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Celebrating the Women Who Tell Our Stories

Every year, throughout the month of March, communities across the UK, USA and Australia gather together to highlight the contributions of women to historical events and contemporary society.

Designated by the National Women’s History Alliance, this year’s theme is ‘Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories’. In the spirit of this theme and to celebrate Women’s History Month, we have highlighted a selection of recordings from our audio archive for you to discover. Join us and listen to fascinating stories of community figures, local heroes, champions of local arts and culture and women in storytelling from across the Highlands and Islands.

MARGARET GARDINER AND THE PIER ARTS CENTRE

...you do feel her presence still...

In this edition of our audio 'In Focus' series, listen to Carol Dunbar (below) as she discusses Margaret Gardiner (1904-2005) and the origins of the Pier Arts Centre. An author, philanthropist and peace activist, Gardiner was a keen supporter of Orkney artists and founder of the Pier Arts Centre. Thanks to her legacy, the gallery continues to be a vibrant home for fine art and a focal point for creative minds across the Orkney Isles. Click here to discover more.

Carol Dunbar
Image provided by Smartify

DISCOVER TALES OF ISLAY'S COMMUNITY LIFE

Tha sinn beò agus tha a’ghrian a’deàrrsadh...

Join the ladies of the incredible Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle - Shona MacKellar, Catherine MacTaggart and Catherine Johnston – as well as Marion McGregor, Etta Shaw and John Cameron (all pictured below) as they discuss life on Islay through the years, extraordinary wedding traditions and their thoughts on the nature of community spirit on the island. The centre, Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, presents an open gateway for visitors to engage with Gaelic language and culture. Listen to 'Islay Through the Years' here.

Catherine MacTaggart, Sheena MacKellor, Marion McGregor, Catherine Johnston, John Cameron and Etta Shaw.
Image provided by Smartify

THE RNLI AT CAMPBELTOWN - SAVING LIVES AT SEA

You got out in all weathers and that's part of what you do...you trust the boat, you trust the equipment you trust your coxswain and you trust your crew...

Join Ailsa Clark, the first female crew member of RNLI Campbeltown, and David Colville as they discuss life volunteering for the life-line service. The base at Campbeltown covers the treacherous Mull of Kintyre and the North Channel. The remarkable crews at the Campbeltown lifeboat station, from a wide range of working backgrounds, have been awarded 11 medals for gallantry and life-saving feats in its 163 year history. Discover the story of their volunteering experiences here.

David Colville and Ailsa Clark
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MEET THE WOMAN BEHIND THE UK'S MOST NORTHERLY PRIDE

The spirit of Shetland would be it's uniqueness and its diversity in so many different ways...

Learn about the incredible story of Kerrie Meyer, founding member of Shetland LGBTQ and founder of Shetland Pride, a celebration of the isles' LGBTQ+ community. The 1st National & International Shetland Pride Festival was held on the 2nd July 2022 in Lerwick and met with overwhelming support from the community. The festival continues to go from strength to strength, with the 2nd Shetland Pride Festival set for the 1st July. Listen to the story of the 'UK's Most Northerly Pride' here.

Image provided by Kerrie Meyer

EXPLORE A PERSONAL HISTORY OF SHETLAND

What more can I say...the greatest gift in this life is peace of mind. There's no other gift in this life that can compare than peace of mind. Peace of mind and happy memories.

In another edition of 'In Focus', hear Jean Keith, Eunice Williamson and Magnie Williamson as they recount fascinating memories of Shetland during the Second World War, home life in the crofting communities of Shetland and fond tales of Sundays and days out in Lerwick complete with singing sailors and herring girls, dancing and fantastic fish and chips. Discover their wonderful stories here.

Jean Keith, Eunice Williamson and Magnie Williamson
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PRESERVING THE ART OF ORKNEY STORYTELLING

...more than any time since I've been alive, we need people who have this wisdom of the land and sea. We need people who have this knowledge to pass it on.

Listen here to sensational storyteller Lynn Barbour as she talks about the kindling of her fascination with Orcadian customs and storytelling in Stromness, the story of one Irish shepherd's encounter with a Seanchaidh, and the importance of seeking the truth behind the legends to keep Orkney's strong oral storytelling tradition alive at the Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre.

Lynn Barbour
Image provided by Smartify

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

SHARE YOUR STORIES OF THE INCREDIBLE WOMEN OF THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS

Stories are at the heart of what we do as a project and we are always looking to learn more about what the Highlands and Islands means to people who live, work, and visit here. The stories highlighted here represent just a few of the stories of the incredible women of the Highlands and Islands. We would love to know, are there any women from the past or present of the Highlands and Islands who represent the 'spirit' of the region for you? Tell us below, we can't wait to hear from you!

Click the link to share your thoughts through our online story portal.