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Your island, my island, and our shared story

In the last week of June, Harris welcomed transnational youth exchange participants from Barbados. The exchange is part of the Shared Island Stories project.




The 5-year research project which focuses on sustainable development and community heritage, is managed by the University of St Andrews and the youth exchange is facilitated by the University’s School of Art History in collaboration with the West Harris Trust, the Barbados Museum & Historical Society (BMHS), and Barbados Community College (BCC).

The cooperation of the young people from Caribbean and Hebridean communities involves both online and in-person workshops. According to Jamie Allan Brown, St Andrews’s Research Fellow, the aim is to develop a future toolkit resource for schools and groups. “A strong emphasis has been placed on the intergenerational transmission of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, especially as it relates to local plants and wildlife, language and place names, and living off the land and sea, with a focus on community-led initiatives.”

Kaye Hall, Education and Outreach Officer (BMHS), reflected on the visit: “The landscapes in places have been very familiar just like our Scotland district back home, and people have been wonderfully welcoming and friendly, especially our exchange hosts. It’s also been great sharing stories from our separate countries which are fundamentally the same although sometimes quite diverse.”

Michelle Hinkson-Cox, Theatre Arts Coordinator (BCC) added: “Scotland is home. With our shared histories, shared present experiences, and my own ancestral roots, I've found a deep, spiritual connection here that exceeded all of my expectations.”

The programme of the youth exchange week was filled with community groups meetings, visits to historic sites, and explorations of local nature.

“Overall, the exchange was an eye-opener. It highlighted how diverse cultures can share common goals and solutions for tackling climate change,” said Janiea Marshall, a student of Meteorology and Earth Science at BCC. “The experience was super inspiring and made me even more committed to protecting our planet and its unique cultures.”

 

You can follow the Shared Island Stories project on their Facebook page.

 

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