The Lifelong Learning team at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, alongside Cothrom Training Ltd of South Uist, received their award for the Guthan nan Eilean (Island Voices) project at The European Award for Languages 2007 Presentation Ceremony in Cardiff on the 20th of November.

The project (supported by the European Leonardo programme) developed a series of free-to-view online video resources for learners of Gaelic and English. These presented “slices of life and work” across Uist, including both community and workplace settings, with scripted documentaries in plain language and live interviews with community members.

One of the judges commented on the project, “From its origins as a resource addressing the need for technology-assisted language teaching for lesser used languages it has developed into a way of empowering learners to develop their own films and consequently raise their own ICT and language skills.”

With additional support from Communities Scotland, learners themselves were involved in video creation with, for example, Polish and Latvian workers at Kallin Shellfish on Grimsay making a film about their daily working lives.

One of those learners that has benefited from the project, Elizabeth Rivera who lives in Canada said “I found it wonderful! It was the first time that I had ever seen a native Gaelic speaker speaking Gaelic. If you aren't in a Gaelic community it makes it difficult to learn. These videos bring you right there!”

Alison Dix, Head of Lifelong Learning at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said, “We have enjoyed working with the local community in the Hebrides, in partnership with Cothrom Training Ltd. We are currently seeking funding to develop ''Guthan nan Eilean'' (Island Voices), both as an oral archive and as a bilingual pool of materials for learners.

A DVD of the existing videos, funded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, is in production at the moment, and we hope that this will be an excellent resource for schools, colleges, universities and individual learners and teachers.''

The project can be viewed at

Picture from the left:

Alison Dix, Head of Lifelong Learning, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Lid King, National Director for Languages, Department for Children, Schools, and Families
Isabella Moore CBE, Chief Executive, National Centre for Languages
Gordon Wells, Island Voices Project Co-ordinator
Barbara Macdonald, Manager, Cothrom Training Ltd