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Great Places, Falkirk

Heritage interpretation training, copywriting and editing

In late 2020, as the UK emerged from the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was approached by Falkirk Community Trust to work with them on elements of their Falkirk Explored App as part of the ‘Great Places’ National Lottery scheme.

My brief was to provide professional heritage interpretation support for local community groups developing heritage walking trails and audio guides for the mobile app.

The first group comprised ten senior school students (history ambassadors) working together on one heritage trail. For this group I designed and delivered a workshop about heritage interpretation for digital audiences (audiences who use mobile phones). Due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in schools, this was delivered via Zoom.

The second group were a local history society group of volunteers working together on a different heritage trail. For this group, I produced a workbook introducing the fundamentals of heritage interpretation for digital audiences. I then provided consultation via email on their planning and copy editing of their final text. Again, due to COVID19 restrictions, this work was all conducted remotely.

Falkirk Explored

Falkirk Explored

Each of the trails designed by the groups included the overall route, 12-18 stops, text, images and audio. The workshop for the school pupils and the workbook for the history society both covered all aspects of interpretation at an introductory level. This included storytelling, writing for specific audiences, narrative ‘voices’, different perspectives, creating engaging interpretation, using images and writing for digital format / the App audience.

The two walks produced (available on the Falkirk Explored App) are the ‘Denny and Dunipace Heritage Trail’ and ‘Rough Castle Trail’.

Canal Encounters

In the summer of 2021, I was asked to work directly on the interactive App walk ‘Canal Encounters’ as an interpretation copywriter. This walking trail about the history of the Forth and Clyde Canal included augmented reality elements and community-generated content from school engagement.  I was asked to undertake the development of eight stories for the trail, related to the history of the canal, by collating research material provided by the client. I produced each story in two formats: written copy for the app and an audio guide script.

In 2022 I was finally able to try the full experience out with my son. We cycled the ‘walk’ from the Falkirk Wheel to the Kelpies and back again. It was a really fun day out.

Boy with bicycle with kelpies
AR Otter from Canal Encounters app


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Aberdeen Music Hall Transformed

Aberdeen Music Hall reopened to the public with a series of community events on Saturday 8 December 2018. 

From 2016 to 2018 the Music Hall building was closed for transformation and renovation for a new generation. Over the past two years, I have worked on the interpretation plan and produced two digital exhibits. I also worked with music/theatre education consultant Alison Reeves to create education packs for primary and secondary schools and I have written scripts for tours of the building for a range of audiences. I hope these resources too will help engage a range of audiences with the stories and performances of the Music Hall; past, present and future.

The original ‘County Assembly Rooms’ building which the Music Hall occupies was built in 1820 when people of the city and surrounding area felt that Aberdeen needed a meeting place for events that was more respectable than a tavern or pub. In 1859, the Music Hall was added at the back of the County Assembly Rooms and was opened by HRH Prince Albert.

The main auditorium (below) is now refreshed and brightened, looking modern and fresh, comfortable and accessible for a new generation.

Aberdeen Performing Arts

Stepping In screen and Meet Me in the Music Hall

The first thing you see as you enter the transformed building is the Stepping In screen. Through the Stepping In screen, Aberdeen Performing Arts will work with local, national and international artists to commission and create a programme of digital art to welcome and inspire.  Meet Me at the Music Hall is the first commission for the screen. We worked with ISO Design to create a dynamic looping animation using the rich archives of Aberdeen’s Music Hall which we’ve spent the last two years collecting and organising.

The Walls have Ears

The other digital commission I worked with Aberdeen Performing Arts on are the touchscreen terminals in the foyer which invite you to explore some of the performances and personal stories that make up the building’s rich heritage. Based on the well-known saying ‘the walls have ears’ and celebrating the notion that the fabric of the building has absorbed the events of 200 years of history, the content of the touch screens will also available to experience via mobile web. Digital media company Surface Impression worked with our archive and themes to create ways to explore the photos, audio and video stories of past events and experiences.


For the first time in its history, the 200-year-old building has three lifts, allowing access from the basement to the balcony for people with restricted mobility. The front steps lift is particularly impressive in the way it allows access while maintaining the visual elements of the listed building.

Opening Day

For me, the opening day was a really strong reflection of the spirit of the Music Hall, including events for and by all sections of the community. A highlight for me was the Nevis Ensemble ‘street orchestra’. 


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Catrine Community Education & Visitor Interpretation Centre

While most of the projects I get involved in are very frantic with very tight deadlines, some are slow burners. The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre” or CEVIC is one of those slow burners. I first got involved in the project in May 2012 but it had been going already for a number of years by then. In 2012 I was appointed joinly with another consultant as ‘Interpretation Project Manager’. My role is to create the (mainly digital) exhibits while my colleague’s role is to manage a community consultation and content creation programme for those exhibits.

There have been many twists and turns on the way to creating the centre via a community ‘right-to-buy’ application for an existing Manse and Chapel and renovations. Yesterday I finally had the opportunity to see the progress on the building. It’s looking great!

I am so excited about this project because it’s a centre that is really going to be ‘by the community and for the community’. All the content for the interpretation will be developed with community groups and members, from the Audio-Visuals to the panels and digital exhibits, the website and event the GPS-enabled walk-guide App.

The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

  • The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

  • The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

  • The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

  • The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

  • The Catrine “Community Education and Visitor Interpretation Centre”

I will write more about this project in future blog posts I am sure, but for now a good summary of the entire project and the wider context in Catrine can be found in this article in the Daily Record newspaper.


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