Filmmaker Alastair Cole and anthropologist Magnus Course in conversation around the questions posed by their award-winning short film Muir ar n-Athreaichean (Our Fathers’ Sea). The film’s portrayal of the intimate relationship between the Scottish Gaelic language and fishing in the Outer Hebrides brings the complex politics of both language and environment to the fore. Given the current post-Brexit crisis surrounding Scotland’s fishing industry, we ask how a space for the deeply-rooted cultural and linguistic values tied to fishing might be maintained. Our conversation will touch upon, not only the relationship of language, culture, and environment at the film’s heart, but also about the use of ethnographic film as an intervention in policy debates.
Filmed in South Uist, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, this short documentary film explores the cultural and linguistic value of fishing through the experiences and perspectives of inshore fishermen, highlighting the intrinsic links between environmental sustainability, the ongoing use of the Gaelic language and fishing industries.
The film was produced in association with the University of Edinburgh, Newcastle University and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) The film is screening at festivals internationally and has been broadcast on BBC Alba. It was also awarded the Film G 2018 Award – Film Dùthchais as Fheàrr category. The film is an initial output of a wider ESRC funded research project that will also see the production of feature-length documentary.