Local Voices

It was announced this week that I will be joining community enterprise Local Voices as a co-director alongside founders and fellow ethnologists Steve Byrne and Chris Wright. 

Local Voices is an organisation with a mission to help communities across Scotland identify, collect and engage with their local heritage. We aim to celebrate the traditions and diversity of local communities in the global age, taking in language, song, story, music and memory. To that end, we deliver a variety of projects in schools and wider communities across Scotland, with special focuses on Scots language and traditional arts.
— www.localvoices.co.uk
 
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It is a joy to join fellow ethnologists Chris and Steve on the Local Voices team. Together they have a wealth of experience and knowledge and have really led the way with their approach to applied ethnology and place-based traditional arts education in Scotland. They create deeply thoughtful projects that encourage children and communities to connect with each other, with their place and with their past, modelling an educational approach that places relationship, culture and personal and community empowerment at the centre of learning.

In an increasingly rootless, alienating and commercialised world, where so many are predisposed to looking out to mass media culture, the consciousness-raising work of organisations like Local Voices is vital. Our cultural memory and local traditions are important not as ‘relics of an imagined national past’ or ‘cultural products for export,’ but as a creative, vital and meaningful resource for the future. The Local Voices approach highlights the importance of seeing tradition as rooted in place but not fixed in history, rather as a living tradition moving forward through time in a way that is inclusive of all those who live here. 

In a condition of cultural citizenship, everyone feels at home in their own community; everyone feels that their heritages are valued; that their contributions to community life and cultural fabric have equal weight and value for people. Everyone wants to know their neighbours, to be part of something together, a story that is bigger than all of our small stories together.
— Arlene Goldbard