New creative workshops will be introduced in schools across the Scottish islands as part of government plans to promote culture and create jobs.
The new programme will be implemented in the primary school curriculum to offer students an insight into the rich cultural diversity across the island communities.
Funded by the National Transition Training Fund and through the government’s Islands Programme, it will be delivered in more than 100 schools across Orkney, Shetland, Argyl and Bute and the Highlands.
The initiative is expected to create up to 50 jobs for freelance creative artists and musicians who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.
Through a shadowing scheme, tutors will lead cultural workshops on Scotland’s indigenous languages, as well as dialects, music, drama, dance and visual art.
Jamie Hepburn, minister for education, youth employment and training, said the project will be a “valuable opportunity” for both children and creative freelancers.
He said: “This new programme will offer valuable re-training and employment opportunities for creative freelancers to work across all of our 93 inhabited Scottish islands.
“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.
“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.”
Project to support economic recovery
The project will be delivered by the Gaelic arts body Fèisean nan Gàidheal with the help of the University of the Highlands and Islands, which will offer support to the tutors, leading to accreditation for their work.
Arthur Cormack, Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s chief-executive, added the new programme will play a big part in the economic recovery from the pandemic.
He said: “Training will be an important part of the programme with the aim of increasing the resilience of freelancers and better equipping them to work in school settings in the future.
“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.
“Fèisean nan Gàidheal is grateful for the support from the Scottish Government in delivering this new programme which will help freelance creative practitioners recover from the economic effects of the pandemic.”