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TITLE
What did you speak about at Scotland's Global Impact? - Margaret Bennett
EXTERNAL ID
AB_SGI_02_MARGARET_BENNETT_Q_03
PLACENAME
Inverness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
Margaret Bennett
SOURCE
Am Baile
ASSET ID
41013
KEYWORDS
conferences
emigration
lecturers
audio
audios
speakabout

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As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad.

Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Margaret Bennett answers the question:

'Could you give a brief summary of what you spoke about at the conference?'

'I've always been aware that the book - I was talking about 'singing the history'. That's maybe just a very, what I'd just sum up in a title what is was, but, I've always been aware that the books of the time, written about emigration, are always, are often from the point of view of an outsider, and they tell us the cleaned up version of the story, or the story without the emotion. You don't really read of the anguish, the heartache, the hope, the fear, the disappointment, the despair, and all of these emotions that people must have felt. And the reality, or even the seasickness, you know, and there's very, very little about that.

But if you ask the people themselves whose families emigrated, somehow it's those aspects that get handed down through the generations. It's not necessarily the stories of injustice, and, and cruelty, oddly enough. It's not the things that you read in the, say, the Patrick Sellar reports, or, or the, the factor's diary, or the, let's say, the one that I looked at in Lewis - Mackenzie, who was the factor for Matheson - there's some horrendous stuff there - nothing's mentioned of that, but there's a lot of other things they talk. I wanted to, to just give voice to some of the, their experiences, but also to their songs. I mean, it was quite difficult for me to choose a subject because there's so much, but the aspects that come up in song, I think I wanted to put across is, it's not so much the historical truth of the song, it's the emotional truth, that stays with the people. So, whether there were two hundred on the boat, and a passenger list, or whether there was two hundred and fifty, and no, and a passenger list, or whether the boat was called this, or the boat called that, it's the experience of those people on it. And certainly, I think another, another story comes through; another, another thread is woven through to inform, you know, this great tapestry of emigration history and tradition.'


BIOGRAPHY

Dr Margaret Bennett was brought up in the Isles of Skye, Lewis and Shetland. She emigrated to Canada in 1967 as a post-graduate student in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 1975 she was Folklorist with The Museum of Civilization's Quebec-Hebridean Project, returning to Scotland in 1976. From 1984 she lectured at the University of Edinburgh, recording oral history and traditions of Scots at home and abroad.

Now part-time at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, her books include 'Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave' (1992) and two prize-winning studies on emigrant traditions, 'The Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland' (1989) and 'Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec' (1999).

She features on several CD recordings, has sung at international festivals and has contributed to several theatre productions. In 1998 she received the Master Music Maker Award in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching, and in 2003, the Celtic Women International award for 'lifelong service to Scottish Culture'. For Homecoming Scotland 2009 she has published a book with double-CD of songs spanning three centuries, 'Dìleab Ailean-A Newfoundland Homecoming Cèilidh' (Grace Note Publications).

Image: Duncan MacNab

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What did you speak about at Scotland's Global Impact? - Margaret Bennett

INVERNESS: Inverness and Bona

2000s

conferences; emigration; lecturers; audio; audios; speakabout;

Am Baile

Scotland's Global Impact

As part of Homecoming Scotland 2009, a three-day international conference - Scotland's Global Impact - was held at Eden Court theatre, Inverness from 22-24 October. Prominent academics, historians and other experts came together to provoke healthy discussion on the history of migration and the influence of Scots abroad. <br /> <br /> Am Baile interviewed several of the speakers during the conference. In this audio extract, Dr Margaret Bennett answers the question:<br /> <br /> 'Could you give a brief summary of what you spoke about at the conference?' <br /> <br /> 'I've always been aware that the book - I was talking about 'singing the history'. That's maybe just a very, what I'd just sum up in a title what is was, but, I've always been aware that the books of the time, written about emigration, are always, are often from the point of view of an outsider, and they tell us the cleaned up version of the story, or the story without the emotion. You don't really read of the anguish, the heartache, the hope, the fear, the disappointment, the despair, and all of these emotions that people must have felt. And the reality, or even the seasickness, you know, and there's very, very little about that. <br /> <br /> But if you ask the people themselves whose families emigrated, somehow it's those aspects that get handed down through the generations. It's not necessarily the stories of injustice, and, and cruelty, oddly enough. It's not the things that you read in the, say, the Patrick Sellar reports, or, or the, the factor's diary, or the, let's say, the one that I looked at in Lewis - Mackenzie, who was the factor for Matheson - there's some horrendous stuff there - nothing's mentioned of that, but there's a lot of other things they talk. I wanted to, to just give voice to some of the, their experiences, but also to their songs. I mean, it was quite difficult for me to choose a subject because there's so much, but the aspects that come up in song, I think I wanted to put across is, it's not so much the historical truth of the song, it's the emotional truth, that stays with the people. So, whether there were two hundred on the boat, and a passenger list, or whether there was two hundred and fifty, and no, and a passenger list, or whether the boat was called this, or the boat called that, it's the experience of those people on it. And certainly, I think another, another story comes through; another, another thread is woven through to inform, you know, this great tapestry of emigration history and tradition.'<br /> <br /> <br /> BIOGRAPHY<br /> <br /> Dr Margaret Bennett was brought up in the Isles of Skye, Lewis and Shetland. She emigrated to Canada in 1967 as a post-graduate student in Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In 1975 she was Folklorist with The Museum of Civilization's Quebec-Hebridean Project, returning to Scotland in 1976. From 1984 she lectured at the University of Edinburgh, recording oral history and traditions of Scots at home and abroad. <br /> <br /> Now part-time at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, her books include 'Scottish Customs from the Cradle to the Grave' (1992) and two prize-winning studies on emigrant traditions, 'The Last Stronghold: Scottish Gaelic Traditions in Newfoundland' (1989) and 'Oatmeal and the Catechism: Scottish Gaelic Settlers in Quebec' (1999). <br /> <br /> She features on several CD recordings, has sung at international festivals and has contributed to several theatre productions. In 1998 she received the Master Music Maker Award in celebration of a lifetime of musicianship and teaching, and in 2003, the Celtic Women International award for 'lifelong service to Scottish Culture'. For Homecoming Scotland 2009 she has published a book with double-CD of songs spanning three centuries, 'Dìleab Ailean-A Newfoundland Homecoming Cèilidh' (Grace Note Publications).<br /> <br /> Image: Duncan MacNab