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Domhnall Sheoc and Mairi with family at 25 North Shawbost, Lewis. Courtesy of CEATS-Siabost, the West Side Society, Lewis and Tasglann nan Eilean

Tasglannan Coimhearsnachd: Cothroman agus Dùbhlain

Meet our speakers

Read the full timetable, find out about bursaries, travel and accommodation, and book your place on our event page.


John Chambers, Chief Executive

Archives and Records Association UK & Ireland

  • ARA-UK Community Archives and Heritage Group
  • Overview of network and its purpose, resources/guidance available and current activities in Scotland and UK
  • How and why should community archives get involved and join the network?
  • Archivists and Community Archives - benefits of working together?

John Chambers is chief executive of the Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) and has been since it was founded in June 2010. Prior to that he was Executive Director of the Society of Archivists. John has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years and previously managed mental health and HIV/Aids charities as well as Citizens Advice Bureaux.


Amy McDonald, Engagement & Learning Co-ordinator, Connecting Scotland’s Sounds

Naomi Harvey, PhD Researcher, Scotland’s Sounds

National Library of Scotland, Scotland’s Sounds Project

  • Overview of the Connecting Scotland’s Sounds project
  • Future and Upcoming plans for Scotland’s Sound Archive
  • How can community archives and heritage groups get involved/available training and resources
  • Challenges and opportunities in setting out to establish a national sound archive

Amy McDonald is Engagement & Learning Coordinator for Connecting Scotland's Sounds - a 2016/2017 project hosted at the National Library of Scotland which champions the preservation and sharing of Scotland's rich audio heritage. She organises knowledge exchange opportunities for people caring for sound collections across Scotland, and develops collaborations to create activities engaging new listeners with relevant archive recordings­­­­. Prior to this project, Amy worked in engagement roles at the Scottish Poetry Library and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and in marketing roles in arts and tourism organisations.


Naomi Harvey is currently researching access to and preservation of intangible cultural heritage in sound collections in Scotland, via a collaborative PhD studentship between Heriot-Watt University and the Scotland's Sounds project at the National Library of Scotland. Her background includes work in the archival field, as a cataloguer for the Tobar an Dualchais project and also as a trainee with the SCA's Skills for the Future programme. She is also a traditional musician and performer, and has worked for several community-based projects focussing on collecting, recording and teaching traditional Scots and Gaelic song.


Annie MacSween

Chair of Comunn Eachdraidh Nis (Ness Historical Society)

  • Origins of the Comainn Eachdraidh movement in the Western Isles
  • What was the impetus and aims when CE Nis began 40 years ago?
  • What has been achieved?
  • What do they hope to achieve in future?

Annie graduated MA Hons (Celtic Studies) from Aberdeen University and then qualified as a secondary teacher and became Assistant Principal Teacher of Gaelic at the Nicolson Institute, Stornoway.  She was seconded to the feasibility study of the Van Leer Community Education Project and it was during this time that Comunn Eachdraidh Nis – the first comunn eachdraidh in the Western Isles - was established.  She also served on the first phase of the Community Education Project and was appointed Bilingual Development Officer at Comhairle nan Eilean, finally becoming Head of Gaelic at Lews Castle College, UHI. She continues to provide Gaelic translation services to a number of organisations and last year received Urram nan Gàidheal - a Lifetime Achievement Award - at the prestigious Scottish Gaelic Awards, in recognition of her work.


Dr Mark Mulhern & Professor Gary West

Dumfries and Galloway - A Regional Ethnology Study

  • Overview of the study
  • Outline of the partnership model used - combining ‘official’ records with interviews, oral history recordings and community participation to create a picture of regional histories and identities
  • Approach to fieldwork and training of volunteers

Mr Mark Mulhern, Research Fellow, European Ethnological Research Centre (EERC), University of Edinburgh, Celtic & Scottish Studies. Mark has been with the EERC for over 10 years. In that time he was an editor on the 'Scottish Life & Society: A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology' series. He is general editor of the 'Flashbacks' series and is the lead on the oral strand of 'Dumfries and Galloway: A Regional ethnology'.


Professor Gary West


Dr Jan Merchant, Senior Archivist
University of Dundee/CAIS - Oral History Project Case Study

  • Overview of ‘Voices of Dundee’ oral history project
  • How and why was the project set up?
  • Lessons learned?
  • Outcomes and benefits to local community and archive
  • Oral History Courses – distance learning available via CAIS

Jan has been working as an Archivist for over 20 years in local authority and university settings where she has enjoyed doing outreach and education projects. These have ranged from helping a local community establish their own archive to activities with primary school classes using original material. Since returning to work with the University of Dundee Archive Services, Jan has also created workshop sessions and projects for undergraduates across the arts, humanities and science disciplines. She has also taught modules with CAIS and currently helps supervise their dissertation students.


Seonaid McDonald & Shona MacLellan

Tasglann nan Eilean/Hebridean Archives, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar & Skills for the Future Traineeship

  • Overview of development of the archive service and vision for its future progress
  • Collaboration between archive service and community archives - how to develop existing links and what mutual benefits might be delivered
  • Overview of Skills for the Future Traineeship - Traditional Skills
  • Highlights of traineeship and skills development

Following graduation from Glasgow University, Seonaid trained, and briefly worked, as a secondary teacher. She was then employed as a historical research assistant first for St Andrew’s University and later on the Bank of Scotland’s academic history, published to commemorate its tercenentary. At the conclusion of the tercentenary history project she was appointed to the permanent staff of the Bank’s archives and subsequently attained her professional archives qualification through distance learning. A long career in the bank saw her eventualy promoted to Head of Archives and Museums (Scotland) for Lloyds Banking Group. In November 2015, she was appointed Archivist to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Her personal interests include the Gaelic language and culture.


Shona is a Skills for the Future trainee based at Tasglann nan Eilean (Hebridean Archives) in the Western Isles.

Since leaving Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye, with an HND in Business Administration and a Post-grad Diploma in Television and Multimedia, Shona has worked in the media industry for about 15 years. This included working as a communications officer for the public sector but latterly working as a researcher for an independent TV company where her role included researching archive material for documentaries for BBC Alba.

Her internship is based on learning Traditional Archive Skills, such as cataloguing and preserving, with some outreach and education included. Shona is also currently studying a Scottish Cultural Studies degree with UHI and hopes to work within the Heritage sector after her internship. 



Natalie Milor, NGS Skills for the Future Digitisation Project Manager
National Galleries of Scotland

  • Overview of digitisation traineeship programme aims
  • Practical approaches to common issues
  • Tips and answers to common FAQs about digitisation

In 2013 the National Galleries of Scotland and our partner the National Library of Scotland were awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to allow us to employ 12 trainees over the course of 3.5 years to help us digitise our collections. The trainees were employed in groups of 6. The first cohort was in post for 18 months and our second group, who will be presenting today, will be in post for 21 months.

Natalie Milor (HLF Project Coordinator) and Heather Fulton, Leyla Tecelli, Kit Guy, Ali Gowers, Helena Robson and Ioana Cosma (Skills for the Future Trainees)


Debbie Potter, Trainee Archivist & Jamie Gaukroger, Am Baile Co-ordinator
Highland Archive Centre

  • Case study of ‘Am Baile’ Digitisation Project
  • Planning, procuring, metadata and preservation
  • Outcomes of project and lessons learned 

Debbie joined the Highland Archive Service in 2014, as a Trainee Archivist based at the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness. This 4 year post provides additional funding for training which enables the postholder to undertake a qualification in Archives and Records Management, while in full-time work. Debbie recently finished the diploma section of the MLitt in Archives and Records Management at the University of Dundee, and plans to write her dissertation on community engagement from a Highland perspective with a particular focus on engagement with dispersed and rural communities.


Jamie joined the Am Baile team (then part of the Library Service within The Highland Council) in November 2002 having studied history at the University of Strathclyde and worked for the library service in Edinburgh. Starting as Metadata Creator he became Content Co-ordinator of the site in May 2005, a post he held until 2011, when the project became a single-manned operation. Am Baile transferred to the Highland Archive Service in 2015, and development continues with a new mobile-friendly website scheduled to launch in Autumn 2017.