Project News

November 2019

It’s been a busy Summer! Welcome on board to the latest collections we have brought in; from The University of Glasgow, Gairloch Museum, Aberdeenshire Museums Services, Aberdeen City Art Gallery & Museum, Springthyme Records and The University of ST Andrews, a total of 1650 items.

Wonderful discoveries have been made everywhere, both within the recorded content and on the physical carriers themselves.

We Are enjoying listening to a plethora of Scottish tongues, from Doric to Gaelic, from Border Scots to Caithnessian.

The majority of rights have been cleared on the University of Strathclyde collection ‘Women in the Communist Party in Scotland’ along with the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club’s collection of birdsong and interviews with ornithologist’s. If you would like to hear a snippet of some of these recordings or some music from Western Isles Libraries, you can listen to a small selection of clips from the collections being digitally preserved through the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project via Our Sounds from UOSH.

First Artist-in-Residence Announced

The UOSH project has recently engaged its first artist in residence, Val O’Regan from the Birdhouse Studio in Argyll. Val will be working with Innellan Primary School and Benmore Botanic Gardens, to create new artist works inspired by the recordings from the Scottish Ornithologists Club.

You can follow this on Val’s Instagram page


For Unlocking Our Sound Heritage we will be developing an artist-in-residence programme, where different artists will be invited to explore the collections and their context to inspire new works and interpretations, and to compose new pieces. This could be any type of artist, who will be invited to research the sound archives and open up the collections to new audiences. Part of the artist’s outcomes will be to work with different community partner(s), in Scotland, so that they are involved as part of the journey, in exploring and selecting items from the collections and contributing to outcomes. For this first residency, a collection of birdsong, interviews with ornithologists and ornithological conference proceedings from the Scottish Ornithologist’s Club will be the source material.

The programme will aim: 

  • To inspire new works and interpretations, and compose new pieces
  • For the artist to engage community partner(s) and special interest groups with their artistic practice and take part in a range of creative workshops using the archival audio
  • To work with community partner(s) and special interest groups to select and interpret recordings o work with community partner(s) and special interest groups to select and interpret recordings

June 2019

This month the UOSH project have been very busy with new  collection pick-ups, an opportunity with PhD students to get involved with the project, and continuing our volunteers, and some progress clearing rights in our recordings.

Scottish Ornithologist’s Club and Western Isles Libraries,  were our most recent collection partners. Kathleen and Susan, thank you very much for all your efforts in getting the collections ready for pick-up (and a very special thank you to Jana who braved the ferry for a Le Carre like handover at Ullapool ferry terminal!).

After two days meeting up with UOSH hubs from across the UK in Newcastle, the team travelled to the west coast of Scotland, making for Gairloch. We had a wonderful Scotland’s Sounds stakeholder meeting, it was great to meet new faces and old faces alike and to get a sneak preview of the new Gairloch Museum, I would urge you all to visit if you get the chance, fabulous place!

June saw an opportunity given to PhD students who are part of the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities. Over six days, their mornings comprised a series of presentations on all aspects sound archives, cataloguing, digitisation and copyright, along with a careers talk and some thoughts for the future. In the afternoons they gave something back by volunteering with the project and completing oral history summaries.

Two of our first round of volunteers, Toby & Lucy, enjoyed themselves so much that they have come back to volunteer with us again. In addition, we have a student placement, Kirsty. All three of them have been working on creating product level catalogue entries.

Our Rights Officer, Mel, has been sending out grant of permission forms to the rights holders of the University of Strathclyde Collection—Women in the Communist Party in Scotland. This has led to her having some fascinating conversations with interviewees, reminiscing about their recordings, it has also resulted in a flurry of mail, as the permission forms come back to us.

April 2019

UOSH Project Update: Collections Coming in Thick and Fast

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage is moving along nicely with more Collections coming in keeping the team busy, we have recently received the following Collections;

  • The Scottish Decolonisation Project (National Library of Scotland) – 167 items
  • Against all the odds: women in the Communist Party in Scotland 1920-91 [oral history interviews] (University of Strathclyde) – 105 items
  • The University experience 1945-1975: an oral history of the University of Strathclyde [interviews] (University of Strathclyde) – 59 items
  • Oral History Collection (Museums and Galleries Edinburgh) – 500 items
  • Salt of the Earth Collection [oral history interviews about working lives] (National Museums Scotland) – 311 items
  • Scottish Life Archive [oral history interviews] (National Museums Scotland) – 92 items

For these we have so far produced 409 product entries that describe the physical items found in the collections. We have also produced 50 recording level entries that describe some of the recordings found on those items.

An additional 228 recording entries for the first collection (Scotland’s Record) have now been ingested into the British Library SAMI catalogue.

March 2019

Volunteers give helping hands (and ears) to the UOSH Project 

Our first UOSH volunteers started back in January and have been a fantastic group of 6 volunteers, either currently studying or recently graduated and looking to develop skills and knowledge in sound archives. They have been learning how to digitise and catalogue audio material, as well as research some of the recordings that have been digitised. They have also undertaken some curation training and are each producing a small-scale curated project for us.

The team have just started working with a second cohort of volunteers who have come from the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP). This cohort will also be assisting us in content research – listening to digitised recordings and recording information from or about those recordings. DWP volunteers are part of a scheme where they will be donating 10,000 hours to community charities or special projects and we are delighted that 11 volunteers have chosen to come and give their time to our project.

Our volunteers have already had a huge impact on our project and we look forward to keeping you up-to-date with the continued contribution of our volunteers throughout the Project.

January 2019

Unlocking Our Sound Heritage – Our First Collections Are In

The UOSH team have been extremely busy getting the project going in Scotland and have recently collected their first Collections from outside the National Library.

The first collection came from the University of Strathclyde archives including University Experience and Women in the Scottish Communist Party

The next collection was from Edinburgh Museums, an oral history collection, providing us with a great collection of tapes, minidiscs and most importantly lots of stories to preserve and use.

Plenty to keep the team busy, but more Collections arriving soon.