Sophie’s Internship Diary: Week 3
Published 16th July 2021
During a very cloudy Week 3, I reached the mid-way point of my internship already. From the on-going research undertaken in Week 2, I have continued to speak to more experts within Fife Council and The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) to hear about their experiences with the shortage of skills in traditional construction.
With pressing worldwide issues such as the climate crisis and a lack of diversity in the workforce, to my surprise, often coming up in our conversations on the skills gap, I have come to understand the not-so-obvious reasons for why we need to protect our heritage. Not only are our traditional crafts, whether they are within construction or the arts, important to our heritage, they can also be an opportunity to offset carbon emissions and pollution (just in case you needed any more reason to support the protection of our traditional skills!). With traditional building techniques often developing out of necessity for durability and with the locally available materials in mind, it serves as a wonderful opportunity to create an alternative solution to imported or plastic materials. Meanwhile, inspiring diversity in construction will help to increase accessibility to the industry and drawing more interest in, positively encouraging safety and productivity to improve even further. I am an avid fan of discovering how the heritage sector can positively impact our wider society, showing how some solutions can be found in the most surprising places.
By attending both community activities of the Inverkeithing Regeneration Scheme, I was really able to appreciate how much the built environment helps to foster our sense of community, (literally and metaphorically) uniting us under the same roof. Allowing the community to regain ownership of their heritage gives life to their historical buildings, and the skills associated with them by connecting history and tradition to the present. While learning about embroidery in the Inverkeithing Heritage: Stitching in Time project, I was able to see the community acknowledge what makes them unique and special, and then represent that through art. Groups such as the Inverkeithing History Society also explore their own heritage by preserving and exploring their wonderful collections of records they hold safely in their custody. These activities were both wonderful events to be part of and really demonstrated the value of engaging with who we are in our local area.
For my upcoming week, I will be kept busy, continuing to gain valuable insights into the issues surrounding the skills shortage, while beginning to tie my thoughts together as I head at a startling pace towards the final weeks of my internship.