Snáithean / Threads
19 October 2020
Snáithean - Threads is a series of digital seminars, where all of us working in the smaller cultures of Europe can share ideas, refine and develop our ideas, sharpen skills and collaborate on new activities. Each seminar group will have a convenor and rapporteur, will meet monthly online, and will begin work this November.
Impact / Ardrawiad BuaiDH / tionchar
Celtic Neighbours Quarterly
1 August 2020
The Celtic Neighbours Quarterly of Summer 2020 is published!
Available in English, Welsh, and Scottish and Irish Gaelic.
ar y gweill / on the drawing board
Three acorns that might grow into oak trees...
An Emerging Conversation
The over-riding aim of this process will be - as always - to engineer exciting cultural collisions and new collaborations at community level, with all the long-term social and economic benefits we know these bring. We think this pattern of development is appropriate in a mid-Covid or post-Covid situation, but in any case offers many advantages over more conventional conference structures. We’re considering a four-month long series of digital seminar/ interest group conversations, to take place between October 2020 and February 2021. Colleagues throughout the sector will help in selecting areas of discussion, and we at Celtic Neighbours will also put some forward. Each group will elect a convener and a rapporteur, and will report back via our website on progress mid-way through the process and in March 2020 at the end of this first phase. Key areas of concern and interest will thus be identified, creative suggestions laid out, and a firm foundation laid for the next phase of the conversation.
In April 2021, members of the seminar groups and others will be invited to a two-day gathering, which we hope will take place in Inverness, where we’ll use the findings, ideas and questions identified in the earlier conversations to launch future collaborations and establish shared understandings. We believe that at this stage, the human and chemical elements of coming together are essential in building mutual confidence and support. Performance will play an important part in the final gathering, and in a further development from past practice, participants from minority language and indigenous communities throughout Europe and the wider world will be invited to take part, sharing ideas, expertise and aspirations.
Sharing culture through music: linking up with the indigenous
Musicians are superb ambassadors - they seem to have listening and communication skills in their blood. And of course, they have a common language already, so words can come in later, as and when required. We at Celtic Neighbours are beginning to develop pathways that will help us explore the power of music and performance in building understandings of culture. In particular, what do the smaller-language cultures of Europe (some of which could describe themselves as indigenous, and some not) have to share with their counterparts in Australia, say, or Latin America? We are already pursuing a trail left in Tasmania by a transported Welsh harpist in the early nineteenth century, and building a dialogue with schools and musicans in Colombia. What will it lead to? Watch this space.
Brethyn cartref/ Homespun
Darowen is a small village in the hills of mid-Wales, and Leitza a small town in those of Nafarroa, in the Basque Country. There are many similarities between them: both are essentially native-language communities, and in both music and poetry are highly respected and widely practiced. Both are upland farming communities, politically radical while socially quite traditional. And both are committed to conservation, both of the living landscape and of living culture. Over more than twenty years, they have been building connections, through touring and hosting performers and reciprocal visits.
In 2021, the two communities are planning to move closer still. Each will welcome a party from the other for a long weekend of homespun entertainment and interaction. There will be no agendas, no formal expectations, no costs and no subsidies. Apart from their air fares, participants will be hosted entirely free, and each home community will design a programme of events and entertainment that will give opportunities for simple cultural sharing. We hope this model may prove transferable, and other communities hoping to develop cultural friendships will be able to take it forward. Celtic Neighbours will support the initiative as it develops, while leaving its direction and content entirely in the hands of the two communities.