The community events aspect of our Year of Stories are an important way of reaching as many people as possible all over the island. We wish to engage with people in their own communities, and in the native language of Gaelic where possible, where we hope they will feel more comfortable to tell their- perhaps previously unheard- stories.
The first series of community events began in April, with author Donald S Murray based in the rural west side village of Bragar. There were drop-in sessions with Donald at Grinneabhat Centre and he visited local storytellers (or seanchaidh) in their own homes in an attempt to gather as many local stories as possible. A live event took place at the end of his residency with Donald reciting stories he has heard, encouraging people to discuss, share their comments and similar stories they may have heard. Donald also produced a series of poems based on his residency which will be available on this page shortly.
Further information on Donald’s work can be found here https://www.donaldsmurray.co.uk/
In celebration of Eilean Fraoich, the classic Lewis songbook, a concert was held in An Lanntair in July 2022. Featuring Gaelic singers Josie Duncan, Mischa Macpherson, Alice Macmillan and Isobel Martin, the songs and stories from the book were presented in a sell out evening for Year of Stories. Clips from the concert can be viewed above.
Thirdly, and importantly, we want to place a focus on children’s tales. Therefore a series of events where we encourage our young participants to talk about or create their own stories will take place in community hubs during the autumn. These will be led by a selection of youth workers and dates are to follow.
Our final residency will take place in partnership with UHI, when lecturer Catriona Murray will be running a series of story-exchanges throughout the island in October. This will take the form of a story-swap, in the hope of uncovering some lesser-known local tales. There will be informal evenings held in centres throughout the island, to which people will be invited to come along and share their stories, encouraged by stories Catriona has heard in other communities.
Stories, events and a final lecture delivered by Catriona on the supernatural will be filmed for release on our social media platforms so keep an eye on our pages for updates!