Scotland's Year of Stories Project: Gairloch Museum's Festival of Stories

Gairloch Museum Festival of Stories
This locally inspired festival of stories, supported by the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund,
was built around a room for stories, a room for community. A key focus of the museum’s wider events
programme is ways to combat the social isolation compounded by the pandemic. The gallery was
converted into a taigh cèilidh venue within the museum for the 10 days of the festival.
taigh cèilidh a party, gathering, or the like, at which dancing, singing, and
storytelling are the usual forms of entertainment.

The festival programme featured storytelling, performances, talks and guided walks. Highlights
included a showcase of the Aultbea Stories project with the first performance of the Aultbea Song and
the Songs of Wester Ross open mic evening which invited songs, stories and music from the
gathering. Guests at the festival included Claire McNicol who delivered school workshops; Abe Locke
whose illustrations were used to create a magical animation short of the Gairloch Fairytale of the Gille
Dubh; Heather Yule with a suppertime performance inspired by the folklore of Otta Swire; broadcaster
Roddy Maclean who led Gaelic walks into the hillside behind the museum; and Andrew Crummy who
met with groups of the local stitchers involved in the Highlands & Islands tapestry project to tell their
story in stitches.

Visitors were invited to make themselves at home; to pull up a comfy chair and enjoy the
proceedings. The popularity of the virtual projected fireplace was one of the surprise hits of what was
a warm and welcoming festival.

The festival has helped engender a sense of community involvement at the museum with elements of
the programme now being trialled as regular features in the museum calendar. A Dixon Book group
will meet once a month; the tapestry group continues to meet to work on their panel in the museum
each week; and out of the Songs of Wester Ross event is a monthly Ceilidh House open mic night. - Andrew Crummy Tapestry of the Highlands and Islands talk - Magical Folklore with Heather Yule - Song of Aultbea - Songs of Wester Ross at The Ceilidh House

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