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Smuaintean Neach-Ealain Traidiseanta Ghàidhlig

Ro-Ràdh/Introduction- The Musings of a Gaelic Traditional Arts Deliverer/ Smuaintean Neach-Ealain Traidiseanta Ghàidhlig

Fiona J McKenzie Estonia

Maarika Toomel and Fiona J McKenize

This trip was organised and funded by:

Arch Network, a Scottish Non Government Organisation promoting learning and development in natural and cultural heritage between Scotland and other European countries […]
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Another unique selling point for this area of Slovakia is the collection of unrepeatable wooden churches and belfries (“simplicity and truth”) dotted around the rural villages, on a recognised well-signed car trail. These Carpathian wooden pearls, as the guidebook puts it, a complex of 27 churches, are a National Cultural Monument, with plans to nominate them for UNESCO World Heritage Status […]

Slovakia’s Tourism by Teresa Kewell

Ruthenian Folk Festival at Svidnik Open Air Museum

I really got the impression that the folk dancing culture is alive and well in Slovakia and that it doesn’t need to entice tourists as its main priority is its own posterity. […]
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Erin Farley Slovakia Report

Death Valley

In direct contrast to the futuristic nature of Warhol’s art, the next item on Saturday’s agenda was a recreation of traditional customs and crafts at Svidnik Ethnographic Museum, an event which formed part of the Ruthenian Folk Festival. Using the vernacular buildings of the museum as their setting, a group of people dressed in traditional costume performed a year’s worth of seasonal traditions, including religious ceremonies, interspersed with demonstrations of crafts such as spinning and plenty of traditional music. This culminated in an Easter ceremony in one of Slovakia’s famous wooden churches (traditionally made without nails, in honour of Jesus’ crucifixion.) It was striking how much this felt like an ‘actual’ religious ceremony, despite being conducted at a different time of year. The event was utterly unlike anything I have ever encountered in Scotland, and was immediately engaging and very enjoyable. […]
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Cara Jones’ Turkey Report

Gobekli Tepe 12000 years old

This exchange was invaluable to my work in Scotland, for not only did it clearly demonstrate the importance of maintaining the cultural heritage (and with that the cultural identity) of local residents, it reaffirmed to me the importance of engaging with visitors and the local community to safeguard and preserve archaeological sites. I believe in Scotland we almost take for granted that tourists come here, sometimes too solely to see heritage sites (for example Orkney but also evocative places such as Bannockburn). Yet to maintain sustainable tourism, regions need to have the required infrastructure in place (such as hotels and tour guides) to accommodate visitors – something which we also take for granted in Scotland, but became very clear throughout the exchange. […]
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Eve Haddow’s Bulgaria Report

Painting Ivy leaves in Tryavna

The passion of Galina Boneva who gave us a guided tour of the museum was infectious. I enjoyed their learning area where children could interact and learn about the jokes associated with Gabrovo in a creative and colourful way without resorting to slick looking interactives. I began thinking about the culture of humour associated with mining. We have a number of cartoons in our collections and I would like to do my own exhibition of humour. The house of Humour has a comments box where visitors are invited to post their own favourite jokes and observations and I think incorporating that into my exhibition would be a good way to engage our visitors. […]
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Siân Loftus’s Iceland Report


“The excellent programme combined lectures and open discussion on the legislative, financial and philosophical aspects of building conservation with practical, hands-on experience. There were opportunities to see the application of a variety of approaches to building conservation and repair with visits to a number of buildings/sites. These visits also afforded the opportunity to see first-hand the tourism value of the sites and the impact of visitors on the sites….” […]
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Mark Watson’s Romania Report 2012


“The way of life we saw that week is somehow familiar yet very different to our own. So my understanding of the empty and Scottish landscape is immeasurably improved by my visit to a place where village life has continuity. I hesitate to say I would prefer to permanently live there, but I think Transylvania […]
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Fornverkaskolinn, Iceland by Fiona Jackson


I found it particularly useful and felt very privileged to take part in this initiative as a community-based participant, because I was able to learn so much from the many professionals in the heritage and tourism sectors. In future programmes, perhaps it would be worthwhile encouraging the participation of third sector participants alongside the different professionals in order to provide a range of diverse perspectives and to encourage the transfer of knowledge and networking between the various sectors – perhaps a partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations could be developed? There will never be a ‘conclusion’ to my Iceland CHIST visit, just a pause for thought and reflection, then new growth and development. Many thanks to the funders and organisers for such a wonderful opportunity! […]
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Estonia by Joanne Kaar

3. embroidery

Within the first few minutes of meeting Maarika, it was clear we were in for some fun and not a ‘dry’ heritage tour!! […]
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