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High Life Highland employee raises awareness of Highland archive collections


By Alan Hendry

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High Life Highland’s Lorna Steele, host of the Learn with Lorna archive sessions.
High Life Highland’s Lorna Steele, host of the Learn with Lorna archive sessions.

Short educational films shown online over the past few months have led to an increased awareness of archive collections held in the Highlands, according to the High Life Highland (HLH) employee who presents them.

Community engagement officer Lorna Steele saw her "Learn with Lorna" sessions capture the imagination of the public within the region and far beyond after the country went into lockdown.

The coronavirus crisis meant that the Highland Archive Service, operated by HLH, had to find new ways of engaging with people while its buildings were closed to the public.

The service cares for historic documents dating from the 1200s to the present day in its four archive centres in Inverness, Wick, Fort William and Portree.

Lorna's short films were initially aimed at those home-schooling but it soon became clear that a wider audience was tuning in. The first 14 films – covering topics as diverse as World War I, the Jacobites and transport – were accompanied by specially created online resources and have now been viewed around 60,000 times and shared around the world.

High Life Highland’s Lorna Steele, host of the Learn with Lorna archive sessions.
High Life Highland’s Lorna Steele, host of the Learn with Lorna archive sessions.

Lorna said: “It soon became apparent that the films were being viewed and enjoyed by a diverse global audience and we decided to extend the themes to examine specific collections, people and buildings, with viewers being encouraged to contact the service for more information or with specific enquiries.

“One positive legacy of lockdown is that the series has created increased awareness of the important collections that the Highland Archive Service cares for as well as promoting the work of High Life Highland to a wider audience.”

The series will continue to broadcast live at 11am on Thursdays on Facebook and on the High Life Highland YouTube channel.


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