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Shetlink: Connecting Shetland

Shetland's Intangible Cultural Heritage


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Hello,

 

I am working on my masters project looking at intangible cultural heritage in Shetland. UNESCO define intangible cultural heritage as "the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity."
 

Below are a list of areas that are included:

  • oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;
  • performing arts;
  • social practices, rituals and festive events;
  • knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
  • traditional craftsmanship

 

So what things can you think of that would fall into the above categories? I want to try and make my project as wide ranging as possible to show what a rich and diverse place Shetland is!

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I think Shetland is an excellent candidate for your project!

 

A few of the top of my head;

  • Oral traditions - The various dialects across Shetland are an obvious trove of cultural uniqueness, lots of information online on this topic.
  • Performing arts - The fiddle I suppose? There will be plenty of shetland-specific songs as well. Sure there is more. 
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events - The various Up Helly Aas is the obvious one but there are also plenty of others such as regattas, areas still holding Christmas/New Year to the Julian calendar, the Folk Festival etc etc.
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe - The maritime/fishing traditions which are still very much a part of the islands, peat casting.
  • Traditional craftmanship - Obvious one being Fair Isle knitwear but sure there are many more.

I probably have not highlighted anything you haven't thought of already but I am sure there are plenty more knowledgeable folk than me who can provide you with information. 

Good luck with your project!

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Hi Whalsa, thanks for the response. I hadn't thought of the different dialects across Shetland so thanks for that! I have managed to attend some part of 7 Up Helly Aas this year and got some people lined up for interviews which will be good.

 

Thanks Ghostrider I will have a trawl through facebook and see what I can find.

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Hi Whalsa, thanks for the response. I hadn't thought of the different dialects across Shetland so thanks for that! I have managed to attend some part of 7 Up Helly Aas this year and got some people lined up for interviews which will be good.

 

Thanks Ghostrider I will have a trawl through facebook and see what I can find.

No problem!

 

Have you seen this; https://www.shetlanddialect.org.uk/dialect-map-of-shetland

 

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Where are you doing your research?

 

I'm researching in the Shetland Museum Archives, which I found to be absolutely top drawer. No restrictions, except no pens -- only pencils allowed when using their materials.

 

Archivists are uniformly knowledgeable, accessible and helpful.

 

I'm venturing into Scolloway Museum Archives when they open in April. Stay tuned.

 

Good luck!

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Hi Whalsa, yes I had seen the dialect map but it has been awhile so thank you for that!

 

ETLerwick I have started making a list of things to look at/ listen to in the archives just need to find the time to get in as I am working full time too. My partners family have a lot of Shetland books and magazines that I have been looking at and I have just been speaking to folk about it in passing as well. I agree that the archivists have always been very helpful when I have been in. What is it that you are researching yourself?

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