Reclaiming Our Heritage Project

About the Project

Thank you for visiting our archive. Below, you can find out more about the project through our FAQs. For any enquiries, please see ‘Contact Us’ below. 


What is Reclaiming Our Heritage? 

Reclaiming Our Heritage is a two-year oral history project which ended in April 2021.  It received funding from a number of donors including an “Our Heritage” grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 

The project’s aim is to record and preserve the spoken testimony of the arts and mental health community in Scotland, between the 1950s  until the early 2000s.  

As manager of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF), the Mental Health Foundation was uniquely placed to undertake a heritage project exploring the rich history of the arts and mental health landscape in Scotland.  

We ran the project with help from a group of volunteers across Scotland who were trained in oral history techniques.  

ROH About

What do you mean by ‘arts’?

By ‘arts’ we mean any creative process, at any level, such as painting, drawing, sculpture, music, drama, writing and dance.  

What is oral history? 

Oral history records and preserves the memories and personal experiences of an individual through an interview. This is a recorded conversation between an interviewer and interviewee. Oral history interviews are kept in an archive, where they are maintained for future uses like research.   

Who carried out the interviews? 

Our interviews were conducted by a team of volunteers across Scotland who received training in oral history techniques. Volunteers were a vital part of our project, helping with a variety of tasks like interviews and writing summaries. 

Who designed the artwork for the archive?

The graphics for the archive tiles were designed by artist Saskia Pomeroy. About this work, Saskia says:

The colours are vibrant and I think they reflect the wide range of anecdotes and cultural perspectives of the speakers. The colour also gives them value, they aren’t “grey” or “boring” they are very much real and alive. In addition to this, the layering up of the shapes helps to give a sense of stories with layers, layers of time, or memories perhaps. These layers are intermingled with other tales and histories and questions from the interviewer, even digressions. I think also the expressiveness of the shapes really lends itself well to the subject of “the arts” and what art is, and expression, freedom to express anything.

Do you have a report or more information? 

Yes. Our project report will be available soon in the ‘Resources’ section of this website. 

How was Reclaiming Our Heritage funded?

The project was supported with funding from the Mental Health Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported with additional donations from the Russell Charitable Trust, Southpark Charitable Trust, Lady Eda Jardine Charitable Trust and Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

I have a question about the archive  

For any enquiries, please use the contact details found in ‘Contact Us’.