives of the National Museums of Scotland, The Scotsman and RCAHMS. These date from 1915 to 1979, and depict a bygone age when trams were still drawn by horses, kindly lollipop men helped children across busy junctions and Morningside Station was still a regular stop on the Edinburgh Suburban line. We worked with Bruntsfield Primary school and the Open Door Centre to choose some of the images, as well as the library staff themselves. The exhibition is free, and finishes on October 30th 2015.

All library card holders in Edinburgh can access Scran for free, 24/7, as can residents of 24 out of 32 local authorities in Scotland, and we hope to repeat this at other branch libraries throughout the country, with local residents and schools helping to choose their favourite local images. If you’re a school, library or community centre and you’re interested in hosting a similar exhibition showcasing your local area, then contact us.

Image: ©The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

 

Views of North Berwick & Vicinity (2)

October 1, 2015 by Scran | 1 Comment

John MarrSo far this week Law Primary School have thrown themselves into their research & investigation using Scran.

Yesterday, P5 used their digital detective skills to look at local heroes. The class then applied impressive, creative writing skills to produce some brilliant biopoems – all about local father & son, John & Freddy Marr. Here’s a sample of their hard work…

John or Daddy

Friendly, Brave, Jolly, Caring

Father of Alfred, Grandad of Chris

Who loved gannets, coastal nature and communicating with local people

Who felt happy, free and calm

Who feared damage of nature, hate and sharks

Who wanted to see dolphins jumping and red sunsetsIMG_0100

Who lived in North Berwick

Marr

Written by Rosie P5

Image © Portrait of John Marr, East Lothian Museums Service. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

To Infinity and Beyond

September 18, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Scran had a great time meeting the educators at Jupiter Artland on Wednesday, and we hope to work with them in the future on projects with schools and colleges.

An outdoor sculpture park hosting site-specific works by internationally-renowned artists including Cornelia Parker, Andy Goldsworthy, Marc Quinn and Antony Gormley, Jupiter Artland is set in the grounds of Bonnington House just on the western outskirts of Edinburgh, owned since 1999 by Robert and Nicky Wilson. Their ambition to open a sculpture park rather like Ian Hamilton Finlay‘s “Little Sparta” was realised in 2010, and each year since then, new artists have been invited to create sculptures that are inspire by, and relate to, the gardens and grounds of Bonnington House. There are now 24 permanent outdoor sculptures on display, and covered gallery spaces in the courtyard host temporary exhibitions each year.

We currently host images of many of the artworks at Jupiter Artland on Scran, ideal for study pre- or post-visit, and there is a possibility we may host more images in the future. In the meantime, the grounds of Jupiter Artland are open until the end of September 2015, and will reopen next May with new artworks.

Images of artworks at Jupiter Artland by Anish Kapoor, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Cornelia Parker © Andrew James  Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

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finlay

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On Show at the Colony of Artists

September 14, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Archive images from Scran were exhibited this weekend as part of the 10th annual Colony of Artists event at Abbeyhill in Edinburgh

Colony of Artists takes place every September when residents of Abbeyhill Colonies, a series of streets in the east of the city, open their doors to the public to show a varied collection of artworks that they have produced. More than 30 artists in 20 venues open their homes, to show painting, drawing, photography, mixed media and much more. In recent years this mix has grown to include music, storytelling, baking and street performance.

coloneyofartistsScran’s images were first used in last year’s event when Neil Gregory of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), joined forces with Abbeyhill resident Hilary Burwell to produce a pop-up exhibition about the history of buildings in the area. This showcased some of the area’s now defunct industries, churches and former school buildings. Many of the photographs in this exhibition came from the archives of RCAHMS and were taken as part of the organisation’s remit to survey and record Scotland’s built environment, particularly sites under threat from demolition or radical alteration. Scran was able to offer a social historical perspective to the show, as Neil Gregory pointed out: ‘The images on Scran, especially pictures from the Scotsman archive, were perfect for adding social context to the pictures of local buildings that we were showing, and it triggered so many memories for residents.’

abbeyhillThis year saw Hilary scale-up the exhibition, moving venue from her own home in the Colonies to the nearby Artisan Bar. Moving images, oral histories and portraits of local residents also formed part of the show and residents were encouraged to contribute their own archive material to the event.

A favourite Scran image on show featured a lorry crashing into the Artisan pub building on London Road. ‘This really got the stories going,’ commented Neil Gregory, ‘A lot of people remembered this event from 1969 and the near catastrophe that could have happened if the driver hadn’t had his wits about him as his vehicle careered down Montrose Terrace!’

Images © N Gregory, The Scotsman Publications Ltd. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

Empowering Communities in Cyprus

September 9, 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

Thanks to Archnetwork, Scran will be participating in one of their wonderful learning programmes.  We will be finding out about European diversity in cultural & natural heritage in Cyprus!

Scran, Tunnock's & Tartan

Scran, Tunnock’s & Tartan – a selection of Scottish favours for our Cypriot hosts

Kato Drys, is a traditional Greek Cypriot Village at 650 metres in the foothills of the Troodos mountains. The village is a centre for teaching about sustainable rural development. It was a partner in the ‘Leonardo da Vinci – Development of Innovation’ project 2010-13 and is entitled a ‘Green Village’. During that project the Community Council, led by the Muhktari (Mayor) Nikos Vasiliou and European Officer Panayiota Demetriou, worked on the themes Empowering Communities, Rural Food and Wood Products.

Now in 2015, Kato Drys Community Council in partnership with Archnetwork (within the framework ‘Erasmus Plus’) offer placements for education staff. Each placement revolves around a structured training course. The themes of the course follow two basic strands, culture or nature.Flag of Cyprus

Culture – that’s where Scran fits in.  So we’ll be bringing you updates from our overseas expedition in the coming weeks. We’ll share what we learn here on #Scranalogue and via Twitter @Scranlife, keeping you posted on the finer things in life, such as pottery firings and lace making. Along with our colleagues from The National Trust for ScotlandStrathnaver Museum & Caithness Horizons we’ll be visiting the Turkish Cypriot State, in Northern Cyprus and revealing some poignant Scran records related to the 1974 conflict.

So, follow us & find out what we get up. We are hoping our Tartan & Tunnock’s favours survive the journey and our hosts enjoy a wee taste of Scotland.

Images ©  Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

#clickhear Celebrating the Borders Railway

September 8, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Scran is marking two important events this month with a new audio Twitter campaign #clickhear.

Working with our partners, Scottish Borders Council Archive Service, we are currently uploading highlights from a newly hosted oral history collection – The Ian Landles Archive – onto our website. And to celebrate this and the historic reopening of the Borders Railway we are Tweeting out free soundbites with a railway flavour this month, offering a taster of some of the fascinating testimonies from Borders folk now available as Scran records.

Memories of working as drivers and firemen on the old Waverley Route, the sadness of seeing old engines go off for scrap, remembering the steam from the trains dirtying washing drying on the line.  These are just a few titbits from our soundbites which began on 6th September and will be Tweeted daily until 15th September.

Morningside Memories at The Open Door

September 4, 2015 by User deactivated | 0 comments

Scran shares its images with the Good Neighbour Club at The Open Door in Edinburgh

The Open Door, is a vibrant social centre in the capital’s Morningside. It runs a successful cafe and offers day services and art and creative writing groups for older people, people with mental health issues and other vulnerable people. The Good Neighbours Club meets here every Tuesday.

Morningside Road Station

Scran was invited to join the group to present a slideshow showcasing local content from the Scran website. Eighteenth-century maps and early photographs from our RCAHMS collections took us back to a time when Morningside was simply described as ‘a row of thatched cottages, a line of trees and a blacksmith’s forge’. Photographs from our Scotsman collections led us through 20th-century Morningside where we encountered steam trains and trams and the sad demise of Morningside Road Station. Shops on Morningside Road, schools, cinemas and public houses all featured. The session stirred some interesting chat about school days, wartime evacuation and local dance halls.

It was exciting to discover that The Open Door’s premises are situated adjacent to the former site of the railway station and exiting the building via a side door brought us bang up to date as we were privy to views of the deserted old station platform and the former ticket office, now the home of a chartered accountants and a newsagents.

Scran is a rich source of material for reminiscence practice. Our 20th century social history collections include The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Hulton Getty and the Scottish Life Archive. There’s also audio and video material available. Reminiscence Kits on Scran offer curated collections of images on themes such as Tenement Life, Stars of the Movies and Man on the Moon.

For more images of Morningside through history have a look at our Pathfinder: Looking Back at Morningside, Edinburgh.

Image © The Scotsman Publications Ltd, Station Master and Head Driver tend flower beds at Morningside Road Station, Edinburgh. Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

From Dunbar to Durham

September 2, 2015 by Scran | 0 comments

With the recent archaeological discoveries in Durham of Scottish soldiers in a mass grave, you might be curious to learn more about what happened at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.

Today Dunbar is affectionately known as Sunny Dunny by locals, however it has a much bloodier past. Cromwell invaded Scotland in July 1650, after the Scots had ignored his appeal for support and had proclaimed Charles II King. Cromwell crossed the border and attempted to meet up with his fleet at Leith and again at Queensferry, but without success.

He retreated to Dunbar where, in September of 1650, he was faced with a Covenanting army of over 20,000, led by David Leslie. To find out more see our dedicated Pathfinder: The Battle of Dunbar, it includes this medal, re-enactment imagery and an illustrated map of the event too.

Image © The Trustees of the British Museum, Military Award for the Battle of Dunbar, featuring Cromwell.  Licensor www.scran.ac.uk

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