The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) has launched the Gaelic Representation Project to enhance the voice of Gaelic-speaking and Gaelic-learning students across the University of the Highlands and Islands.
With funding awarded by Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Gaelic Representation Project will develop structures for Gaelic representation to support HISA’s ambition to become a truly bilingual organisation. It will aim to allow Gaelic-speakers and learners to fully engage with their students’ association in Gaelic should they wish to.
This will ensure a strong voice and widened opportunities for all Gaelic-speakers and learners no matter where or what they study in the Highlands and Islands, and use the language as part of everyday life at college, at home and in the community.
Commenting on the launch of the project, HISA Vice President for Higher Education, Andrew Bowie, said: "I am thrilled that we are launching this project. Widening representation for all our students has always been one of my top priorities this year, and I am delighted that our Gaelic speakers will be able to benefit from this project as we work with them to understand their unique experiences as students.
“I'm really optimistic that this project will not only have some significant benefits for our students who study or speak Gaelic, but for Gaelic culture across the Highlands and Islands as a whole – it’s important that HISA plays its role in the development and resurgence of Gaelic. I'm very proud that HISA and the Gaelic students of the Highlands and Islands will be leading the way with this ground breaking project.”
Professor Neil Simco, Vice-Principal (Research and Impact) of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Chair of the Gaelic Representation Project board, said: “The Highlands and Islands Students’ Association Gaelic Representation Project is a highly significant development in the University of the Highlands and Islands. Linking to all that is being achieved through the University’s ambitious Gaelic Language Plan, it will further ensure that the language has increasing visibility and use in HISA’s activities.”
Third year Sabhal Mòr Ostaig student, Anna Smith, said: “I’m so glad to hear that HISA are widening their use of Gàidhlig. Gàidhlig has been an integral part of my time at university, and in my life in general. As a student at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, it’s a natural and easy thing to speak Gàidhlig everywhere I go. If I wasn’t in a place where this was so easy I would definitely miss Gàidhlig and I would be so happy to have more opportunities to speak it and meet other Gàidhlig speakers.”