IHBC’s ‘Opinion’ signpost to BEFS: ‘In the Footsteps of Geddes’ – engaging young people with place & heritage 

peopleIn an opinion piece for BEFS, Scotland’s link body for built environment bodies, Wojciech Borowski, Project Coordinator at Planning Aid Scotland (PAS), reflects on the two-year Heritage Lottery funded youth project titled ‘In the Footsteps of Geddes’, focussed on engaging young people with place & heritage.

image PAS via BEFS website

Wojciech Borowski writes:

The last day of March saw the end of the project that I was leading since I became a team member at Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) in 2016. Over the course of two years, we engaged a wide variety of groups of young people across Scotland with place and history. The project explored the Geddesian approach of talking and learning about place through visual education. The ultimate goal was to improve young people’s engagement with the heritage of their area, introduce them to new digital technology and to promote ‘active citizenship’. You can learn and see more, including the panoramic images and 3D models created by the participants, by visiting the project website www.inthefootstepsofgeddes.com.

One of the issues commonly experienced by young people is the distance between them and the things that they want to do and see. Thanks to the generous funding from the HLF, PAS was able to be indiscriminate about where the project could be taken and who could take part. We worked in Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline in Fife, Possilpark in Glasgow, Oudenarde near Bridge of Earn and Kinross in Perth & Kinrosss and Lochgilphead in Argyll and Bute. Our organisation’s first was the series of workshops that took place at the Young Offenders Institution in Polmont.

We put heavy emphasis on engagement with ‘seldom-heard’ groups and individuals. Because of this we teamed up with Article 12, an organisation supporting some of the most marginalised young people, such as young Gypsy/Travellers. A result of this was an interactive workshop followed by a visit to a heritage site, courtesy of Historic Environment Scotland (HES also supported us in other project locations). Moreover, we cooperated with the Scottish Prison Service and Fife College to engage a group of young men at HMP&YOI Polmont; the group enjoyed interpreting the Place Standard tool in the context of the establishment and engaging with the guest speakers, Scottish Historic Buildings Trust’s Russell Clegg, presenting on the various building trades and professions involved in historic restorations, and Jenny Wood, a planner and researcher, talking about the rights of children and young people in the context of the current planning process and placemaking….

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