C is for Ceilidh

We are delighted to be one of the partners for C is for Ceilidh Club – a new after-school club running at Edinburgh’s Abbeyhill Primary School. It is led by traditional dance artist-in-residence Caroline Brockbank as part of the curated artist-in-residence programme at the school.

The first block of sessions will run weekly at the school’s Assembly Hall 17 January–28 March 2023 (except 14 February 2023) – free and open to all Primary 1, Primary 2 and Primary 3 pupils and their guardians. Vegan refreshments will be provided to keep everyone warm and motivated, as well as help with the cost-of-living crisis.

In April–June 2023 the weekly sessions will open to the rest of the school community from – Primary 4–7 pupils and their guardians. The residency will be celebrated with a ceilidh dance for all as part of the Garden pARTy planned for 15 September 2023 as part of 18th annual edition of the Colony of Artists community festival.

C is for Ceilidh Club has been made possible following the successful Abbeyhill Parent Council grant application to Tasgadh – a fund devolved from Creative Scotland and managed by Fèisean nan Gàidheal. The fund is designed to provide support for traditional artists and organisations to create, perform, tour and showcase work.

The Tasgadh award will also allow us to build on the success of our initial collaboration with the curated artists-in-residence programme at the school. We enabled trad dance artists and trad musicians, including Caroline Brockbank of CeilidhKids and Bernie Hewitt of Ceilidh Craic, to deliver two free outdoor ceilidh events so far. The first, held on the school playground as part of Colony of Artists Garden pARTy 2022 and the second, on the Parade Ground of Holyrood Park as part of Colony of Artists festival 2021 due to the Covid-related closure of all schools to visitors.

The residency will allow us to explore the long-lasting mental/physical health and well-being benefits of Scottish Country dancing for all involved. We intend to secure ethical approval and conduct this research with colleagues from our project partner the University of Edinburgh through observation and surveys. This research aspires to inform future planning of social dance sessions towards a clearer understanding of the bio-psycho-social impact of dancing together.

The C is for Ceilidh sessions will be inclusive to all generations and abilities utilising Caroline’s artistic experience in devising and leading sessions for children with special needs, which she most recently shared in the Ceilidh and Autism event now available as one of our free online resource here.

The Tasgadh award towards C is for Ceilidh project will enable us to continue playing an important role in A is for Abbeyhill Artists curated artists-in-residence programme at Abbeyhill Primary School. The programme aims to ensure that all children are entitled to quality cultural learning and meaningful access to traditional and contemporary visual and performing arts. Curated by Iliyana Nedkova, the residency programme has been integrated in the Curriculum for Excellence at the school since 2013. For the last 10 years A is for Abbeyhill Artists has brought over 50 resident artists to the school supported by over 30 project partners and funders.


Images from Ceilidh for All led by Caroline Brockbank (pictured in the CeilidhKids T-shirt holding the microphone) and Bernie Hewitt, accordion (pictured) as part of Colony of Artists Garden pARTy on 16 September 2022 at Abbeyhill Primary School playground. See some short videos from the Ceilidh for All here and here. All images and videos by the school’s photographer-of-residence Scibor Lipinski.