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Heritage Connections Project

Published: 25 October 2023

A partnership between Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Heritage Association has been awarded a £12,000 grant from Museums Galleries Scotland (MGS) to work collaboratively to secure a more resilient and sustainable heritage community.

‘Heritage Connections’ will provide a platform for Shetland’s heritage community to explore connections, strengthen relationships, exchange experiences, access training and events, and plan for the future.

The jointly organised Heritage Conference in March 2023 recorded renewed interest in connecting people whilst noting that the largely volunteer community is often stretched to deliver. The partnership will work with the community to develop an understanding of the support needed by museums, heritage centres, heritage organisations and charities, interest groups and individuals all sharing a common interest in caring for, developing, sharing and celebrating Shetland’s unique cultural and natural heritage.

A series of workshops throughout the isles commences at Bressay Heritage Centre on Saturday 28th October to explore strengths and weaknesses of Shetland’s heritage community, and consider opportunities and threats, particularly for the voluntary sector. Anyone interested in attending this or subsequent workshops or training events, should sign up to the mailing list by emailing heritageconnections@outlook.com

Pat Christie, Chair of Shetland Heritage Association said: "This is a great opportunity to have conversations about what Shetland's heritage means to us all. Through partnership working with Shetland Amenity Trust we will be able to explore existing links within the voluntary heritage sector, find out what is needed and wanted, and look at how we can build on this to ensure we have a heritage network that is sustainable into the future.”

Eileen Brooke-Freeman, Cultural Heritage Officer with Shetland Amenity Trust added: “We are delighted to be working with Shetland Heritage Association to deliver Heritage Connections. The theme connections is central to this project and we have an exciting programme planned. Opportunities include heritage events, visits to heritage sites, and a range of training opportunities, including storytelling, film-making and caring for collections, commencing with Oral History training in November. The year will round off with a celebration next October where folk can share their own heritage projects. We are delighted that funding from MGS is enabling us to connect with the heritage community and give folk a range of new opportunities to connect with heritage.”

Project funding comes from the Forum Connections Fund, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Shetland network will become part of the MGS recognised network of geographic-based museum and heritage forums across Scotland, which provides opportunities to connect with and learn from each other. MGS funding will allow a range of activities to be trialled and this will feed into a forward plan.

Lucy Casot, CEO of Museums Galleries Scotland, said: “Museum and Heritage Forums are vital spaces for people to exchange ideas, share expertise, and spark new partnerships. Their collective voice makes them powerful advocates for Scotland’s valuable cultural heritage. We are very pleased that our Forum Connections Fund has led to the development of a recognised heritage forum for Shetland. We look forward to supporting Heritage Connections and the work to protect and promote the history and traditions of Shetland’s communities.”