Call for Volunteer Facilitators: Abertay 25 - Dundee’s Changemakers


Abertay University is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. To mark this occasion, it is undertaking a National Lottery Heritage funded two year community project exploring the 25 year history and achievements of the university through archive work and a memory exchange. We will also be uncovering the stories of people and innovations dating back to the establishment of the Dundee Technical Institute in 1888.

A major part of the project is for Volunteer Facilitators, working mainly with Dundee schools, to gather information from the university archives and other local collections, on 25 people and innovations in the history of the University and its predecessors. This will then be presented in a number of ways to the public, such as exhibitions, talks, and a resource pack for schools, but could also include other creative projects involving multimedia technology.

The Facilitators and schools will be helped by the Abertay 25 Project Group which includes the City and Dundee University Archivists, Developing the Young Workforce, Dundee Heritage Trust, Dundee Local History Centre and other partners. A Project Engagement Officer will be appointed shortly to co-ordinate the work with the Facilitators and partners.

This is an exciting opportunity to explore in detail the history of an institution that has played a key role in the educational, technological, and economic history of Dundee. The project will look particularly at the role of women and BAME individuals, both as students and staff. Research areas will include the technological advances developed at the institution since 1888 (eg machinery for industrial production and computing advances); the institution’s links with social and political developments in Dundee (such as the trade union movement and the Social Union); excellence in art and design; the institution’s development as an internationally respected educational body; and the achievement of university status in the face of adversity.

This part of the project will be open to anyone with experience of conducting and interpreting research using archives and / or other local collections. We hope that most volunteers will also work with school students and inspire them to value Dundee’s industrial and technological heritage. If you decide to take part you’ll be uncovering a new side to the history of Dundee and be involved in presenting it to a wide public audience. You will have unique access to an archive that has not so far been explored. You will also have support from Abertay University’s staff – principally the Archivist and Public Engagement Officer – in identifying areas and records to research, and from 'Developing the Young Workforce' project in working with school students.

For this project you need some experience of local history or genealogical research, enthusiasm, and a willingness to work with others. Living in or near Dundee is also desirable as training and research will be carried out in the city. We are recruiting now for archive work to begin in June and facilitation with schools to take place between August and December 2019.

If you would like to take part, or have an informal chat about the project please contact the University Archivist, Ruaraidh Wishart.