Scottish Travellers, an indigenous and traditionally nomadic people, have been credited with the guardianship of one of the richest oral cultures in Europe. Through creative and educative lore, skilled narrative, and musicianship, Traveller traditions transmit a vivid experiential knowledge of localised history, places, and people, expressing a distinct ethnicity that is deeply immersed in the Scottish context. The largely misrepresentative voice of dominant ideology, mirrored in European discourse, has made hostility and institutional racism a daily reality, leading many Travellers to conceal their identity from outsiders. The creation of a cultural climate in which diversity within ethnic and indigenous groups is viewed as an asset or opportunity for growth, begins with the enablement of understanding at a community level. The Travellers Project works in conjunction with members of the Travelling community to challenge negative misrepresentations. Through direct fieldwork, recording, and performance, the project aims to raise public awareness of the unique contribution Travellers make to Scottish culture and society. This paper will discuss the role of prominent Traveller tradition bearers, in communicating the relevance and value of their cultural inheritance to the settled community. This reflects the powerful potential of folkloric contexts to create transformative spaces through which divisive boundaries between ‘self’ and ‘other’ may be renegotiated to enrich and expand our worldview.
|Keywords:||Scottish Travellers, Gypsy/Travellers, Oral Traditions, Identity, Belonging, Ethnicity, Worldview, Indigenous Peoples, Creativity|
PhD Research Student, The Elphinstone Institute, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK
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