Hello from Sophie, Vic and Ellen; the prehistory team!
Our experience working with the theme of the prehistoric Scottish warrior has been challenging, particularly as it is a time period that spans thousands of years which makes it difficult for us to focus on any particular area. Furthermore, we found that much of the literature on prehistory is very conflicting, which gave us frequent headaches! However, our final focus looks at the bias and stereotyping that has been impressed upon Scottish prehistory and the idea of the prehistoric Scottish warrior in more recent history. This blog will offer you a bit of insight into what each of us got up to during the process of creating our section of the exhibition.
Ellen: Object Selection and Installation
Selecting objects for the Prehistoric group has really opened my eyes to a period of time that I’ve not previously explored. We’ve all heard of the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages but looking at the people in Scotland who lived through these times has been an exciting project! As our narrative is about the creation of prehistory, choosing objects which were previously owned by 19th century antiquarians was of interest to us and finding part of the collection of Sir Alexander Ogston was fantastic. It gave me a real thrill to see one object in particular in Sir Ogston’s own records; the re-shafted jadeite Axe. Delving into the history of objects has been a fascinating experience and it has really shone a light on how ideas of prehistory have evolved. One of the most satisfying parts of the exhibition process for me was creating the narrative through the objects. Making the stories behind each object link together to create a cohesive narrative, was by no means an easy task. Deciding to cut many interesting objects because they didn’t fit well into the narrative was particularly difficult. However, selecting objects has still been an amazing task that was integral to telling our story of the ‘Prehistoric Savage’!
Sophie: Interpretation and Editing
As the interpretation and editing member of the group my main focus was to ensure that our narrative was clear and cohesive. This included our two text panels and the object labels. We decided early that we would have two panels, one focusing on problematic interpretations of Scottish prehistory and the other on the lasting myth surround the Picts. For me the text panels were the most challenging part; having to keep them clear and informative whilst working within a restricted word count. It was also important that our narrative fit within the exhibition’s overall narrative and constantly having to keep an eye on this, combined with the many redrafts required, was sometimes frustrating! We all worked together on the early drafts and in the final edits I was there to make sure the text sounded unified, tightened up our narrative, and checked spelling and grammar. Writing the object labels was a similar process, where we wrote collaboratively at the start, and then I undertook the task of editing the words down, keeping the information clear and relevant and then checking spelling and grammar. The biggest challenge here was not including information about the objects that, despite being very interesting, was irrelevant to the exhibition’s theme and narrative.
Vic: Design and Marketing
As our design and marketing member, I was responsible for choosing the colour scheme and design of our text panels, ours being brown for prehistory and blue for Picts. This was done collaboratively with the whole design and marketing team who devised a tartan for the exhibition made from the different colours used in each text panel. The panels look absolutely fantastic, their most striking feature being the individual silhouettes of warriors on each panel, relevant to the time period it discusses. Choosing a design that really conveys the message of the exhibition was a particularly tricky task, but the end result shows that is has definitely paid off!
From the experience we have learnt that communication within our group is absolutely essential, as with so many different tasks needing to be completed it is easy to forget who is doing what, and when for, and things can get stressful very quickly! Despite the ups and downs however, we feel that we managed to pull together as a team, and we are all completely ecstatic with the final product, which is looking great!
Make sure you visit the exhibition and tell us what you think! #UoAScottishWarrior