Peatcutting: slow burner catches fire

08/06/2018 Leave a comment

Among the 200+ Island Voices videos on YouTube, the documentaries and interviews on peatcutting, featuring Archie Campbell, have constantly attracted a steady, if not eye-catching, stream of hits. Slow burning, you might say, like the stuff itself.

Well, there appears to have been a shift in the wind in the YouTube algorithms, judging by recent analytics for the English version of the documentary. This looks more like a muirburn out of control!

Suddenly, viewers all round the world – from the United States to Sweden, to Romania, India, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere – are taking an interest in how peats are cut in Benbecula. It’ll be interesting to see how many move on to listen to Archie talking about the process and the social customs attached to it in either English or Gaelic – all available on the Series 2 Outdoors page. And any Polish-speaking viewers can also get a version of the documentary in their own language – Kopanie torfu!

 

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Categories: Video

Uist Guide for Gaelic Learners

08/05/2018 Leave a comment

A year has passed since Ceòlas’ Liam Alastair Crouse last spoke to Gordon Wells about his work in Uist. He took time out from helping with the latest immersion course for Gaelic learners at Kildonan Museum to talk about what he’s been doing. He’s not been idle!

Part of his work involves helping organisations (local and national) develop their Gaelic, particularly online. Here are some of the sites he mentions.

https://www.runnach.co.uk/
https://www.toradh.org/
https://www.taigh-chearsabhagh.org/gd/taigh-chearsabhagh-taigh-tasgaidh-agus-ionad-ealan/
http://digital.nls.uk/learning/iolaire/

He then goes on to mention the latest initiative to help Gaelic learners in Uist – a listing of likely places where you might hear and practise the language, together with some helpful tips on how to engage in Gaelic conversation. You can download and print off the guidelines here. It’s also available on the Ceòlas site here.

In the final part of the conversation with Gordon he talks about further plans for local development. Watch this space!

Categories: Community, Video

Gathered and Shared – Poems and Music

06/05/2018 2 comments

Many thanks to Loriana Pauli for sending Island Voices this new offering – a podcast she and fellow Uist-based students on the UHI BA in Applied Music made with the help of local poet Pauline Prior-Pitt. Originally broadcast by An Radio, we’re delighted to post the link here. It’s a nice mix of poetry and music, English and Gaelic.

In this short programme Loriana Pauli, Chloe Steele, Angharad Whittle, Peter Davidson, and Jordan Neill have put together images in words and music of some aspects of Uist’s working life and traditions.

Categories: Audio, Classes, Community, UGC

Learning Gaelic: Effort and Reward

15/04/2018 1 comment

This is a very nicely made video from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Multimedia centre, with Liam Alastair Crouse making some well considered points about learning Gaelic. It may not be the easiest task in the world – but the rewards for success are worth noting!

Categories: Community, Video

रीस्टोर प्रोजेक्ट – Re-Store Project

22/03/2018 Leave a comment

When language scholars talk about Gaelic, they often talk about other “minority languages” too, drawing parallels between what’s happening in the Hebrides and in other parts of the world. In Island Voices we’ve made a big thing of connections to Ireland, for example, with our “Gaelic Journeys” series. We’ve also made links to other Celtic languages (Welsh and Manx) as well as to Basque, another European minority language. And we’ve grouped these together with other languages across the world on our “Other Tongues” page. This page goes beyond European boundaries to include some Asian languages. And now we’ve added another one – Hindi.

“Cùm do shùil air taobh an Ear”, was Norman’s advice in “Saoghal Thormoid” (here at 22.22) – “Keep your eye on the East”. But, truth be told, this is not a new film at all. It belongs originally to Series 1 (2005-2007), being first made in English and Gaelic as usual, but with the Hindi version added soon after, following a visit to India by Gordon Wells for the University of the Highlands and Islands, during which time he made contact with the Barefoot College in Tilonia, Rajasthan. He returned from India inspired by the environmental awareness displayed at Tilonia, the commitment to working with people on the ground in their own communities, and the energetic determination shown to do practical work, if need be outside established educational structures where they don’t suit local contexts. Clearly, material circumstances in the Hebrides are very different indeed from Rajasthan, but the Island Voices project has always been imbued with something of a DIY, self-reliant, “Barefoot College spirit” since that visit – which is partly why the Hindi version of the Re-Store film, which features a local voluntary project focusing on recycling furniture and books and the development of practical skills, was made so early (and sent on a disk to Tilonia as a token of appreciation).

As the official language of the Indian Union, with hundreds of millions of speakers, it obviously makes no sense to bracket Hindi as a “minority language” in that context – though it is also spoken by smaller yet significant numbers in other countries around the world, including the UK. Nevertheless, we’re happy to add it to our “Other Tongues” catalogue in Island Voices, as part of our “Sharing Gaelic Voices” theme. India is a highly multilingual nation, and it may well be that our efforts here in the Hebrides to support healthy interrelationships between our different languages could be usefully informed by closer study of the Indian context.

Here’s the film on YouTube.

As usual we have also created a Clilstore unit, so you can watch, listen, and read at the same time, and click on any word to get an online dictionary translation: Unit 6555

Finally, readers are reminded that the film paints a picture of the Re-Store Project in its earliest days. Things have moved on a lot since then, with purpose-built premises now located on the Cothrom campus in Ormacleit. Here’s some more recent news, including a link to a BBC Alba feature on “DIY le Donnie“.

Categories: CALL, Community, Video

“Cearcall a’ Chuain”

23/02/2018 1 comment

Island Voices activist, Mary Morrison, has launched another fascinating project with Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath, The North Uist Historical Society, (with Berneray and Grimsay). The Island Voices project is delighted to host some very young film-makers’ work on our YouTube channel. Mary explains:

“Have we found the Great Auk Stone?”

“This bilingual film was planned, devised, filmed, edited and photographed by the Junior Section of our Historical Society, Comann Eachdraidh na h-Oige, forty children from P4-7 of Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath over the Summer Term of 2017. The final editing and translation was the work of Anna Black, the film technician trained by St Andrews ‘Smart History’ group, under the direction of Dr Alan Miller, and given invaluable technical support thereafter from local artist, Peter Ferguson.

We are very grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘Stories, Stones and Bones’ for funding this elaborate project, since it relied heavily on our team of outreach volunteers, working alongside the very helpful and tolerant teachers in the school. Each of the six township groups, having chosen a specialist area of maritime history to research, also chose a secret landmark from their area. The film was devised as a form of treasure hunt to be explored, either to test residents’ local knowledge, or to encourage tourists to explore the island.

It is intended to follow this up with a paper map, charting the places of interest the children chose to photograph, plotted as six different walks. It also might be possible in future to download each section of the film as an app if our mobile signals improve or we obtain funding for a set of geo-caches?

As well as this film, we have kept all the longer oral history interviews in rough edit form. The children elicited so much of interest from the tradition bearers they chose to invite, using their preplanned, shared group questioning. We feel the excellence of the work they have done deserves to be captured here in its own right.

As you survey this stream, DO REMEMBER THAT THIS IS THE WORK OF CHILDREN AGED 9 – 12!”

Categories: Community, Research, UGC, Video

Language Issues Update

12/01/2018 Leave a comment

Sharing Gaelic Voices” started as a new Guthan nan Eilean theme relatively recently, more or less coinciding with the 2016 summer issue of NATECLA‘s journal “Language Issues”. We’re very grateful to the editor Sally Bird for the update she’s now written on our project for the 2017 winter issue of the same journal. You can freely and directly access Sally’s Island Voices article here.

There’s a multilingual theme to the entire issue, with weighty contributions from James Simpson, Melanie Cooke, and other prominent thinkers and practitioners in the ESOL and Community Languages field. Now that the number of languages in which we’ve produced films has broken into double figures – see the Other Tongues page – we’re pleased to feature again in the NATECLA journal. You can get access to the full journal by following this link.

And if anyone wants to add further to the Island Voices list of languages, do get in touch!

Categories: Community
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