School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Festival aims to up Gaelic’s profile in Capital

Experts whose research highlights the benefits of speaking more than one language are to launch Edinburgh’s annual Gaelic Festival.

Ceilidh Night at the 2019 Gaelic Festival
Ceilidh Night at the 2019 Gaelic Festival

Researchers from the University’s Bilingualism Matters Centre will share key insights from recent studies at the Festival’s opening event on 5 November.

Centre staff, who are based in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, will highlight their research into Gaelic, bilingualism and language policy.

Wide appeal

The event is part of a line-up that gives people of all ages and linguistic abilities an opportunity to enjoy Gaelic culture and to sample the language.

The Festival, which is now in its eighth year, is co-sponsored by the University and the City of Edinburgh Council.

Other highlights during Seachdain na Gàidhlig include a lecture in memory of singer and stalwart of Edinburgh’s Gaelic community Calum Cameron.

The lecture, at the Scottish Poetry Library, will be given by Gillebrìde MacMillan – a respected Glasgow-based singer from South Uist who sang in Outlander.

Climate theme

The literary theme continues with a poetry reading in Gaelic, English and Scots, which is part of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The event is fully booked but will be live streamed.

The poets (left to right) Pàdraig MacAoidh, Roseanne Watt and Donald S. Murray
The poets (left to right) Pàdraig MacAoidh, Roseanne Watt and Donald S. Murray

Weathering the Storm features the work of three Scottish poets – Roseanne Watt from Shetland and Pàdraig MacAoidh and Donald S. Murray from Lewis.

Each writer will read poems that reflect the challenges faced by island communities as a result of climate change and the associated ecological degradation.

Creative impulses

Festival-goers can develop their creative side in a session that explores how Gaelic is being used on TikTok – and participants will be encouraged to produce fun, engaging content of their own.

Further Festival attractions are a hanging basket workshop and two events that showcase Gaelic song throughout the ages.

There is also a chance to learn about campaigns to establish Gaelic hubs in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stornoway, which will help to strengthen the language in Scotland.

Edinburgh has a vibrant Gaelic community and we hope to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this exciting programme of events.

Bria MasonGaelic Officer, University of Edinburgh

Packed programme

Other highlights are a workshop linked to an upcoming Gaelic short film competition and an opportunity to learn some Irish Gaelic in an online conversation circle.

The festival's final day attractions include a tour of the Scottish Poetry Library and two events at the Scottish Parliament.

Researchers based in Celtic and Scottish Studies at Edinburgh will play a key role during the Festival, which runs until 12 November.

Seachdain na Gàidhlig was first run by the University of Edinburgh in 2014 before becoming a city-wide Festival the following year.

We’re delighted to be co-sponsors as it reinforces our commitment to developing Gaelic in Scotland’s capital city through supporting rich cultural activity and expanding our Gaelic Medium Education provision.

Councillor Alison DickieGaelic Champion for the City of Edinburgh Council

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