Inspiring Identity: how heritage connects community in Southern Slovakia – Lišov Múzeum
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Inspiring Identity: how heritage connects community in Southern Slovakia – Lišov Múzeum

The museum champions the lifestyles of people in the years current and previous, and the skills and knowledge linked to this are being upheld, celebrated and rejuvenated. Lišov Múzeum is less a museum about archaeology and artefacts and more a museum about a way of life, and a community. It feels like it preserves less of a specific time period, but looks towards history as more of an template for our modern world, assessing what we can learn from the past to improve what we do today, which on a much broader scale allows us to asses our own identities in the process.

Glimpses of Thracian Landscapes
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Glimpses of Thracian Landscapes

At the cultural centre, we chat with the ladies, who welcome us with evident pride, about the people and stories of Gorsko Slivovo. The gallery space provides powerful juxtaposition: on one wall, dark eyes stare, four mothers dressed in black, four sons sacrificed, partisan scenes of resistance and death. A shrine remembers oppressions past, Soviet, Ottoman, Roman; on the other wall, paintings of traditional dress, costumes of colour and hope, the shepherds practical garb, lively animals and fertile fields. The promise of bounty and celebration of a community, who knew it is only the land, which has always been there, and through commitment sustains them. Like some ongoing conversation across the gallery, these faces of Bulgaria continue to speak.

Wetland & Coastal Management in the Odra Delta – a model for Mersehead?
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Wetland & Coastal Management in the Odra Delta – a model for Mersehead?

It was a great opportunity to be able to spend a week looking at the various types of parks and reserves in the Odra Delta and seeing the benefits and challenges of each. I think we were all blown away by how rich and diverse the wildlife and landscapes are, not just within the protected areas, but in the general landscape of the region as a whole.

The main issues facing protected areas and wildlife in general in Poland seems to be a familiar one, lack of funding, staffing and awareness, which is all too familiar a problem in the UK as well. Due to Poland’s history, many people do not feel a connection to the land and so one of the results is that volunteering is nearly non-existant, which is a shame as this could be a rich source of help that is currently unavailable. It will also be interesting to see how the reserves will cope with climate change; increased pressure from predation and invasive species is tied in to this (as seen at Ujscie Warty NP) and subsequently pressure on staff time and funding for projects to deal with this. Hopefully the diversity of the landscapes means that they are slightly more resilient than they are here in the UK and that people can be inspired to protect the amazing wildlife and landscape that they currently have.

Woodland Regeneration & Grazing in South West Norway
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Woodland Regeneration & Grazing in South West Norway

It was amazing to explore the regenerating forests in SW Norway and to understand better how native forests can develop with a lower browsing pressure.

Deer management practices differ between Norway and Scotland, with carcass weights used to determine deer quotas in Norway, indicating the overall health of the population and helping to balance its impacts on woodland regeneration.

Cultural and social factors have influenced the woodland regeneration we saw, from the abandonment of farms over the 20th Century to the different attitudes to hunting, foraging and land-use in Norway.

The diversity of species and structure in the Norwegian forest sets an example for us to aspire to in Scotland, and we need to consider how to integrate a rebounding forest within Scotland’s cultural and social setting.

Forestry, Biodiversity & Conservation in Finland
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Forestry, Biodiversity & Conservation in Finland

Natural regeneration was abundant nearly everywhere we visited, something which is comparatively unusual in Scotland unless it is enclosed within a deer fence. Regeneration was so prevalent in some locations that it was encroaching into previously open habitats, such as small fields of abandoned farms. A strong hunting culture and associated herbivore management within Finland appears to the main cause for natural regeneration within Finnish forests.

The Comeback of An Apex Predator: Could Scotland Learn from Norway?
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The Comeback of An Apex Predator: Could Scotland Learn from Norway?

Geographical Connectivity is the Natural Key
Norway has had a natural recolonization of all carnivores, due to be part of the continent Europe and neighbour countries fluxes. First wolves recolonized in 1980 to the south, through dispersion of the first wolves by likely Finish-Russian populations.  The geographical position of the UK being an island doesn’t allow natural recolonization, and therefore it leaves the question to wether we could or we should intervene

Traditional Buildings & Community Heritage in Lišov
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Traditional Buildings & Community Heritage in Lišov

The purpose of this report is to share the knowledge I gained while working with the Lišov Múzeum in October 2019. As a member of the Technical Outreach and Education team at The Engine Shed, I wanted to focus on the traditional building materials and skills, as well as the importance of community engagement in Lišov.
This report is primarily visual, with key points written out. The idea behind this is to be able to share this information with colleagues, or others who may be interested, in an accessible format. The ability to share information visual and through activities or tactile learning is important to our team and for our work with the public.

The Hierarchy of Protected Areas in Poland & Comparison with Scotland
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The Hierarchy of Protected Areas in Poland & Comparison with Scotland

The level of protection afforded to different types of protected area in Poland is not dissimilar to that in Scotland. For example, in terms of the Natura 2000 network all EU countries have an obligation to transpose the Habitats and Birds Directives into domestic legislation. Similarly, in Scotland and Poland, regulatory authorities and have their own responsibilities.

I think the main difference in the protect areas protection measures between Poland and Scotland is the level of public promotion and access provision.

In Scotland we actively advertise our protected areas at whatever level but in Poland this is much more subtle even where public access provision is encouraged.

The trip to Poland was truly fascinating in many respects and one would hope that western influences do not put pressures on the natural heritage we experience in Scotland and the UK as a whole.

Exploring Community Heritage in Southern Slovakia
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Exploring Community Heritage in Southern Slovakia

I was especially interested in the ethnographic display in the museum which included some flax heckling boards. I have been working on an 18th century flax mill near Glasgow and so it was great to see how the hand heckling technique worked. One handle was for the foot and the other for one hand. The flax was then thrashed against the heckling spikes to straighten the flax fibres ready for spinning. This technique would have been used in Scotland prior to the construction of water mills. Apparently there were a couple of water mills in Lišov in the 19th century, but they have been demolished. Corn mills were often used for other purposes such as flax mills and saw mills. Flax was grown in this area in the past and according to Jacob there are old flax soaking ponds in the area.

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