Find out more about the Volunteer Fieldworkers responsible for collecting interviews for the RESP archive.


The entire RESP Archive is available to listen to and explore online for free: www.collections.ed.ac.uk/eerc

The success of the RESP rests largely on the generosity of time and energy taken by our volunteer fieldworkers and interviewees to provide their recollections.

This collection is testament to the great commitment that they bring to every aspect of the interviewing process.

  • Interviewee: Betty Burns Listen to the full interview: EERC/DG/DG27/6
    About the fieldworker:
    Betty Hudson

    Betty became a volunteer fieldworker in 2013 and made 14 recordings with 12 interviewees. Betty, who had grown up in Creetown and then Thornhill, interviewed people living in the region. Betty also interviewed some who had moved away to Edinburgh or further afield. Betty had a particular interest in social history and her interviews are full of interesting details about many aspects of individual and community life, including Sanquhar knitting and the Riding of the Marches. In the interview with her cousin, Betty Burns, both of these subjects are explored in detail.

  • Interviewee: David Chalmers Listen to the full interview: EERC/EL/EL24/1
    About the fieldworker: Melanie Chambers
    The RESP Archive collection includes a number of interviews made within the family unit: a sister interviewing her brother about their shared profession, a young lad interviewing his grandparents about their early life experiences, or, as was the case with Melanie Chalmers and her father, David, a daughter interviewing her father. These interviews are often particularly poignant because there is so much shared history between the participants but it’s often clear that the participants are also learning new things about each other and about their respective lives as a result of doing the interview. Over 2019-2020, Melanie made 3 recordings with her father covering his childhood and life-long interest in the natural world.

  • Interviewee: Helen Davies Listen to the full interview: EERC/DG/DG26/1
    : Harriet Collins
    Hugh Reid Listen to the full interview: EERC/DG/DG26/18
    Fieldworker: Nancy McLucas
    About the fieldworkers
    : Harriet Collins & Nancy McLucas

    When the RESP was set up, in 2011, the first fieldwork to be added to the Collection was a legacy collection of recordings made by the Stranraer and District Local History Trust. This collection, to date, of 42 recordings made with 46 contributors, was collected between 1999 and 2014. The first interview was carried out in 1999 by Harriet Collins with Helen Davies and was the only interview Harriet completed.
    Thereafter, most of the SDLHT interviews were conducted by Nancy McLucas who always maintained this was a role she was appointed to at a meeting she didn’t attend. Nevertheless, Nancy brought great enthusiasm to her role, interviewing people from all walks of life and about everything from running the family butcher shop to sheep trials and ghosts. The recordings made by the Trust were formed into the first Regional Flashback, Stranraer and District Lives: Voices in Trust, which Nancy contributed to and which, she noted, gave her a notion that she might get out and do some further fieldwork.

  • Interviewee: Jean Rennie Listen to the full interview: EERC/DG/DG4/17
    About the fieldworker: Julia Muir-Watt

    Julia became a volunteer fieldworker in 2012 and made 36 recordings with 28 interviewees. She was interested in life in and around Whithorn. Her interviews, of which the one with Jean Rennie features here, are rich in detail on all aspects of the life of the interviewees and the life of the town. Julia went on to edit a Regional Flashback based on her fieldwork, called Whithorn: An Economy of People, 1920-1960.

  • Interviewee: Kelvin Pate Listen to the full interview: EERC/EL/EL/31/1
    About the fieldworker
    : Eric Glendinning and Vivian Hastie

    Eric and Vivian carried out 2 interviews with 2 interviewees in 2020, both with members of the local farming community around Haddington in East Lothian. Both Eric and Vivian were already active members of the Haddington History Society and shared an appreciation of the value of oral history testimonies. Eric had made a number of recordings with people connected to the Nungate part of Haddington and extracts from these recordings were later used in the film, Nungate Memories. Vivian had recorded the life stories of both her father and father-in-law, prior to joining the RESP. Their recordings with the RESP, as evidenced in their interview with Kelvin Pate, considered the challenges of being a farmer in the early 21st century.

  • Interviewee: Logan Paterson Listen to the full interview: EERC/DG/DG29/1
    About the fieldworker: Professor Ted Cowan
    was Chair of the Trustees of the European Ethnological Research Centre 2009-2014. In this role, Ted was pivotal in the formation and development of the Regional Ethnology of Scotland Project. A noted historian of Scotland, Ted also had a keen interest in the history and people of Dumfries and Galloway - the Glenkens in particular. Something of Ted’s interest in and respect for his neighbours is all too apparent in these clips from his conversation with Logan.

  • Contributor: Colin Gateley
    Colin works with the EERC and is usually behind the scenes digitising legacy sound materials or working with photographic resources. At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he and Mark Mulhern, the Senior Research Fellow at the EERC and lead RESP researcher, embarked on a project to allow for the continuation of fieldwork activity during those early uncertain months - to facilitate an opportunity for people to articulate their thoughts at this exceptional moment in time. The Covid-19 project was the result of this and the films included in the exhibition reflect the special role that the natural world played in our lives at this time.

For more interviews from the RESP archive that discuss human and animal interactions, click here to download a list of recommended resources.