Public engagement programme

We’re working with a range of fantastic partners to help audiences listen in to Scotland’s past.

Upcoming events

Jazz Stories from Scotland, 29 November 2017, Traverse Bar, Edinburgh

As recorded jazz celebrates its centenary we invite you to dive into Scotland’s jazz heritage. Join us to discover some of the treasures of the pre-digital past, and hear jazzers share their memories of the Scottish jazz scene. Drawing on existing materials collected by members of the Edinburgh Jazz Archive, the evening will feature presentations by Scottish jazz pioneers alongside short films, archival recordings, photography, live music and dance performances. This event marks launch of a Scotland-wide initiative for the establishment of a national jazz archive to preserve the recordings and documents that help tell the remarkable story of jazz in Scotland. A collaborative event between Edinburgh Napier University and the Connecting Scotland’s Sounds project.

This event is free but ticketed – book your place at (


Here are a few ongoing projects where we’re working to share Scotland’s audio heritage:

  • Scots Song in Schools project called Finding Our Voices in partnership with Local Voices and the Scots Language Centre. A number of school classes in Dundee, Angus and East Fife are participating in workshops involving archive Scots recordings.
  • Hear Here‘ with the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities: researcher residencies in sound collections based in Perth & Kinross, near Dumfries and in Oban
  • A project to co-create podcasts featuring archive audio recordings from Helmsdale, Orkney, Glasgow and Fife and the voices and interpretation of local communities – working title Unheard Of.

Past public engagement activities:

20 & 21 September 2017, Scottish Learning Festival, Glasgow a collaboration with Tobar an Dualchais ( to draw attention to the archive recordings that can be used in the classroom.

14 & 15 August 2017, Scotland’s New Towns at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, a drop-in discovery area led by the National Library of Scotland in Greenhouse 3 on George Street. Oral history recordings of people describing what it was like to Scotland’s New Towns were shared with visitors via an audio post and printed posters. These recordings were courtesy of CultureNL Museums, West Lothian Archives and the University of Glasgow.

11 August 2017, Library Social: all the fun of the fair, an event for people living with dementia and their carers. An audio recording of John MacDonald describing his first trip to the circus around 1914 was shared, courtesy of Inverness Museum & Art Gallery and Am Baile.

19 July 2017, Press Play: animating the voices of the Borders, a fascinating introduction to the world of animated film  Simone Russell. Children ages 8 to 12 met at Lauder Public Hall and used recorded interviews as their soundtrack to create animations to help others explore the history of the Borders.

15 June 2017, ‘Sounding Borders: the spark of spoken memories’, a talk with recorded sound at the Borders Book Festival (5.30pm – 6.30pm). From animations to drama pieces and from print-making to poetry, the last 5 months have seen people across the Borders responding to the rich oral history collections held by the Scottish Borders Archive. A special Borders Book Festival event will take attenders on a virtual tour of these creative projects, and give you the chance to listen in to Borders past via the recorded life stories which inspired them.

2 April, Canna Pier Waiting Room : Fuaim na Mara | The Sound of the Sea, launch of the waiting room soundtrack and visuals created by the Canna Community, Guest Sound Curator and musician Yvonne Lyon and artist Anne Mackay, supported by Canna Archivist Fiona Mackenzie. Listen to the new tracks via specially-created YouTube videos.

28 February & 28 March 2017, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh :  ‘Mapping Scotland in Sound’, tours of the ‘You Are Here’ exhibition with descriptions  of the maps and archive sound recordings to complement their themes.

2 February 2017, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh : ‘Coming In’, a celebration of LGBTQI life stories in partnership with OurStory Scotland and LGBT Health & Wellbeing. This event featured audio recordings from OurStory Scotland’s collection, which are archived at the National Library, alongside live accounts, and interested participants were recorded telling their own stories of coming in to Scotland or being elsewhere.

9 December 2017, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh : ‘Pantomime in Scotland’, looking back through film and sound’ with Dr Paul Maloney from the Queens University Belfast (part of the Library Social Programme for people living with dementia and their carers)

12 November 2016, ‘Community Heritage Conference’ at the Town House in Aberdeen, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland : gathering of community heritage champions, who got to listen to oral history, storytelling and musical clips from the North East of Scotland.

29 October: ‘Cran of Song event at Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther with Meg Hyland, from the University of St Andrews, focusing on memories of fishing music with a soundtrack trail trough the museum’s galleries, live talks and performances.

27 October: ‘Talking Shop evening event at the University of Dundee exploring archive recordings about the world of commerce in Dundee through oral history clips, songs and poetry.

19 October: Community engagement session in Collin near Dumfries with the European Ethnological Research Centre. An afternoon talk sharing local history recordings collected as part of the Dumfries & Galloway Regional Ethnology study.

1 October: Puppet-making workshop with Zenwing Puppets at Elgin Library with recordings from Greentrax and Inverness Museum & Art Gallery. A family workshop where participants listened to recordings featuring music an interview of the late John MacDonald.