CASE STUDY: Gaelic Communities Fund
Urras an Taobh Sear | Staffin Community Trust
Project: Sùil an t-Solais
Gaelic Communities Fund Awarded: £15,000
Urras an Taobh Sear (UTS – Staffin Community Trust) was established in 1994 by local people determined to tackle the challenges faced by their rural area which has crofting and Gaelic at its heart. UTS currently employs two members of staff and has worked on projects including the community shop, a new pier and breakwater, Ecomuseum, housing, and a range of cultural projects over the years.
The Sùil an t-Solais project centred around the history and legacy of crofter agitation in the Staffin area. Building from a programme of community events, the project culminated in an two-month exhibition that included a specially commissioned piece by Maoilios Caimbeul, photographic portraits of members of the community, films, and worksheets for school pupils. The project also enabled a permanent memorial to the Crofter Agitations.
The key alteration was the change of the final exhibition focus. In place of creating films to share with the community, it was decided that photographs of community members, along with their traditional Gaelic sloinneadh (traditional Gaelic naming system), would be more appropriate. This allowed meet-ups in a local café where the exhibition was originally shared with the community. While attendance was not consistent, it was social, and Gaelic-led.
The combination of heritage, culture, research, exhibition, and socialising have resulted in another thought-provoking project for the community that allowed local young people the opportunity to share their skills and to bring together a dispersed community around a central theme.
UTS have demonstrated that having a clear heritage focus, utilising the skills of local people, and creating events that allow the natural use of Gaelic within the community will continue to have a positive impact on the use of Gaelic within the community. Again, this is a gateway for young people in the community to get involved and learn more.