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Dark brown Hebridean sheep are gathered in a field as the sun sets, casting a golden orange glow over their fleeces.

The Shepherd’s Song

Òran a’ Chìobair / Cân y Bugail / Artzainen Kanta / Da Crofter’s Sang / Pastirska pesma / Smalasöngurinn / It liet fan de hoeder / The Shepherd’s Song
Shepherds’ songs and counting sheep: Culture, language, tradition and rural economies for the future.

Join Scottish and international partners for a one-day seminar when Taigh Chearsabhagh will host a pan-European gathering with talks, presentations, performances, and film screenings, as well as opportunities to meet, work, socialise and share experiences.

Across Europe and beyond, the shepherd has embodied a symbiotic relationship between the rural hill farmer or island crofter and the husbandry of their flock in a wild, beautiful and unpredictable natural environment. Shepherds are a repository of traditional skills, knowledge and cultural heritage. Working in isolation with often limited resources they are highly inventive at finding innovative solutions to practical problems. As creative makers and thinkers they are legendary in their ability to compose poetry or song that articulates authenticity of experience and place. And yet, as with the migratory nature of sheep these narratives of the Shepherd are ubiquitous, re-emerging in different cultures, languages and through generations.

In its verbal context the term to shepherd also reminds us of a need to lead and marshal the group, to provide philosophical direction and carefully watch over the flock.

This event will draw together shared experiences from rural communities exploring the contemporary nature of shepherding. We will examine and celebrate the rich heritage of the past to better understand current conditions and situations. We will look at the associated crafts and industries aligned to wool production and what role can the shepherd play in steering innovative new thinking around future synergies between land management, sustainable creative economies and the living culture of rural communities.

Hosted online by Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre in partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for Island Creativity, this gathering is the first in a series of future, similarly themed pan-European events. 

Booking is essential in order to receive the Zoom invitation. The link will be emailed out shortly before the seminar begins. Bookings close at 9am on the 15th of October.

With thanks to Meg Rodger of The Birlinn Yarn Company for use of their photograph of Hebridean sheep.