Collaboration | Community | Connection 
Why Hamish Matters
The centenary celebrations for folklorist, poet and song maker Hamish Henderson are now on a roll. Having kicked off with Celtic Connections and TradFest concerts, a wide range of individuals and organisations have picked up the ball and run with it.

Among the many forthcoming events are the Hamish Henderson Summer School (31 July to 2 August); the Alexander Moffat Exhibition and The Radical Road performance during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe , all at the Scottish Storytelling Centre ; events at the Pentland Literary Festival in September; a display and talk the National Library of Scotland in October, the Hamish Matters Festival in Blairgowrie and Rattray in October/November, and Edinburgh Folk Club ’s Carrying Stream events in November.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, and thanks are due to all those who are taking the initiative in the way Henderson himself always advocated.

Janet Henderson will give the annual Hamish Henderson Lecture on Saturday 9 November at the Scottish Storytelling Centre , and on Monday 11 November a centenary plaque will be unveiled at the School of Scottish Studies in George Square, University of Edinburgh, followed by a lecture.

Further events are planned including a concert at The Queen's Hall led by the Edinburgh University Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies and a T raditional Music Forum tribute evening on Friday 13 December at The World’s Room .  
Goodbye To All That? 
Gary West and Jock Duncan with Book
The World War One centenaries have ground their way to a conclusion, with commemoration events offering various ways for people to re-experience the four disastrous years of conflict, battle by battle.

There were moving memorials, along with some questionable hijacking for current neo-nationalist ends. Sometimes the voices of actual witnesses were heard while at other events celebrities oozed about “sacrifices” of which they had no real knowledge or understanding.

Imagine then the value of 59 detailed first-hand testimonies from Scots soldiers who served on the frontline, yet survived. And imagine those being gathered by a trusted member of their own communities, transcribed and later recorded, word for word as spoken over the decades following the conflict.

That is what the renowned Scottish folk singer and tradition bearer, Jock Duncan , gives us in the handsomely produced book, Jock’s Jocks . The truly extraordinary thing is that no-one, including Jock’s immediate family, knew that he was devoting his spare time to this lifelong venture. It was a personal decision which he has not explained and still plays down.

Yet the impact of the war on a child born in 1925, and the strong presence of that war and its consequences in the rural communities of Aberdeenshire, Angus and Perthshire surely played their own part.

Not until Gary West created a play based on the material that Jock had gathered did people realise the treasure in store, and it was a wonderful moment when TRACS Chair Gary was able to present the finished article to Jock, as pictured above.

What comes across in the pages of this collection is the complete honesty of Jock Duncan’s informants and their trust. He gives no ‘steer’ and has no agenda other than recording those direct experiences.

This is most evident in his adherence to Scots, in which his informants often spoke, and this publication goes to great efforts to sustain that authenticity while also providing a useful glossary and commentary.

There is no attempt here to either glorify or diminish, but simply to tell the truth of what “the war to end all wars” actually involved. Readers are left in awe at the resilience and hardihood of these human beings, while also wondering why such sacrifice and suffering was demanded of them – and volunteered with little questioning.

Here is testimony worth its weight in gold and a true, enduring legacy that we owe to the gentle, wise, modest and talented Jock Duncan – who chose his editor well in Gary West.

This publication does honour to the individuals who told their stories, to Jock Duncan who patiently gathered them, and by implication to all those who did not come home. All that is worth constant remembrance. Yet listening to these voices is above all a refreshing, life-enhancing experience, and an affirmation of what it means to be human.

TRACS is delighted to have given Gary West’s play its first outings and to now see this ‘graun wark’ emerge in full. I think it needs a pipe tune ‘Jock’s Jock’s’ to salute what has been achieved.

(Donald Smith)

Voices of Scottish Soldiers from the First World War
Jock Duncan | Edited by Gary West | £12.99
Co-published by NMS Enterprises Ltd – Publishing & the European Ethnological Research Association, ISBN 978-1-910682-33-3
The First Performance of Jock's Jocks at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, 11th November 2016.
Atlantik 1050
The Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland supported the Atlantik 1050 project in its search for young Highland dancers aged between 16-25 years from across Scotland.

This free-to-participate international exchange project with young people from Scotland and the Basque Country is a unique cultural experience where the selected participants have the opportunity to visit, rehearse, socialise and perform together – creating a pop-up community of talented young dancers sharing their indigenous music and dance, closing the gap of 1050 nautical miles between the two cultures.

Atlantik 1050 will be popping up around Edinburgh on Friday 9 August as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Basque Showcase and then during the Atlantikaldia Festival in the Basque Country in September 2019.

Part of #ScotlandGoesBasque - an artistic and cultural programme showcasing leading Basque talent in Scotland
Edinburgh Workshops – Owning Your Voice
Explore the Deeper Happiness: Fun, Uplifting & Therapeutic Laughter Workshop
Tuesday 13 Aug, 1pm, £25
Bruntsfield Evangelical Church, Edinburgh

Finding The Fully Embodied Voice with Frankie Armstrong & Darien Pritchard  
Saturday 21 Sep, 10am

Bringing Songs To Life with Frankie Armstrong
Sunday 22 Sep, 10am

£60 each or £100 for both
Columcille Centre, Edinburgh
Tasgadh - Small Grants for Traditional Arts
Creative Scotland will continue to fund Tasgadh , a scheme offering grants of up to £1,000 for organisations and individuals working in the traditional arts of storytelling, music and dance.

Tasgadh is designed to provide support for traditional artists and organisations to create, perform, tour and showcase work. The fund can also support professional development and learning projects.

There are two remaining application dates for 2019-20:

·        25 October 2019
·        31 January 2020

SSF Blog Series

The latest blog is from Marie Louise Cochrane who is starting a new project exploring stories for women to safely explore sensuality.

There is an event this Saturday evening - Red Velvet Revelry at Bellfield from 8pm.

' For so many of us, telling our stories is a way in which we can process our life experiences, recall and celebrate happy memories, ask others for insight into puzzling or alarming experiences, or share advice and start healing from painful things that have happened to us. Hearing other people’s stories about all aspects of life is part of our education in how to be human beings in the world. '
SSF Development Day

The annual Scottish Storytelling Forum Development Day 2019 will take place at  The Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum on Saturday 7 September.

An interactive and fun opportunity to make connections, support the storytelling scene in Scotland and gain insights into storytelling in practice

Themes to be explored include:

  • Archiving
  • Mental Health & Wellbeing
  • Trauma-Informed Policy & Society: Affects for Story Practitioners
  • Marketing Yourself as a Storyteller

Traditional Arts at the Fringe
August is one of the busiest times of the year in Scotland’s capital, with an unbelievable amount of inspirational art and culture on display.

The Scottish Storytelling Centre will be welcoming 22 unique shows as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, showcasing stories in all their forms, from entertaining, to thought-provoking, experimental, inspiring and well-loved, there’s a tale for everyone.

‘The Centre is well-known as a thriving, yet peaceful, haven of activity in the middle of the frantic Fringe. This August we are partnering with the Year of Conversation project to encourage visitors, performers, staff, tourists and locals to take 10minutes away from your phone or the Fringe buzz and have some human connection in our Conversation booth. You never know what you might discover or who you might meet!
Daniel Abercrombie, Programme Manager
Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (SC043009) brings together the Traditional Art Forums of Scotland to provide a common platform and collective voice for Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, and to improve the knowledge, practice, development and advocacy of traditional arts in a
contemporary world, making them more accessible to all.