Diverse Heritage

The Diverse Heritage Project encourages all members of our communities, especially young people, and people from marginalised and underrepresented groups, such as people of colour, members of the LGBTQI+ community, New Scots, and disabled persons, to take an active interest in local cultural heritage. We create year-round opportunities to celebrate our shared heritage through active participation, supporting community members to engage with the heritage of their choice on their own terms through co-design and co-delivery of activities and events. These include storytelling and oral history, community mapping, heritage walks, presentations, seminars, exhibitions and more.

Diverse Heritage aims to make Scottish heritage more inclusive and combat historical and current discrimination by celebrating the diverse cultures, traditions and customs of our communities past and present. We advocate for increased communal wellbeing and empowerment by fostering a sense of ownership of and belonging to Scotland’s spaces, places, and stories. A more inclusive and honest understanding of the country’s past benefits us all and encouraging more members of our communities to take part in recording, interpreting and celebrating cultural heritage ensures that our shared local neighbourhoods, landscapes and buildings remain relevant, well looked after, and welcoming for everyone to enjoy.

A rich range of co-designed projects has included work with:

  • West of Scotland Regional Equality Council as a trusted community partner to make new connections and develop our networks.
  • Action for Children and minority-ethnic young women at Broughton High School in Edinburgh to discover Scotland’s multicultural history and heritage.
  • Author, poet and historian, Lisa Williams, and young people from Strengthening Communities for Racial Equality Scotland in Edinburgh to create content for Black History Month.
  • Inspiring Families Development Network Scotland and Open Ayr CIC photographer, Becky Duncan, to deliver a series of online photography-skills workshops for Black families living in Renfrewshire.
  • OurStory Scotland and LGBT Health and Wellbeing hosting mapping and storytelling workshops in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayr to record and celebrate Scotland’s queer heritage.
  • with Glasgow Disability Alliance to draw attention to disabled queer people’s experiences of the city and to foster participation in cultural heritage by older, minority-ethnic, disabled people.
  • the Virtual Open Worlds computer-science team at University of St Andrews and disabled people’s organisations to create and collate virtual tours of some of Scotland’s best buildings
  • the British Deaf Association, the Refugee Survival Trust, the Sikorsky Trust and Glendale Women’s Café, among others, to expand Doors Open Days building tours into British Sign Language and languages such as Farsi, Polish and Urdu
  • the Virtual Open Worlds team to design and deliver a series of online, digital-skills workshops to enable wider participation by community groups in digital Doors Open Days 2020.
  • Community Wellbeing Collective, an arts and wellbeing group in Wester Hailes, advising and supporting a anti-racist storytelling and music session to increase community wellbeing and explore restorative practices when dealing with discrimination and prejudice.
  • Conyach, a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller organisation, to support indigenous cultural languages such as Cant in Scotland by highlighting lived experience and heritage appreciation through video storytelling and intergenerational testimonies in honour of International Mother Tongue Day.
  • Food for Change collective in Glasgow bringing awareness to the benefits of community groups using allotments to discuss aspects of climate change, circular economy, food sustainability and allotment storytelling.
  • African Caribbean Elders Scotland celebrating Africa Day focusing on the achievements of the African and Caribbean diaspora within Scotland and further afield, in the areas of science, technology and innovation through inspirational personal testimonies.
  • Creativity, Heritage, and Science Steering Group based in Aberdeen to create multidisciplinary community events to support local businesses and community groups. Also, increasing work experience and employability opportunities for local creative practitioners, community developers and scientists from marginalised backgrounds.
  • Nurses of Colour from Edinburgh to highlight institutionalised racism in the medical sector and promote wellbeing and healing practices when engaging with the lived experiences of medical professionals of colour through heritage storytelling.
  • Reflective intergenerational heritage walking tours in collaboration with Outdoors For You, the walking group organisation for underrepresented attendees to encourage exercise activity and amplify contributions of African and Caribbean individuals linked to Glasgow.

The Diverse Heritage project has organised two conferences with Scottish Civic Trust colleagues: Our Past, Our Future: Young People and Heritage in 2019 and, responding to the Black Lives Matter movement, Race and Heritage in Scotland in 2020. 

Good practice from the Diverse Heritage project has also been included in two Council of Europe-funded European Heritage Days research and engagement initiatives co-led by Scottish Civic Trust. Sharing Stories sought to better understand the barriers to and enablers for wider minority participation in built and cultural heritage across Europe. We Are Culture is a toolkit to help European Heritage Days coordinators co-create, deliver, and evaluate events that include and reflect the diversity of cultures in Europe.

We’re always keen to work with more partners to co-create heritage projects – drop us a line at sct@scottishcivictrust.org.uk to talk about your ideas with our Diverse Heritage team.

The Diverse Heritage project is supported by: