History professor and author Marjory Harper will be giving a talk on emigration on Friday night (26th October) – an event which has been made possible by sponsorship from community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust.
Professor Harper of Aberdeen University will speak on the subject of ‘Voices from the Diaspora: Recollections of Scottish emigrants in the Twentieth Century’.
For the talk, Professor Harper will be drawing on her collection of around 100 interviews, with a particular focus on those who left the Outer Hebrides.
The talk has been organised by Comann Eachdraidh an Rubha, in partnership with Point and Sandwick Trust, and will be taking place in Ionad Stoodie at Seaview on Point at 7.30pm.
The talk is free to attend, although donations to the Comann Eachdraidh will be very welcome, and refreshments will be served afterwards.
Professor Harper has published a number of books on the subject of emigration from Scotland and Friday’s talk will be based on her most recent book, ‘Testimonies of Transition: Voices from the Scottish Diaspora’, published this year.
For that book she conducted more than 100 interviews, over a 10 to 15-year period, with people who have emigrated from Scotland, including some who returned.
She said: “Interviewees from the Hebrides feature prominently in the collection, and I’ll be making use of several clips from conversations with them, including the Murray family from Shader, whose emigration embraced both Canada and New Zealand, and straddled the period from the 1920s to the 1980s.
"The story of emigration is primarily a story about people, through whose stories we can identify more general recurring themes in motives and experiences. The Hebridean story is particularly interesting because of the long legacy of overseas movement, and the tension between negative and positive triggers for leaving.”
Her previous publications include ‘Scotland No More? The Scots who left Scotland in the 20th Century’, ‘Migration and Empire’, ‘Emigration from Scotland Between the Wars’ and ’Adventurers and Exiles’.
The talk is the result of a conversation between Church of Scotland minister Hugh Stewart and Donald John MacSween, General Manager of Point and Sandwick Trust. The initial suggestion was Rev Stewart’s but the talk was arranged by the Comann Eachdraidh and funded by Point and Sandwick Trust.
Rev Hugh Stewart, minister for Lochs in Bernera with Uig, said: “It is wonderful to have Professor Harper, a world authority on the Scottish Diaspora, launching her latest book in Ionad Stoodie, Point this Friday night which draws on her collection of around 100 interviews, including some with those who left Point over 100 years ago to seek a better life.”
Catriona Dunn, Secretary of Comann Eachdraidh an Rubha said it should be a fascinating evening. “It was brought to our attention by Donald John and we were happy to work with Point and Sandwick Trust to put on this lecture. It’s a joint venture between Point and Sandwick Trust and the Comann Eachdraidh.
“We think it will be a very interesting talk and most families in the area probably had relatives that emigrated. I’m looking forward to it very much. Professor Harper is a highly thought-of expert in this field and we’re looking forward to meeting her.”
The Comann Eachdraidh aims to put on at least one public talk or lecture every year and the last one was in March and delivered by Dr Ali Whiteford.
Pictures show Professor Marjory Harper and The Emigrant monument, in Halifax, Nova Scotia – photographed by Marjory herself