//O is For Hoolet
Language is personal. Nothing gets closer to our hearts. And yet, by its own nature, it's always social. Who owns it? Who appoints it? Who governs it? And why?
In this one-woman show about the Scots language, Ishbel McFarlane presents collected fragments - stories, interviews, memories, characters and attitudes - to challenge and disrupt our expectations and prejudices about language. By interrogating the history of Scots, and the ways in which it is taught and subdued, the audience is invited to question the way forward for minority languages.
Winner of The Arches Platform 18: New Directions Award 2014. Supported by Creative Scotland, Platform and North East Arts Touring
‘A witty, intelligent, and interesting discussion on the subject of language’ ★★★★★ Darrow
‘A passionate call to arms for the study and preservation of minority languages.'
★★★★ The Times
‘McFarlane is engaging as herself and as the linguists, philosophers and writers she embodies.’ ★★★★ The Skinny
‘An engaging, heart-warming piece which is a lovingly made look at language as a living, pulsating, external thing as natural as breathing.’ ★★★★ The List
‘Heartwarming and cerebral, ‘Hoolet’ is a triumph of both style and content.’
‘A gorgeous, thinky, clever hour’
Kirstin Innes (Author of Fishnet)
First performed at Behaviour Festival 2015 the show then went on to tour rurally across Scotland in 2016 and then undertook a Fringe run in August at Scottish Storytelling Centre the same year. In 2017 the show has toured to Columbafest, in Glasgow, Solas in Perthshire and Tartan Heart Festival, Belladrum.
Carafest, Ireland, March
//Minority Languages Training 2018
A new government project brings together Scotland’s three native minority languages: Scots, Gaelic and British Sign Language (BSL).
Ishbel McFarlane's new project uses her award-winning show, O is for Hoolet, as a starting point for training on Scotland's native minority languages. The pilot programme, which covers Gaelic, BSL and Scots, was funded by the Scottish Government. The training is being created in association with Deaf Action, The Scots Language Centre and Fèisean nan Gàidheal, and will have its first session at the Victoria Quay on 31st January 2018, before going to Historic Environment Scotland in February.
Ishbel McFarlane was approached the Scottish Government in 2016 to propose a full day of Minority Language training for workplaces. The proposed workshop would cover all of Scotland's native minority languages, and allow employees to explore how Scotland’s linguistic richness can be celebrated and supported in their workplaces. The Scottish Government are directly funding the pilot project, including the creation of the materials, the gathering of the team, and the delivery of the first two sessions.
The training team includes Ishbel McFarlane leading the training and the Scots Language portion of the day, Catherine Tinney leading the Gaelic language portion of the day, and Fiona Stewart leading the BSL portion. Ishbel, Catherine and Fiona are all fluent users of their languages. As well as the leaders, there are around ten other team members behind the scenes – including stage managers, producers, BSL interpreters, and consultant specialists in the languages.
Ishbel McFarlane said of the project, ‘It’s been so exciting to bring together Scots, Gaelic and BSL as we all feel that we are stronger if we work together. We have been sharing our stories and experiences and there is so much held in common between the users of each of the languages, it’s wonderful to have such optimism and energy around celebrating them. We can’t wait to help each person who experiences the training to go away knowing how to support and enjoy the amazing nature of our multilingual culture.’
From Spring 2018 the team will be offering the completed training to public bodies, the third sector, universities and local authorities, in the hope that they will buy the training for their employees. Many of Scotland’s public bodies have committed to enhancing their support of Scotland’s linguistic diversity by bringing in Gaelic Language Plans. Since the British Sign Language (Scotland) Act 2015, many have started bringing in BSL Plans as well. It is certainly an exciting time for linguistic diversity in Scotland