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Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Celtic & Scottish Studies Blog

Traditional arts, languages and culture in Scotland

Celebrating Scottish Traveller Culture – 26th April

Join us for an afternoon celebrating the culture, heritage and history of Scotland’s Traveller communities. The afternoon’s celebration includes live performances from community members Jess Smith, Joss Cameron and Sam Donaldson.

Wednesday 26th April 2023, 2pm

Project Room (1.06), 50 George Square

This event is hosted by Robert Fell, SGSAH Postdoctoral Fellow in Celtic and Scottish Studies. (No booking is required.)

Now an officially recognised ethnic minority, Scotland’s Traveller communities are made up of many different groups who have been known by a variety of names over the past millennium. Despite the different labels used to identify them, these diverse communities share cultural characteristics that were, historically at least, based on nomadic lifestyles and working practices: the communities therefore share a distinctive cultural identity that reflects the historical development of their communities. Scotland’s Traveller communities also share long, rich and varied traditions of song, storytelling, poetry and much more. Many recordings of the communities’ voices from the past can be found in The School of Scottish Studies Archives and online through the Tobar an Dualchais / Kist o Riches resource.

Poster for the event showing images of the three presenters Jess Smith in a forest smiling, Joss Cameron wearing a red top and smiling, and Sam Donaldson wearing a khaki jacket and looking sideways at the camera

About the Artists

Jess Smith

Jess is an author and storyteller seeped in the tradition of her Traveller culture. Jess spent her childhood nights at campfires listening to the old tales of the Travelling people so that they should never die but live on as part of Scotland’s oldest culture. She raises cultural awareness through storytelling at schools throughout Scotland, and speaks at libraries, prisons, universities, clubs and church groups. Find out more about Jess on her website.

Joss Cameron

Joss Cameron is a Scottish folk singer born in Edinburgh with family links to the Travelling tradition. Joss has a long professional career behind her, starting off her career as a nightclub singer in 1988 in the Costa del Sol and as a soloist with the Gibraltar Choral Society. She initially studied classical music, became a founding member of the band ‘SHIANFOLK’, and then as soloist sings traditional ballads, many of the songs from the Northeast of Scotland. She also plays the violin and Highland Bagpipes and is a professional artist. Find out more about Joss on her website.

Sam Donaldson

Sam Donaldson is a Scottish Traveller activist, poet and filmmaker from Dunfermline, Fife. Sam is passionate on conserving the culture of Travellers in Scotland, including the Traveller language, Cant, and has committed herself to raising awareness of Traveller issues and rights. Sam’s activism has seen her champion various causes, including presenting findings on Traveller youth at Westminster, and being involved in various protests and educational events . Sam is the holder of two awards and is currently studying towards a BA in Media and Communication.




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