Bòrd na Gàidhlig responds to Scotland’s route map

Bòrd na Gàidhlig has provided important information to Scottish Government on what is required to protect Gaelic in the COVID-19 situation and the opportunities that the language and culture gives to Scotland as the country comes out of lockdown. The information is based on discussions with various Gaelic organisations, working in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig.

The document explains the key challenges for Gaelic currently and also the benefits and opportunities the language gives as we work towards the ‘new normal’.

The delivery of Gaelic medium education (GME) is one of the most important points, with a recommendation for special recognition for GME in the months ahead. Furthermore, building on the research from St Andrews University, the Bòrd is seeking protection for the island communities where Gaelic is spoken on a daily basis.

The response also recognises the benefits and opportunities Gaelic gives Scotland. It highlights Gaelic’s cultural wealth, how it contributes to education and skills development, strengthens communities and contributes to the economy. There are new opportunities in tourism developments and, particularly appropriate for island and rural areas, the digital economy.

Mary MacInnes, Chair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said, “We’ve talked to many organisations about their situation currently and we are also very mindful of the initiatives the Government is establishing. It is essential that Gaelic is included as we move forward and we are very pleased to offer any support we can with these initiatives.”

Arthur Cormack, Chief Executive Officer, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, said, “Gaelic artists have contributed to people’s wellbeing at a challenging time when many of them have experienced difficulties making a living. Efforts have been made to support them during the period, but it will be some time before they will have regular employment opportunities again. Gaelic culture is important to the economy. It provides jobs and is key to increasing interest among tourists, for example, in visiting Scotland.”

Allan MacDonald, Chair, MG Alba said, “We support Bòrd na Gàidhlig as they seek to address the key issues in respect of the Covid-19 recovery as the country moves out of lockdown. We must ensure that the digital economic development of our communities continues. We have seen ingenuity and skills which are inspiring and make it clear that our communities are digitally engaged and have the ability to deliver remotely. This bodes well for the future of sustainable Gaelic business growth, not least in the media sphere, and we must capitalise on this.”

Read the information sent to the Scottish Government here.

Board meetings to be made public for the first time

Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s board meetings will be streamed live from Tuesday 26 May 2020.

This is the first time the Board has invited the public to meetings and demonstrates the Board’s commitment to increase openness and transparency following the Audit report by Deloitte last year.

This development is 4 months ahead of schedule, with meetings previously due to be made public in Inverness from September 2020.

Newly appointed Chair, Màiri MacInnes said: “One of the first things I aimed to do after being appointed was to make our meetings open to the public and ensure it happened as quickly as possible. Due to the dedicated work of employees we were able to bring this forward by four months and share the work of Bòrd na Gàidhlig to those who are most interested in it – the public.

“We welcome Gaelic speakers from across the country to come and listen to the meeting and the points discussed.”
In the first instance, Gaelic speakers are invited to watch the meeting with agenda and relevant papers being published online 5 days before each meeting. In the months to come, the Bòrd will look at ways to simulcast meetings in Gaelic with an English translation for non-Gaelic speakers.

Quarterly Board Meeting
Tuesday 26th May 2020 – 10.00-15.00
Streamed live online via link on the Bòrd’s website.
Agenda and papers can be found here:

‘Victory, Hope & Ambition’ schools project launched to mark 275th anniversary of Battle of Prestonpans

Children aged between 10 and 17 are being invited to take part in a brand new project to mark the 275th anniversary of the Battle of Prestonpans.

Entries in prose, poetry or art and design focusing on the battle will be considered with selected submissions published in a special commemorative book. The project runs from 16th April to 20th December 2020.

Since 1745, the story of the Battle of Prestonpans has fascinated, moved and inspired people from around the world. The dramatic events of the young Bonnie Prince Charlie returning from exile and raising an army of Jacobites to claim the throne and winning against the odds at the Battle of Prestonpans sparked a cultural legacy which continues to this day. The battle is commemorated in songs, poems, novels, paintings and tapestries.

The Battle of Prestonpans (1745) Heritage Trust is a charity that aims to keep this cultural legacy alive. The ‘Victory, Hope & Ambition’ project demonstrates that the creation of new works is just as important as the presentation of the past.

Entries to the project should reflect one of the following key themes:
The prince has landed
A call to arms
On the march
Victory / defeat
Looking back

Entrants are free to explore these areas from any perspective, including those of both Jacobite and Hanoverian supporters. Written contributions should be no more than 500 words. Entrants can work in groups or as individuals and submit through their school or privately.

Entries are welcome in English, Scots or Gaelic. Gaelic language entries should be accompanied by English translations if possible.

Entries will be published on http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org and an event in early 2021 will be held for entrants to celebrate their creativity.

Groups looking for inspiration for entries might welcome a tour of the battlefield at Prestonpans and can find out about this at http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org.

Steven Kellow, Project & Funding Officer at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said, “We are delighted to be supporting this project as it fulfils the three primary aims of the National Gaelic Language Plan 2018-23. We hope that our funding will help children from the area engage with the project through the medium Gaelic and we wish the project every success!”

A programme of events is planned to mark the 275th anniversary of the battle of Prestonpans. These will include a tour of The Prestonpans 1745 Tapestry and a special three-month exhibition in Haddington, and a programme of events showcasing the cultural legacy of the battle. This is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, EventScotland, East Lothian Council and Bòrd na Gàidhlig. As fundraising continues towards a living history centre to mark The Battle of Prestonpans, aspects of the centre’s planned activity programmes will be piloted to research the battlefield’s visitor profile and work towards the fundraising goal required to make this dream a reality.

To request an information pack, email ajohnston@battleofprestonpans1745.org or visit http://www.battleofprestonpans1745.org.

Postal entries should be sent to:
275 Schools Project
Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust
227-229 High Street
EH32 9BE

This project has been designed to fit within a range of school subjects. Here are some examples of where this project may cover the Experiences and Outcomes of curriculum areas:

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