Sophie’s Internship Diary: Weeks 1 & 2
Uploaded 5th July 2021
Settling down once more into a new remote workspace from my dining table, I begin my internship for the Fife Historic Buildings Trust. Even though I am outside the atmosphere of a real workspace, my experience so far has been just as fulfilling, keeping myself productive and motivated by engaging with a variety of rewarding projects, all contributing to the communities of Fife, and their vibrant history. After my warm welcome from the FHBT into their wonderful digital office, I am excited to be learning about the processes which go into looking after my local heritage.
My love for Scottish history and heritage especially lured me into taking this opportunity to gain experience in historical buildings. Buildings, and especially their construction, admittedly are completely new to me, with only a faint familiarity with cornices and pilasters coming from my Art History lectures at university. Although, it is impossible to miss their importance in the heritage sector. As we interact with historic buildings, unobstructed by time or the museum display glass, we strengthen our sense of place and connections to the past in a tangible and magical way. Long past their initial construction, traditional buildings continue to shape the experiences of the local communities today and are a wonderful tool for making history accessible to our everyday lives. However, especially within our town centres, their historical significance can slip from our minds as we go by our day-to-day business. As silly as it sounds, this was something I realised each time my dad would tell me about the history of the buildings in Inverness, the local city to where I grew up. As I would look above the shopfront, I’d seem to see something new every time and ever richer did my understanding of those around me, and who came before me, flourish.
Assuring the protection of our historic buildings is through the safety of the traditional skills required for their construction and maintenance. This has been the belief surrounding the first task of my internship, as I get to understand the traditional skills gap in the construction workforce. With the kind help of many others who have offered to share their experiences, I have been making progress in collecting information for the early planning stages of a traditional skills audit for Fife, which will continue to develop in the coming weeks.