Scotland’s national Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017 saw the National Galleries of Scotland working with heritage partners in the Heritage Volunteer Organisers Scotland Network (HVOS) to celebrate the work of volunteers and volunteer managers in the Scottish heritage sector. This would not have been possible without the support of Museums Galleries Scotland Skills Development Fund and the in-kind support of HVOS partners and Volunteer Scotland.
During National Volunteers’ Week, the National Galleries of Scotland co-hosted the Celebrating Heritage Volunteers’ Symposium at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. HVOS partners shared skills and knowledge of collections handling, storytelling, photography, and heritage interpretation. People from across Scotland came together to celebrate the richness of opportunities for personal, professional, and community development through volunteering.
The Heritage Volunteer Managers' Conference took place at The Engine Shed of Historic Environment Scotland and kicked off the first city-wide Festival of Volunteering in Stirling. Focused on new thinking and best practice in volunteer management; workshops on volunteering and the law; volunteering and social media; measuring the impact of volunteering; and making volunteering more accessible all took place. Case studies were delivered by the National Galleries of Scotland, ProjectScotland, GalGael Trust, Police Scotland and Recruit with Conviction.
HVOS: Celebrating Heritage Volunteers' Symposium
The National Galleries of Scotland also co-delivered a case study with the National Trust for Scotland about working in partnership through the HVOS network. The first case study from the National Galleries of Scotland was presented by our Volunteer Programme Coordinator, Lauren Roden, and our Volunteer Photographer, Paul Edwards (and his guide dog Roscoe). A professional photographer all of his career, Paul has been delighted to get back into photography through volunteering after losing most of his sight in 2012. Paul has been volunteering as a photographer since the end of 2016 helping to document volunteer activities across the Galleries. Paul spoke about his journey to volunteering at the Celebrating Heritage Volunteers' Symposium as well as the Heritage Volunteer Managers' Conference.
In Pauls own words:
“I was really looking forward to doing a speech at the [Heritage Volunteer Managers'] Conference. It was going to be my third time presenting about my volunteering with the Galleries and I really enjoyed it. This time was different too; teaming up with Lauren Roden to speak to a variety of people involved in voluntary work.
My Guide dog Roscoe and I have been together for four months but this would be our first venture outside Edinburgh! We got to the train station for 7.30am and I took a picture of Roscoe, looking all soggy from the teeming rain. The weather never stops us! I'm a lifelong fan of railways and, not only enjoyed the journey but, the venue was a huge engine shed, just like the one I made for my son’s model railway!! The staff and everyone coming along were all so cheerful and positive - I just knew that this day was gonna be great. Somebody gave Roscoe a bowl of water and exclaimed he was their first Guide dog to visit. So proud!!
I guess there were about six speeches and ours was timed just before lunch. I felt really relaxed and enjoyed the other topics. Lauren and I described our work together, which only started 12 months ago but feels longer. Since ending as a professional photographer, working voluntarily as a photographer has been the most important motivation in my life since my sight loss changed my world in 2012. With important safety checks [at the Granton Art Centre] volunteering has included very privileged access which I especially wanted to talk about, a huge help to my self-esteem.
This was a special and memorable day for me. I'm loving giving talks about the things I have a passion for. The day, as with my previous speech, filled me with joy and I loved meeting others with similar goals. Roscoe enjoyed it too!”