Here’s a nice Blog by Mora Morrison, who’s been helping the project this week. Thanks for your help Mora!
For as long as I can remember Jura has been a home to my family. After buying our cottage in Keils in 1986 we have enjoyed many good times here so, after seeing an advertisment for Jura Lives in Jura Jottings, I decided to volunteer for a week as a way of giving something back to the island, as well as gaining experience of interviews.
In my university course, International developement and sociology, I find discussion is dominated by global culture, religion and language and as a result I feel like it is tempting to learn about other cultures than your own. One evening I went with Jane to the Gaelic college on Islay to hear about a national project, Tobar an Dualchais and to share with them our progress. Listening to discussion on how best to preserve and present recordings the importance of such projects really struck me. As well as a way of celebrating communities, they can tie down Scottish heritage and act as an anchor during a rapid tide of globalisation. They can be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike and highlight those things that make Scotland Scotland.
‘Jura Lives’ is committed to helping two community groups on the island as part of their funding agreement, one of which will be the church. There is a vintage photo exhibition in the church which shows how the island, and its inhabitants, have changed over the years. The tours of the island with a local guide on the Jura Bus stop at this exhibition, so it was decided that we should make a short sound installation to accompany the images. I was assigned the job of listening through some of the recordings from the comprehensive archive to pull out sounds that encapsulate the general atmosphere of the photos as you journey through the times. These include the crackling of fire, chatter, singing, peat digging, bag pipes, cattle and the soothing sounds of the sea. As much as the island has changed , or may change, to me these sounds collectively represent the island’s heartbeat, embodying all aspects of Jura; its people, buildings, animals, wildlife, work, celebrations, events, even weather.The recordings capture a mood, a way of thinking, and the background sounds of the moment they are recorded, allowing a future listener to really be back in that moment.
Working with this project has offered a wonderful insight into Jura, into how things have changed and the hopes for the future and, as a result, I come away not only with new skills but an enriched understanding of what makes this island so special.