Wednesday 28 October 2020

Fletcher Lecture 2020 with Professor Rob Dunbar

We are delighted to invite members, friends and new faces to this engaging lecture exploring Scottish-Canadian Gaelic connections that will be presented by Professor Rob Dunbar of the University of Edinburgh.  

John Lorne Campbell of Canna (1906-1996) was one of the greatest folklorists and Gaelic scholars of the twentieth century.  In the early spring of 1932 Campbell took advantage of being in the United States to visit Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. One of the first of the new world Gaels he met was Jonathan G. MacKinnon (1869-1944), who edited the longest running Gaelic newspaper that has ever existed, Mac-Talla (‘Echo’), between 1892 and 1904 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. In 1937 Campbell returned to Canada to record Gaelic material, specifically to record material that the emigrants had brought with them from Scotland and that was remembered by their descendants. He also recorded MacKinnon. These were amongst the first sound recordings of Gaelic material in Canada. 

 

This photograph was taken in the 1930s, and shows the two subjects of the talk. The older man in the car is Jonathan G MacKinnon, and the younger man, standing, drinking what appears to be a Coca-Cola, is John Lorne Campbell. Kindly provided by Canna House - take a virtual tour of the gardens

 

Professor Robert Dunbar 


Professor Robert Dunbar is Professor of Celtic at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include the Gaelic diaspora, particularly Gaelic in Canada, eighteenth and nineteenth century Gaelic literature, Gaelic oral tradition, and language policy and planning for Gaelic and other minoritised languages. A native of Canada and a lawyer by training, he received his PhD in Celtic from Edinburgh. He has been a strong advocate for the rights of Gaelic speakers, having played an important role in the creation of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005. He has also frequently advised international organisations such as the Council of Europe, as well as national and sub-national assemblies such as the Welsh Parliament, on language law, language policy, and the protection of minorities. 

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