Venturing into the wild: Telling the tale

Venture Trust, National Museums Scotland and young carers groups in Glasgow have joined forces to enable 12 young people with caring responsibilities to explore changing land use triggered by Scotland’s silent revolution, the Lowland Clearances. You can find out more about the project in this previous post.

After their heritage journey, which you can read about here, the group returned home to nice warm beds, dry clothing and a proper roof over their heads. The expedition had been designed to challenge the group physically and mentally, whilst allowing them to experience some of the hardships the cottiers had to deal with when they were cleared from the Lowlands during the 18th century. Along the way they visited sites of historical interest and observed the changes in land use from the 1600s until the present day. Part of the project was to document their findings with photographs and to create a presentation of their findings. Here’s what the group had to say about it…

Presenting our story

The next thing we had to do was to pull all of our findings into a proper presentation. We met up again at the Venture Trust Office in Cumbernauld for a weekend of research, editing and writing, where we worked really hard to create a project which wasn’t just factually accurate but looked interesting too. We decided that we wanted to tell our story and present our research on 4xA2 boards, with as many pictures as possible instead of lots of writing.

Once we had agreed what the overall presentation should look like, what should be on each board and how the journey should be illustrated, we split into small groups to edit the pictures (there were a lot of pictures!), edit and tidy up the journey blog, do more research to make sure we hadn’t got anything wrong and fill in any blanks. It was a fairly intense day with the whole group working hard from around 10 until 4 (on a Saturday!) but by the end of the day we had an edited slideshow, 90% of the pictures decided, the bulk of the captions agreed and most of the blog written. All in all, a good day’s work.

The staff suggested that rather than have another day spent in front of laptops on the Sunday we would have a bit of a reward for all of the hard work and go to the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena at Ratho.  Only one or two of us had ever climbed before and we had an excellent day out, with everyone pushing themselves really hard. We all set ourselves goals based on what we wanted to achieve and everyone did better than they expected. Simon asked what we’d learned and we agreed that we’d all exceeded our own expectations, which proved that sometimes we needed to step outside of our comfort zones to learn about ourselves and that more often than not we are capable of far more than we believe! With another productive weekend under our belts we agreed to reconvene again as a smaller group in a few weeks’ time to put the boards together.

In between these two sessions Stuart sent the proposed captions, descriptions and presentation content to the staff at National Museums Scotland, who kindly proofed them for accuracy and spelling. This meant that when we got back together we could focus on the look of the presentation. When the final session to complete the boards came around we really got stuck in. We met at Venture Trust’s Glasgow office and worked through the final layout. There were bits of paper, glue and photographs everywhere. Stuart said he’d “seldom worked with a more motivated bunch”.

Boards illustrating the group's journey
Two of the boards illustrating the group’s journey.

We had a very productive session and by the end of it we had four presentation boards that everyone agreed illustrated the journey and the experience very well. Now all we had to do was present it….

Graduation day

We decided that the graduation should be held in Glasgow to allow as many family and friends as possible to attend, but that we wanted to host the event in a venue that was relevant to the project. We decided that a museum would be a good choice and after a little bit of research we decided that the St Mungo Museum would be perfect.

We decided on the guest list, making sure to invite all of the partners who had helped us along the way. We invited the Heritage Lottery staff who had funded the project, the Venture Trust staff who had delivered the project and the National Museums Scotland staff who had given us a tour and helped with research and getting this blog live. We also made sure to invite Robert and Margaret from our Young Carers groups as they had done a lot to make sure we had the support we needed to take part.

On the day, we set up the boards and the display stands with our presentation and photographs of the journey. Then the guests started to arrive. Lots of the guests were family and friends and it was good to be able to show them the work we’d all done and introduce them to the people who’d been involved.

Venture Trust staff explained a  bit about the project and how it came about and Sharon read out some thoughts and experiences that one of the girls who wasn’t able to attend had written. We were then called up one at a time for our certificates and a group picture.

Graduation day
Graduation day.

We had a bite to eat and had a chat with some of the National Museums Scotland staff and they invited us to display our project in the National Museum of Rural Life. We didn’t really expect that our work would end up in a museum when we started out all those months ago but it’s been a great project and we all really enjoyed it.

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