Abbot House, one of Dunfermline’s oldest buildings, is the focus of a new community-led film project, supported by Scotland’s Urban Past (SUP). The project aims to record and celebrate the distinctive coral-pink building in its current role as a cultural hub.
SUP, a nationwide initiative that puts local communities in charge of recording the history on their doorsteps, responded to a request from Dunfermline residents for help in recording the importance of their community space before it closes to the public on 15 August 2015. The SUP team provided volunteers with the resources and skills needed to produce a short film about Abbot House, through training in film techniques, conducting oral history interviews and video production.
The film will focus on the passionate volunteers who have dedicated their time to Abbot House since it was first developed as a heritage centre in the 1990s and the wide range of activities that currently take place in the community space, including storytelling sessions, social meetup groups, English language courses and the Dunfermline Young Archaeologists Club (YAC).
Members of the public are invited to visit Abbot House between 15:00 – 18:00 on Saturday 15 August for a full day of celebrations and the chance to share their own memories of historic building. The dedicated team from SUP will be on hand to film oral histories and scan visitors’ historic photographs, letters and documents at the event.
Mark Seaborne, a volunteer tour guide at Abbot House and leader of the Dunfermline YAC, said: “I started working here to build my confidence again and meet like minded people. Abbot House brings people together and acts like a hub for those who are interested in Dunfermline’s past from all over the country and from all walks of life.”
“There’s always something to discover. You can spend hours looking at the 16th century fresco wondering who is that, what is that building, what story is it telling? Abbot House is made of legends and folktales. People can often make their own endings to the stories being told.”
SUP is a nationwide project which invites groups and individuals of all ages to discover and share the fascinating stories of Scotland’s towns and cities. Launched in June 2015, SUP has supported a variety of community-led projects about skateparks, medieval monuments and local landmarks. The initiative is led by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Historic Scotland, supported by the National Lottery with a grant of £1.65m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Colin McLean, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to help communities learn about and take pride in their local heritage as well as training in new skills. Learning about history can be rewarding, fascinating and fun, and SUP is helping that happen across the country.”
Volunteers intend to continue working with SUP to record the past and present of Abbot House after the heritage centre’s closure later this month.