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Education / Primary schools to benefit from new arts project with focus on local dialect

Urafirth Primary School. Photo: Richard Webb (licenced for reuse under creative commons)
Urafirth is one of many primary schools which will receive tutoring through the project. Photo: Richard Webb (licensed for reuse under creative commons)

FREELANCE creative artists and musicians who have lost work due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit will tutor primary school children across island communities, the Scottish Government has announced.

Up to 50 tutors will work with primary schools to lead cultural workshops on Scotland’s indigenous languages and dialects, music, drama, dance and visual art.

Through a shadowing scheme, tutors will also work with and support the development of assistant tutors to deliver the workshops as part of the primary school curriculum.

Gaelic arts body Fèisean nan Gàidheal will deliver the programme – which is called Treòir – Voar – Virr – in Na h-Eileanan Siar, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire.

In Shetland primary aged bairns from Unst to Fair Isle will benefit from the project.

The University of the Highlands and Islands will offer support to the tutors, leading to accreditation for their work.

Higher and further education, youth employment and training minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Many freelancers have experienced considerable financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On top of this, we know many touring musicians will also face challenges due to the UK’s exit from the EU for some time to come.

“This new programme will offer valuable re-training and employment opportunities for creative freelancers to work across all of our 93 inhabited Scottish islands.

“Not only will school children get to learn more of the rich cultural diversity across our island communities, this project will also help promote Gaelic, Shetlandic and Scots languages and local dialects distinctive to islands such as Orkney.”

Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s CEO, said: “All primary schools across our islands have been presented with an exciting opportunity to enable local artists to work with one year group, delving into local culture integral to our island communities.”

The programme is being supported by the National Transition Training Fund and through islands programme funding from the Scottish Government.