Daniel Postma, Skills Training Officer, Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust   

Perthshire and Kinross-shire (7th-8th September)

Perth City (14th-15th September)

This is my first year as area coordinator for Doors Open Days, a role that I picked up in November 2018 when I joined Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust. My position with the Trust is that of skills training officer, tasked with the development of our educational programme on traditional building skills. There is an interesting link between the two, since it were the skills of past generations that left us the rich and wonderful built heritage we enjoy through Doors Open Days today. I like to think that our skills training programme will not only help to preserve this historic environment, but also contribute to the creation of new, well-crafted and sustainably constructed buildings for future generations to inherit and enjoy.

When I started my work for Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust in November 2018 I was handed over the role of area coordinator for Doors Open Days from my colleague who ran the area’s programme before me. Not only has it been very valuable to build on his previous experiences and contact with venue managers, my start date was sufficiently early to develop and implement the changes we wanted to make to how we coordinate our bit of the festival.

The best thing about coordinating Doors Open Doors at a regional level must be the contact with a selection of the best historic and modern venues our area has to offer. Perth and Kinross has many gems which I would not otherwise have got to know so intimately. I suspect that seeing the public enjoy these venues too will knock this experience off the number one spot, but I will find out if that is true later this year. By far the biggest challenge in organising Doors Open Days is to find both time and funding for it. We are grateful for the financial contribution made by Perth and Kinross Council and investments made by the venues, in addition to the input from the Scottish Civic Trust and ourselves, without any of which this great festival could not be organised.

Coincidentally, I have fond memories of Doors Open Days (and Archaeology Month) from when my family spent our first summer holidays with the kids in Perth and Kinross. The festival offered us a brilliant range of activities and sites to visit and get to know the area. This definitely contributed to our decision to emigrate to Perth and Kinross from the Netherlands a couple of years later, but little did I know I would soon be coordinating the festival myself! My personal experience with Doors Open Days make me very aware of the possibility that inviting people of any age to enjoy our built environment may inspire them in ways no evaluation form could ever capture.

Choosing a favourite venue from this year's programme is almost impossible! There are venues that I visited previously and many that offer a lovely programme of events but I have still to experience for myself.

One thing that does jump out, however, is that we teamed up with Perthshire Open Studios this year, with several venues providing an exhibition space for local artists and makers who may not otherwise have found a suitable location. This will surely help some of the less conspicuous (but no less interesting) buildings get that increased footfall they deserve, while other venues such as Innerpeffray Library have used the opportunity to raise an already excellent event to an even higher level.

You can see the full programme of events, activities and buildings that are opening their doors in Perth and Kinross here.