Historic Scotland has commissioned PAS to carry out a pilot project on heritage crime, called Past Protectors.  The project aims to be a proactive way to promote awareness of heritage and heritage crime, and help young people have a say in heritage and crime issues affecting their community, and follows the launch of a national initiative to tackle heritage crime.


So far 44 young people have taken part in the pilot stage, carrying out archaeological and architectural surveys in their local areas, highlighting heritage which is important to them and recording graffiti and heritage crime.  The groups have each used digital and creative tools such as tablets, ipads, mobile phones, digital cameras, GPS units and 360 degree cameras, resulting in detailed notes, sketches and digital records.  To reflect on their findings participants have created collages, panoramas, videos, leaflets, posters and PowerPoints.  Some groups designed their own Past Protector workshops for peers and younger pupils, and posted their work on social media, as you can see in the video below.

Each area has its own unique issues, but every group has discussed ways of tackling heritage crime, and debated graffiti issues in their area, with visits to sites to discuss places, spaces and heritage of importance to the young people.

We have worked with Braeview Academy in Dundee (including Dighty Connect and Archaeology Scotland), Kinneil Primary in Falkirk Council area, and Stromness Academy (with Orkney College UHI).  In Kirkwall pupils from Stromness Academy were able to join in with a community recording project which examines graffiti across St Magnus Cathedral, creating new records for the exterior of the building.  Every Past Protector has received a Heritage Hero award, as well as Young Scot points to recognise and reward their achievements.

Would you like to be involved in the project?  We are particularly keen to involve youth groups based in rural communities, and the West or South of Scotland; we are seeking two further youth groups in July and August to explore more historic areas, make more content and co-create more learning materials.  Sound like you?  Download the project information sheet to find out more and get in touch!

Contact Alison McCandlish, PAS Project Officer, alison@pas.org.uk