A time capsule, a series of educational resources based on the award-winning production of Far Far From Ypres, and a map of Scottish Memorials on the Western Front are being handed over to Poppyscotland as part of Scotland’s WW1 centenary legacy.
The time capsule, a wooden box made by veterans at Erskine and locked by Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs will be kept by Poppyscotland to be opened on 4 August 2114, the 200th anniversary of the start of WW1. It contains a number of mementos including copies of the historic booklets produced for the commemorations, films and photos. It will be housed in the refurbished Poppy Factory in Canonmills when it re-opens in 2021.
A series of educational resources inspired by award-winning Scottish folk production Far, Far from Ypres has been released to help schools across the country learn about the impact WW1 had on Scotland.
A partnership between WW100 Scotland, Poppyscotland and Great War Dundee, the project is one of the final elements of Scotland’s national commemorative programme which promises to leave behind an educational legacy that encourages further exploration of the war.
Far, Far from Ypres is a critically-acclaimed multimedia production using the songs of the trenches to tell the story of the Scottish war effort. Devised, written and produced by Ian McCalman, a commemorative tour of the production took place in 2018, featuring 26 performers including Scottish folk scene favourites such as Barbara Dickson, Siobhan Miller and Dick Gaughan. The ten-venue tour, which closed with a performance at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on the centenary of the first Armistice Day, was awarded Event of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards 2018.
Created to complement the SQA National 5 and Higher history curriculum, the new resources comprise a series of videos grouped into four key content areas – Scots on the Western Front, Domestic Impact of War: Society and Culture, Domestic Impact of War: Industry and Economy, and Domestic Impact of War: Politics.
Featuring a mixture of musical performances from the Far, Far from Ypres production and discussions with leading academics, some of the themes covered include recruitment and conscription, experience of life in the trenches, commemoration and remembrance, pacifism and conscientious objectors, and propaganda and the press. Experts include Derek Patrick, associate lecturer at the University of St Andrews, and Dr Billy Kenefick, a former lecturer at the University of Dundee who now leads the Great War Dundee project.
There are also a selection of source documents linked to key content areas to help students analyse and contextualise historical sources, a specific skills focus of the qualifications. Teachers can access the resources by visiting the Poppyscotland Learning website.
Commenting on the project, Ian McCalman said: “It was an honour to tour Far, Far from Ypres as an integral part of Scotland WW1 centenary commemorations last year and I am delighted it has helped to inspire these valuable educational resources. The songs convey a range of emotions, from sadness and anger through to love, hope and the joyful camaraderie of soldiers in the trenches. They offer insight into how it might have felt to be experiencing the war 100 years ago, lending powerful context to key events in an era very different from our own.”
A map, created by WW100 Scotland will soon be launched on the Poppyscotland website for anyone who wishes to visit the many Memorials on the Western Front battlefields dedicated to Scottish Regiments and Battalions.
Poppyscotland will also look after the library of resources (historical booklets, films and education resources) which will be housed on the Poppyscotland website and be the custodian of the “What Do We Learn From All Th1s?” exhibition.
The exhibition, commissioned by the Scottish Government, delivered by research and design collective Lateral North and facilitated by the Scottish Print Network, uses traditional print making techniques combined with innovative technology. Five print studios in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, with artists from 14 years of age upwards, contributed to the project. It displays the matrices used to develop each of the artists’ 100 unique prints on wooden plinths arranged in a map of Scotland. Augmented reality technology enables visitors to explore each of the stories in detail with an iPad. The exhibition is on show at the Scottish Parliament until September 20. It will then tour Scotland, first visiting the Black Watch Museum in Perth from 23 September-25 October 2019.
From individual acts of valour on the battlefield to naval tragedies off Scotland’s coast, from the thousands of workers filling factories at home to the brave members of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at the Western Front, from innovations in areas such as surgery and aviation to the enduring work of poets and artists in the trenches, the project takes in a wide range of stories and subjects that will resonate throughout Scotland.
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: “Over the past five years people across the country have come together to deliver a diverse programme of poignant events and projects in memory of those who lost their lives 100 years ago.
“One of the aims of the Commemorations Panel was to encourage a spirit of research and inquiry. The stories that were uncovered and the educational materials collected will leave a lasting legacy for future generations, helping people 200 years on to understand what we learned from the war and this WW1 commemoration.”
Professor Norman Drummond, chair of WW100 Scotland, said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as the chair of the Scottish Commemorations Panel which has overseen the commemorations of WW1. A key theme that we have learnt throughout has been how important it is to use memory as a tool for the living. The rich stories of the past have been used to great effect to tell current generations of Scotland’s role, and its people, during World War One.
“As I pass on the custodianship to Poppyscotland, I hope that in one hundred years’ when the time capsule is opened – and when the war is even more distant in history – it will provide future stimulus to reflect on and learn from the past for the generations that are to come.”
“I would like to pay particular tribute, on behalf of WW100 Scotland, to all those intrepid and imaginative organisers on the ground who have steadily encouraged others to participate in events or to research background history of those who served, whether as family or friends, and to bring together a whole series of significant commemorations of those ‘who for our tomorrow gave their today’.”
Receiving the time capsule on behalf of Poppyscotland was the charity’s Head of Fundraising & Learning, Gordon Michie. He said: “Poppyscotland is honoured to have been entrusted with the safekeeping of this remarkable artefact. The time capsule will take pride of place as a central feature within Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, which will reopen after refurbishment in late 2020.
“Together with the wide range of WW100 resources which we are embedding within our ongoing learning and outreach work, Poppyscotland will ensure that the legacy from the commemorative period continues to engage and inspire learning over the next 100 years.”