Ishbel McFarlane - Minority Language Training
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, before going to Historic Environment Scotland in February.
Ishbel McFarlane is a theatre maker and Scots Language campaigner. She has been touring her solo show about minoritised language, O is for Hoolet, since 2015. She 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 Autumn 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!
AIMS Participants in the workshops will gain: •an overview of the history of the native languages of Scotland (Gaelic, Scots, English and British Sign Language) and how they interact •awareness of the challenges and benefits of multi-lingualism •an understanding of the history of the minoritisation of Scots, Gaelic and BSL •greater understanding of D/deaf culture, and the nature of BSL as a natural language •a view of the linguistic health and good practice in the Gaelic language community •an insight into the varied linguistic experiences of the people around them •a chance to explore their own linguistic heritage and their use of different language varieties in their day-to-day lives •a chance to reflect as an organisation on language and their work
For more information:
https://ishbelmcfarlane.wordpress.com/ O is for Hoolet Trailer: https://vimeo.com/175574366 Facebook: @IshbelMcF @FeralArtProjects Twitter: @IshbelMcF@FERAL_Arts