Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland is the lead public body set up to investigate, care for and promote Scotland’s historic environment. They lead and enable Scotland’s first historic environment strategy Our Place in Time, which sets out how our historic environment will be managed. It ensures our historic environment is cared for, valued and enhanced, both now and for future generations.


Edinburgh (partially home-based) (please note assistance may be available for travel and accomodation, contact us at admin@sgsah.ac.uk for more information)


Start date Jan/Feb 2021
End date (or must end by) 3 months from start date.

Examples include:

  • Single block of 12 weeks
  • Multiple shorter blocks
  • Longer less intensive engagement, e.g. one day per week, one week per month

Mixture of the above. The structure the project takes can be flexible to suit the researcher/practitioner but should have regular, scheduled check-ins with the mentors.

Project Description

2020 has been a time of change, uncertainty and awakening with events such as a global pandemic, accelerated climate change impact, political upheaval and the Black Lives Matter movement. An imposed lockdown on movement and reliance on digital information/engagement has given rise to increased public consciousness of these events and has also led to an increase in temporary intervention and/or creative reaction throughout our historic built environment – think of rainbows in windows, protest signs and altered street signs to name a few.

This project proposes to work with a lens-based researcher/practitioner on a creative response to 2020.  

Material created during this process and its conclusion will contribute towards Historic Environment Scotland’s National Record of the Historic Environment (NHRE)– forming a permanent archival document of historic times and events, and their distinct impact on our historic environment.


The outputs of the project consist of a creative body of work, ideally photography or film based, that addresses and reacts to the impact of current world events on Scotland’s historic environment and contributes to an enhancement our records about this unique point in time.  The form this takes can be flexible and chosen with the researcher, with a body of work and final document/file-based format that should be archivable in the NRHE.

Benefits to the Host

This project aligns with two outcomes identified in Historic Environment Scotland’s Corporate Plan:

  • The historic environment makes a real difference to people’s lives (KPI 1)
  • The historic environment inspires a creative & vibrant Scotland (KPI 7)

Within these two priorities we acknowledge that we will create heritage without boundaries that is accessible and representative of people in Scotland. We also state the importance of ensuring the historic environment remains relevant to the Scotland of today and the Scotland of tomorrow.

This project recognises the significance of the changing landscape this year has produced, and by documenting the responses created by the public we aim to create a broad, inclusive and diverse collection of material that can be used in the future by our successors to explore the long-term impact that the year 2020 had on people’s lives.

We want to encourage more storytelling around heritage and develop connections between the historic environment and the extensive creative communities around Scotland. Working with a researcher from the creative sector will gives us an opportunity to expand the definitions of what we consider as ‘recording’ and start new conversations about the role of heritage in placemaking and its influence on arts practices.

We hope that by working with a creative practitioner we will be able to explore new ways to share our archive material and create new digital outputs that will help us reach audiences that we currently have low engagement with, who perhaps feel less represented by traditional heritage. The work produced during this project will help inform our future methods of recording contemporary heritage, which may benefit from a different approach.

Benefits to the Researcher

The researcher will gain experience of working within a large heritage organisation and access to the diverse range of people we employ. Our organisation has statutory access to most of the historic environment for investigation and documentation purposes. The  researcher will have access to existing historic archive material and the chance of engagement with our investigative and documentary processes when investigating the historic environment.

They will have the flexibility to design and create a body of work that will contribute to the NRHE.

They will gain experience of understanding the values of a National Record, how it changes as our thinking over time develops, and how parallel, creative responses allow greater meaning to be made of record photography – including how their contribution has affected our processes and practices. 

Key Relationships

The researcher will predominantly work with professionals from within our heritage organisation, most closely with an archaeologist and photographer, but also with architectural historians, engagement and learning experts and policy makers.

There may be the opportunity to engage with relevant communities or other bodies who have interests in the subject or individual artists but this is dependent on Government restrictions in place at the time of the internship.

Person Specification

Skills, experience and personal qualities required for this placement:







A1 – Knowledge Base

C1 – Professional Conduct


Subject Knowledge



Healthy and Safety



Research methods – theoretical knowledge


Ethnics, principles and sustainability



Research methods – Practical application



Legal requirements


Information Seeking



IPR and copyright



Information literacy and management


Respect and confidentiality






Attribution and co-authorship



Academic literacy and numeracy


Appropriate practice

A2 – Cognitive abilities

C2 – Research management






Research Strategy





Project planning and delivery


Critical thinking



Risk management








Problem Solving




A3 – Creativity

C3 – Finance, funding & resources


Inquiring minds



Income and funding generation



Intellectual insight



Financial management





Infrastructure and resources



Argument construction






Intellectual risk




B1 – Personal qualities

D1 – Working with others










Team working






People management

















Influence and leadership










Equality and diversity

B2 – Self management

D2 – Communication & dissemination


Preparation and prioritisation


Communication methods



Commitment to research



Communication media


Time management






Responsiveness to change






Work-life balance




B3 – Professional & career development

D3 – Engagement and impact



Career management






Continuing professional development


Public Engagement



Responsiveness to opportunities












Reputation and esteem



Society and culture






Global citizenship

First published: 3 August 2018