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Landmark Anniversary for Heritage Website

Tobar an Dualchais/Kist o Riches (TAD) is celebrating ten years this week since the launch of its oral heritage website. There were 10,000 recordings available on the site when it was officially launched in Edinburgh on 8 December 2010 and this number has now risen to almost 50, 000.

In addition to a significant number of items being added to the website, TAD has developed other projects and resources to engage with people across Scotland and beyond. Highlights over the last decade include: sharing recordings with many of the communities from which the recordings originated; the curation and production of CDs; the development of resources for schools and Higher Education; a collaborative project with Faclair na Gàidhlig; and the production of radio programmes in collaboration with Radio nan Gàidheal and Cuillin FM.

The TAD website has become increasingly more relevant to a broad spectrum of users since its launch and these includes musicians, historians, teachers, artists and environmental campaigners. Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis is a regular user of the site and she commented: ‘As a musician who connected with these precious resources years before digitisation by TAD, it is a huge privilege to be able to access these archive recordings online, providing continual inspiration for learning and music making. As a former Artist in Residence at Tobar an Dualchais, I am acutely aware of how important these recordings are and it is of great personal satisfaction to me to see the resource continue to grow and develop in such a meaningful way.’

Flòraidh Forrest, TAD Director, stated: ‘We are delighted to have reached this significant milestone and would like to thank our project partners: Sabhal Mòr Ostaig; the University of Edinburgh; BBC ALBA; and the National Trust for Scotland. We are also very grateful to all our staff, past and present, and to the organisations which have supported us financially and in-kind over the last decade. At the moment we’re redesigning the website to make it more user-friendly and engaging. New features will also include school resources and transcriptions of some of the Gaelic material to make the recordings more accessible to users, in particular Gaelic learners who may not be familiar with some of the dialects and terminology. There will also be photographs and profiles of some of the contributors and fieldworkers, and we will be adding to these on a regular basis. These profiles will ensure that information is preserved about them before their connections with their communities lessen with each passing generation. The new website will be launched in spring 2021.’

Donnie Munro, Chair of the TAD Steering Group added: ‘It has been very rewarding to see this immensely important and valuable national cultural heritage resource go from strength to strength over the last ten years. We are excited to see the imaginative ways in which organisations and individuals have been using the material to inspire their own work across a wide range of fields. This has also led to an increasing number of opportunities for us to work collaboratively with some of them, and ultimately has enhanced the experience for the website’s end users.’

The material on the website includes songs, stories, customs, traditions and beliefs in Gaelic, Scots and English. As part of the tenth anniversary celebrations, there will be a special feature about TAD on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal’s ‘Prògram Choinnich’ on Wednesday 9 December. TAD will be also be highlighting some of the contributors and fieldworkers who have played a crucial role in the preservation and sharing of Scotland’s traditions, on social media. If you would like a daily dose of oral heritage be sure to follow Tobar an Dualchais/ Kist o Riches on Facebook and Twitter.

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