Cultural contribution of Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands

Members of Highland Council’s Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities (CPE) Committee received a presentation on the cultural contribution of Gypsy/Travellers in the Highlands at its meeting on Thursday (11 June).

Cait McCullagh, High Life Highland, a Curator at Inverness Museum & Art Gallery announced an exhibition called ‘Transitions’ coming to the museum from 2 July, which celebrates and reflects on the culture of Highland Travelling People. 

Also speaking to Members was Essie Stewart who was born into a Sutherland travelling family and is a Gaelic storyteller with a strong grounding in Gaelic and Traveller tradition. Essie tells legends, Celtic stories and epics, humorous tales and anecdotes which have been handed down from her grandfather in both English and Gaelic.

She said: “It is a culture and a life that is fast disappearing. Some of our heritage can be traced back to the 5th century.”

Showing and inspired by objects from the Inverness and Highland Folk Museums and images from the Highland Photographic Archive, this exhibition was co-curated with members of HUG , a local community group that speaks out about mental health issues.  It includes new art works and creative writing, a specially commissioned film and sound recordings.

Chair of the CPE Committee, Cllr Hamish Fraser thanked Cait and Essie for their presentations, which can be viewed on our website as part of the webcast of the meeting. He said: “We welcome the valuable work undertaken by High Life Highland to conserve and promote the historic contribution of Scottish Gypsy Travellers. I would encourage people to go and see this exciting exhibition and learn more about the culture of the Gypsy Traveller communities.”

12 Jun 2015