Living Culture and Traditions: Magnificent Workshops April – June

Learning a new skill or improving on half of one is exhilarating, and here at the Centre we know there’s nothing better than discovering more about culture and traditions, which is why our workshops programme is bursting at the seams with inventive courses to get stuck into!

Spring is here and the mind likes a spring clean too so we’ve developed a whole new programme of workshops to help you build your skills, whether it’s for personal development, to help you at work, or just for fun!

We have workshops in storytelling, song and dance, sessions to help educators reach their communities in new and innovative ways, programmes to help boost your story and song repertoires.

Storytelling for Personal Development

Storytelling Workshop Session

There are many reasons to engage in storytelling: for entertainment, to preserve culture, to keep family stories and historical tales alive. But there are also personal benefits to storytelling: this season we are hosting several sessions which will aim to help participants in various areas of their life.

Storytelling for Forgiveness on Sat 26 April will examine the way that we use stories to define ourselves and the world around us. We live through the stories we tell ourselves, the ideas we carry about other people or about something that happened. But what happens if we hang on to a story that no longer serves us? Whether it’s learning to let go or opening up to positive change, this workshop with Elly Crichton explores the concept of forgiveness through the listening to and  sharing of stories.

Storytellers unquestionably require the skills to spin a good yarn, but they also need the practical values and experiences that can take them to the next level as a professional performer. In Storytelling: Vocation and Apprenticeship on Sat 28 June, Janis Mackay and Donald Smith will lead participants through the journey of storytelling, in both its vocational and its practical aspects.

Freelancers take note: we are hosting a special skills-building workshop alongside the Cultural Enterprise Office, Social Enterprise networks and TRACS, the traditional arts alliance. At Surviving as a Traditional Artist on Sat 17 May participants will receive tips on self-organisation, how to improve their reach with good Marketing and PR practice, Finance and Administrative advice, and invaluable information on training and development from professional mentors, as well as the opportunity for networking with other members of the traditional arts world.

A Story or Song a Day keeps you Smiling

Occasionally we need a wee nudge to remind us to incorporate a song or story into our everyday life. Sometimes a wee story or song can be just what we need to help us through our day or to forget a bad one. We have two workshops dedicated to helping you bring tales and tunes into your daily routine.

Songmaker Ewan McVicar will be hosting A Song A Day on Fri 6 June to give an insight into how to access, use and teach the treasury of Scots song as an everyday habit and resource. Gain confidence and knowledge in deploying a daily wee song for the benefit of children or adults, whatever your own level of musical experience.

A Story A Day on Sat 7 June is suitable for anyone interested in telling stories who feels like they don’t have the time to learn, particularly those working with people with additional needs or young children. Ailie Finlay of Flotsam & Jetsam and The Story Kist (Sat 31 May) shares her skills and experience of stories in context. These stories can be useful in care settings, nurseries or schools, and can enrich a humdrum day, provide continuity and ease stressful moments.  

Do you already incorporate song into your storytelling sessions? Learn the relationship between story and song and how to deftly move between the two in creative and performance environments at Song and Story: Between the Worlds on Sat 14 June. In this session with songwriter Rachel Newton (also part of TradFest) and storyteller Grace Banks you will learn how to best utilise these artforms in your own craft, with Donald Smith hosting the creative dialogue.

We’re confident that you can find stories and songs to enjoy 365 days of the year!

Music and Song spotlights Celtic, Greek and Burns traditions

What does it sound like when two cultures from opposite sides of the continent come together to make music? A lot like Tir Fada, we imagine. Tir Fada is Greece’s top Gaelic/Irish troupe combining traditional Greek music and dance with Celtic traditions.

Join them for Tir Fada: Greek & Celtic Dance Traditions on Sat 19 April – an exhilarating session of Greek dances, with a Scottish dash, and an introduction to Greek songs and singing styles. This is a rare opportunity to be at the meeting point between two vigorous folk cultures. Tir Fada also host a concert in the Storytelling Court on the same evening, and you can get discounted tickets by taking part in the workshop.

The Centre’s BurnsFest at the beginning of the year feels like a very long time ago, doesn’t it? But who says that we can’t celebrate the work of The Bard all throughout the year? That’s why we’re hosting Burns Song with Rod Paterson on Fri 27 June. Rod Paterson is a world-leading exponent of Burns and loves to share his knowledge and experience with other singers and all those who love Burns and his central role in Scottish culture. Learn how to best approach Burns’ ballads and songs with input from an expert, and be extra prepared for BurnsFest 2015…

Dance a jig or a reel and get a feel for Scottish traditional dance

We have a number of dance-related workshops to help get you moving this spring!

Dance Workshop at Storytelling Centre

Take a leap into the future of dance traditions at Step Dancing into the Future on Sat 26 Apr. In this workshop Mairi Britton guides you through Scotland’s burgeoning step dance renaissance. Learn some specific styles and steps, and get a feel for the potential of this form.

Come explore the fascinating history of quadrilles at Quadrilles: West and East on Sun 1 June. For those unsure, a quadrille is an historic dance performed by four couples in a rectangular formation, and was a precursor to traditional square dancing. In this workshop Frank McConnell and Sheila McCutcheon will share the growing love of the dance form amongst traditional dancers and will explore the Quadrilles of South Uist and Eriskay along with east coast and mainland versions.

And we’re excited that Mairi Campbell is hosting not one but two sessions focusing on the relationship between music, story and movement this June! In the first of two sessions, In the Flow: Music-Story-Movement 1 on Sat 7 June, Mairi leads participants on a journey leading to reflection and increased understanding of their creativity through music, story and movement. And In the Flow: Music-Story-Movement 2 on Sat 21 June continues on the path to increasing your understanding of your creativity and that of others.

Storytelling for Educators

Storytelling is an effective tool for educators and those working with people in the community. We have several workshops suited to helping educators build the skills that will help them reach their pupils in new and innovative ways.

On Sat 31 May we are hosting Story Pockets: Beginning the Language Journey which will be of interest to anybody working with young children, and also the parents of children having their first experiences with books and stories. The project aims to revolutionise the way that we look at the precious early experiences of books. Creator Beth Cross has written details of the project for The Scottish Book Trust blog.
Dr. Beth Cross is currently Senior Lecturer in Community Learning and Participation at University of West of Scotland.

Learn how to harness song for teaching purposes at Teaching Through Song on Fri 16 May. Sheena Wellington demonstrates how listening to and learning songs can open up the social and community histories of Scotland for both adults and young people. Sheena herself ‘learned through sangs’, and would like to encourage educators, artists, parents, community workers and volunteers of all kinds to celebrate their identity and experiences through song.

Help the next generation of storytellers reach their potential! At Supporting Young Storytellers on Fri 30 May you will learn how to help young people grow confident and find their voice. In this skills based workshop, storyteller and teacher Beverley Bryant puts these developments in a practical context and points the way forward. Ideal for all those working with older children and young people. 

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