Guest posts


A guest post by Lisa Edwards, Gallery 37, Impact Arts

Gallery 37 is Impact Arts‘ creative arts programme that celebrates young people and their achievements. Each year Gallery 37 runs during the summer holidays and culminates in a performance as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. A presentation and exhibition takes place in the  Auditorium and Event Space, Learning Centre, Level 2, National Museum of Scotland on Friday 8 August at 1pm. Find out more here.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

This is Impact Arts’ third year of collaboration with National Museums Scotland. It is also, incidentally, the company’s twentieth anniversary, which we are quite excited about. We run Gallery 37, a creative arts programme which encourages young people to learn new skills and develop existing ones.  For those at risk of disengaging with mainstream education, the programme aims to support them back into education or positive engagement by building confidence, raising self-esteem, encouraging team-work and providing one-to-one support. This year’s project has so far seen almost 60 young people, aged between 14 and 19, pass through National Museum of Scotland’s doors. Some remain with us for a few days; however the majority are full time participants – four days a week for four weeks. It is a big commitment to make during the summer holidays, but clearly one that grabs the imagination.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

This year we are offering workshops in animation, visual art, music and performance. We are now at the half way stage. In the first week we offered taster workshops so that our participants could select the group that best suited their interests and ambitions. This led on to establishing discreet groups and building a strong dynamic. We also began the process of group collaboration to ensure that everyone could feel part of a larger project. In week two we moved on to skills development and encouraging creativity. We are now beginning to create material which will feature in our final event. So, what is it all about?

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

As in past projects the main idea is to draw inspiration from the magnificent surroundings of the Museum and its various galleries and exhibits. Tutors have set their groups tasks which involve them in museum tours. In a variety of ways they are challenged to observe and imagine the world, culture and lives of the peoples showcased across the galleries. What can these exhibits tell us about our past and how do curators go about informing and engaging their audience? From this approach the theme for 2014 emerged.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

Work by Gallery 37, Edinburgh in 1,000 years time for Impact Arts 2014.

We asked our participants to consider what life in Edinburgh 2014 would look like to people in the future – one thousand years in the future to be precise. What would remain of our contemporary city? What would be exhibited and what would it tell a future generation about the world in which we live today? What stories would be told? How would we be valued and judged? What would be our remembered achievements and failures? Effectively, they are invited to cast themselves in the role of a curator. To select material and to fashion the tools that will enable them to create a coherent exhibition. A big task, but we like to aim high and so do our young artists.

The fruits of their labours will be showcased in the auditorium and event suite on Friday 8 August at 1 pm. We look forward to seeing you there.

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

Once again I’ve got to my final Airshow blog  post without losing too much hair or going noticeably greyer (not possible, I hear people say).

From an organiser’s point of view, the flying display went extremely well As you may have noticed, I had to substitute the T6 Texan for the Skyraider at very short notice due to serviceability issues, and the Bronco had problems starting so missed his first slot . . . but other than that, and a small re-programming issue later in the afternoon, the display ‘ran on rails’, as they say.

OV 10 Bronco at Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 © Tom Sunley

OV 10 Bronco at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014 © Tom Sunley

We were certainly lucky with the weather this year, and I do hope that nobody is suffering from a lack of sunscreen.  It was certainly a tad tropical in the control cabin, surrounded by all that glass.

Avro Lancaster from RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Scotland's National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014. © Spencer Harbar

Avro Lancaster from RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014. © Spencer Harbar Photography

Highlights for me were the Lancaster, which looked and sounded magnificent as it flew down the display line belly on to the crowd, and the Bronco/T6 flypasts.  The RAF Red Arrows were their usual impeccable selves and, with Red 10 providing the commentary, made up a fantastic first half of the display.

Trying out the RAF Red Arrows Hawkjet at Scotland's National Airshow on 26 July 2014.

Trying out the RAF Red Arrows Hawkjet at Scotland’s National Airshow on 26 July 2014.

The Breitling Wingwalkers were as popular as ever, and having them on site early in the day to meet the audience and sign pictures and prints was a great bonus.  Their display was the usual elegant and spectacular affair, providing us with our own private fog bank – their smoke took a while to clear and resulted in a worried query from on high asking if we were going to lose the rest of the display due to the fog!

Meeting the Breitling Wingwalkers

Meeting the Breitling Wingwalkers

The Typhoon provided a fitting finale, and the sight of the reheat glowing through the cloud as the aircraft spiralled up to 10,000ft will stay as a lasting memory of Airshow 2014. So, that’s it for another year, at least until we start planning again in September!  The event just seems to go from strength to strength and it’s a pleasure to work with everyone.  So it just remains for me to say thank you to you all for reading my scribbles over the past few months, and to remind you that we’ll be back next year for, hopefully, an at least equally-successful Scottish National Airshow 2015.

Norm Webster

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

There’s only a few days to go to the Scotland’s National Airshow and I’m feeling quite relaxed – I wonder what I’m missing?

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

Six year old Mia looks forward to the arrival of the RAF Red Arrows at Scotland’s National Airshow on Sat 26 July © Phil Wilkinson

That’s a regular feeling for display organisers. When everything seems to be going well and all your plans are working you begin to worry that you’ve missed something, or there’s a large alligator waiting in the wings to take a bite out of you.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

American Alligator in Florida, USA.

As it is, I’ve checked, double checked and triple checked, and everything that I personally can do to make the day a success has been done (I think!). The display is planned down to the last minute, the Edinburgh airport and Archerfield airstrip plans are done and work (I hope!) and the display team plan is written and distributed to my team.

The Breitling WIngwalker's Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland's National Airshow in 2013.

The Breitling WIngwalker’s Boeing Stearman aircraft at Archerfield ready for Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013.

This year, visitors to the Airshow will have the chance to get up close to some helicopters: the OH6 Huey and Wasp, which will be parked in the show ground; and the Royal Navy’s Sea King and RAF Red Arrow’s Squirrel helicopters will be landing on the day. I am confident that Scotland’s National Airshow will be a great success.

OH6 Huey Helicopter arriving at Scotland’s National Airshow in 2013 © Thomas Sunley

Anyway, that’s my musings today – I’ve not got a great deal to say because just about everything is done. I’ll be wending my way up the M6 next Thursday full of the joys of spring and ready for my favourite airshow of the year. I’ll write again when it’s all over.

See you at East Fortune,

Norm Webster

A guest post by Lydia Beadle (A.K.A Squid) from the Breitling Wingwalkers for Scotland’s National Airshow.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

I developed a need for speed and adrenaline at an early age, probably because I did lots of horse riding as a child.  When I heard about the Breitling Wingwalkers vacancy, I jumped at the chance. Fulfilling my need for speed while creating beautiful displays is something I’ve always dreamed of!

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

I was thrilled to get started. I have been amazed at how much work is involved in looking elegant on the plane whilst fighting against 160mph winds! My first flight was in pouring rain and strong winds, but even that didn’t put me off. I had grown up learning to take on any challenges given to me and the thrill of plummeting during the loop made me feel free as a kite. With the extensive worldwide travel and the support of an incredibly close team, being a Breitling Wingwalker is a certainly a dream come true!

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker © Richard Foord

Lydia Beadle, Breightling Wingwalker © Richard Foord

One of my favourite display moves is the Mirror, which is when I hang upside down on the inverted plane while reaching for the hands of the wingwalker flying below me. Seeing a girl below you in flight is very surreal and always leaves me laughing at how incredible it is!  Being up in the sky on the beautiful Boeing Stearman aircraft is such an honour.  I feel like a bird in the sky, so free and yet safe

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

The Breilting Wingwalkers aerobatic display team © Tokunaga

I have been in five European shows so far, and they have all left me on a high. I keep a journal for each show I perform in, so that I can remember how amazing each moment was. I’m  looking forward to coming to East Fortune for Scotland’s National Airshow.  Being a natural redhead and having family from Scotland, it will be lovely to come back and embrace my roots once more, especially because this time I’ll be enjoying a different view!

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

Here we are, less a month to go to Scotland’s National Airshow, and things are sliding into place. As I mentioned last time, we’re never 100% sure of our line-up until the day and there have been a couple of changes since my last blog.

Jet Provost at Scotland's National Airshow, July 2011 by P_rocket on Flickr

Jet Provost at Scotland’s National Airshow, July 2011. Image by p_rocket on Flickr

I have managed to secure the services of Newcastle’s Neil McCarthy and his lovely Jet Provost. Neil is a great friend of the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune and has displayed here many times: he always produces the goods and I am delighted he will be part of the line up for what will be an exciting and varied show.

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland's National Airshow in July 2013

Royal Navy Sea Fury at Scotland’s National Airshow in July 2013

I can now tell you all that the Royal Navy has confirmed the participation of the Sea King and the Sea Fury, so everything is in place and I can now go firm(ish) on the air display plan.  I’ve already mentioned that we are sharing a number of aircraft with the Sunderland show this year, and although this can complicate the planning we have been able to accommodate all the various requirements quite easily.

My next job in the planning cycle is producing the co-ordination plan for Edinburgh Airport, to ensure we don’t cause too much havoc in their already-busy air traffic plot.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show, Kemble, England, in 2003.

Privately owned Westland Wasp at the Classic-Jet Air Show  in 2003, similar to the Westland Wasp appearing at Scotland’s National Airshow on Saturday 26 July 2014.

We plan to have a couple of helicopters inside the showground this year as ‘live’ static aircraft, and I’m glad to say we will have an ex-Royal Navy Westland Wasp and the OH-6 Loach.  I always think it lends something to an airshow if people can get close to live aircraft and their crews. Crowds will also see the Royal Navy Sea King and Huey helicopters on the other side of the showground fence. The crowd should always have something interesting to look at when there aren’t aircraft actually displaying.  The Squirrel helicopter will also be landing, carrying RED 10, the RAF Red Arrows display supervisor,  Squadron Leader Mike Ling.

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team "The Red Arrows" on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

Royal Air Force Areobatic Team “The Red Arrows” on Springhawk 2104 at RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. © Crown copyright 2014

My team is straining at the leash and ready to go. Let’s hope the great weather continues beyond the big day. That’s it for now, over and out…

Norm Webster

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A guest post by Norm Webster, Flight Display Director for Scotland’s National Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune that took place on Saturday 26 July 2014.

Take a look at some of the fantastic images on the air display and on the ground activity that were taken of Scotland’s National Airshow in our Flickr Group and check back on the Airshow here for announcements of our 2015 show.

My second blog post is a bit earlier than normal, but I thought as I now know what fantastic aircraft we’ll be displaying at this summer’s Airshow, I’d like to share that information with you.

Red Arrows sporting new livery © Tom Hunter

Red Arrows sporting this year’s 50th anniversary livery © Tom Hunter

As you are all no doubt aware, the fact that an aircraft is programmed in the display is no guarantee of its appearance. Occasionally issues over which we have no control, from aircraft serviceability to weather, can have an effect on even the best airshow programmes. With that caveat out of the way, let me reveal that the proposed line–up so far for the Scotland’s National Airshow 2014, East Fortune, is as follows:

  • Red Arrows
  • RAF Typhoon
  • RAF Tucano
  • RAF BBMF Spitfire
  • RAF BBMF Hurricane
  • RAF BBMF Lancaster
  • Bucker Jungmann
  • Stolp Starduster
  • Tiger Moth
  • Breitling Wingwalkers
  • UH-1 Huey
  • OH-6 LOACH (static only)
  • RV8tors aerobatic team
  • Autogyro (type TBD)
  • OV-10 Bronco
  • North American T-6 Texan
OV10 Bronco at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight on 23 July 2011 © Robert G Henderson

OV10 Bronco at the Airshow, National Museum of Flight on 23 July 2011 © Robert G Henderson

I think we have the makings of a great display and I am already planning some great ‘theatre of the air’ moments.

RAF Eurofight Typhoon aircraft will be part of the line-up for the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26  July 2014

RAF Eurofight Typhoon aircraft will be part of the line-up for the Airshow at National Museum of Flight, East Fortune on Saturday 26 July 2014

We had the initial Event Planning & Emergency Services meeting recently, the meeting that sets everybody concerned on the right path, and I think I’m right in saying that everything so far looks good.  Thankfully, I only really have to worry about the flying display: I’d be completely lost if I had to sort out the traffic management or the visitor handling arrangements – I’m sure I’d make a total mess of it!

Rv8tors aerobatic display team © Steve Hawthorne

Rv8tors aerobatic display team © Steve Hawthorne

That’s it for today: this has been just a short message to let you all know that we are on track, and have some spectacular aircraft lined-up for you. All I ask of you all now is to keep praying for good weather.

A guest post by Anastasia Pipi, student placement at the Department of Science & Technology

Before starting my placement at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, I had visited two or three times. One day was never enough, considering that it houses five different sections, each able to stand as a museum on its own. This is something I really enjoy about it, as a visitor and as an intern, since it offers a holistic approach with connections springing out between topics that might seem unrelated at first glance. Even sharing the morning coffee with staff from World Cultures is a great way to avoid focusing too much on your topic and forgetting about everything else!

I came here as part of my Masters in Science Communication and Public Engagement at the University of Edinburgh. With a degree in biology and most of my work experience coming from research labs, I have to confess the museum environment seemed quite daunting, but an interesting challenge anyway. Most of my placement took place at the Department of Science and Technology (Keeper Alexander Hayward). My main supervisor was Klaus Staubermann, Principal Curator of Technology and co-supervisor Alison Taubman, Principal Curator of Communications.

On my first day, I was introduced to the Science and Technology Department and also to Learning and Programmes, who gave me an overview of what they do, which was very relevant to my studies. I was taken for a tour around the current Science and Technology galleries and got familiar with some plans for refurbishment and new galleries. My first task was to do some research on 3D printing leading up to an event for the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

My core task was to do research on a currently developing gallery about communications, and specifically about recent advances in computing and processing capacity. Here, my background in the life sciences came in handy, since many cutting edge applications (such as the Human Genome Project and the Human Brain Project) depend on supercomputers. I was also encouraged to develop an interactive for this gallery. Walking around the museum and observing to what extent visitors engaged with the interactives was an extremely useful exercise in the process of developing my own.

Klaus and Elsa Davidson (Curator of Technology) were kind enough to take me along to a trip to ARTEMIS Intelligent Power, a University of Edinburgh spin-off engineering company developing hydraulic power technologies. There, a possible collaboration was discussed, and we had the chance to look around, meet many employees and learn about the history and objectives of the organization. I was impressed by how many young inspired people worked there and I believe it should be an example for many workplaces. However, I was surprised by the lack of female employees. Are women so uninterested in engineering? Or are there other factors still keeping this profession male-dominated?

A peek at the amazing engineering world of ARTEMIS. Image courtesy of Artemis Intelligent Power.

A peek at the amazing engineering world of ARTEMIS. Image courtesy of Artemis Intelligent Power.

An unforgettable experience was visiting the National Museums Collection Centre at Granton. The amount of objects collected as well as the time span that is covered is truly astonishing. Additionally, seeing objects in storage gives you a good idea of the value of exhibiting and interpreting. Without labels telling stories, the objects appear naked and almost meaningless. Realising the cultural wealth ‘hidden’ in storage and how objects on exhibit are only the surface of this treasure was something unexpected.

Me marvelling at the heart of ATLAS, one of the world’s first supercomputers, at Granton

Me marvelling at the heart of ATLAS, one of the world’s first supercomputers, at Granton.

During my placement, I also had the chance to meet the Communications team and had a chat with Communications Officer Bruce Blacklaw about various roles in the interface between the Museum and the ‘outside’ world (marketing, PR, media and press relations). We also discussed what makes a topic newsworthy and how an interesting and informing press release should look. I wrote my own press release about the Mammoth Poo Detectives workshop planned for the Edinburgh International Science Festival and was glad to know it would actually be used by the Department. I also attended a photo shoot for a newspaper feature on the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which was exciting not least because of the privilege of seeing an exhibition before it was officially launched.

Finally, I had a brief discussion with Development Manager Charlotte di Corpo about fundraising and met Rose Watban, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Design in the Art and Design Department, to find out about the history of some of the collections, the challenges of bringing a gallery together and the infinite possibilities for inter-departmental collaborations.

Overall, my experience as an intern at the Museum was very interesting and rewarding. Klaus and Alison ensured I had great guidance and used my time productively, but also Maureen Kerr, Departmental Administrator, made sure my placement ran smoothly. Everyone at the Department of Science and Technology was very friendly and helpful, and people from other departments were happy to give me an idea of the work they do. I have to say I enjoyed my time here, met some lovely people, and enriched my own set of skills. Last but not least, I got familiar with a workplace I knew very little about and will consider further volunteering and maybe even work experience in the museums sector.

ATLAS supercomputer

My ATLAS impression

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