My name is Camilla Löfgren and I moved from Sweden to Scotland five years ago. In 2017 I completed my undergraduate degree in Archaeology, and in 2017- 2018 I pursued a Masters in Material Culture and Artefact Studies at the University of Glasgow. As part of my final assessment, I chose a work placement with Northlight Heritage. I chose Northlight Heritage because of their focus on community archaeology and heritage. During my placement I have helped them on a number of projects, and I would like to share some of my experiences with you.
Over the summer, I was given the opportunity to attend many of the open days at Digging In, a WW1 project in Pollok Park which explores the human experiences of the conflict. Sweden was not involved in WW1 so it was especially interesting for me to talk to visitors to Digging In and hear personal stories about family members that took part in the war. I have met so many enthusiastic and friendly members of the public and it is really wonderful to see how excited people in this city get about their heritage! This is a side to Glasgow’s heritage that I as a foreigner rarely get to see, and I am incredibly grateful to everyone that shared their stories with me.
I especially enjoyed the Digging In ‘Tending the Wounds: Medics and Medicine in WW1’ open day which looked how, faced with the challenge of increasing lethal weaponry, new equipment and techniques were invented that, across four years of fighting, would end up saving thousands of lives. Simon Walker of Strathclyde University give a really interesting tour explaining how the triage system was used in WW1, and how long it would take for an injured solider to be transported from the battlefield to a hospital. Drew and Jude, living history re-enactors, had a display of medical artefacts that were used in the trenches and the War& Peas project had a stand where you could have go at making WW1 herbal medicines and remedies.
In addition to the open days, I also assisted during visits from local schools. During the school visits, pupils were given a trench tour and, as part of the Wings to War project, also about WW1 aviation and what it took to be a pilot in the war using a reconstructed WW1flight simulator.
As my background is in archaeology, and my main focus was on Viking jewellery, I did not know more about WW1 than I was taught in school in Sweden. This work placement has been a great opportunity for me to research topics like aviation and allotments in the war and learn more about the WW1 heritage of my adopted home.
My project over the summer was to create a video about Digging In. My goal with this has been to record people’s experiences of the project through a series of interviews with people who had visited or participated in the project from interns and volunteers to teachers and academics and heritage professionals. It was incredibly interesting meeting all of the interviewees who showed such a passion for the heritage of WW1 and to find out why they thought the Digging In project was so special.
I have had a wonderful summer. I got the opportunity to meet fascinating, passionate people and learn about new periods of history. Perhaps most importantly, I learned about how to engage and enthuse people about their heritage in ways that a university setting could never offer. After this summer, I feel confident and happy to finally join the world outside of university!
See Camilla’s video below!