What a super day I had on Friday 19th February, when Duff House, the property owned by Historic Environmental Scotland in Banff, Aberdeenshire, truly became Oor Hoose.
This was the culmination of an Education Scotland partnership project with Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council. Learners in Dr Fairbairn’s Scots Language Award class from Banff Academy took over Duff House for the afternoon. They hosted a sharing event for invited guests to see the work they have been doing in Scots language, particularly for the Oor Hoose project.
It has involved learners from Banff Academy Scots Language Award class choosing and researching an object from Duff House and then preparing a response to it involving Scots, specifically the local dialect, Doric. It was designed to encourage learners to engage with the House and use Scots for a purpose. Last year’s pilot saw the production of mosaics in conjunction with a local artist. This year, products include quizzes, presentations and signs.
I was fair chuffed tae see as mony lairners enjoyin an engagin wi Scots throue iss project. The bairns wis a credit tae themsels, their fowk and the skweel.
We were piped into the impressive building by one of Banff Academy’s pipe band members, fresh from wowing delegates at the Aberdeen Learning Festival earlier in the week.
The afternoon began with a few words from Sylvie Clarke of Historic Environment Scotland, who has supported the project throughout. We then heard from Buildings Manager Mr G Curran about how the project had caught the imaginations of staff at the property – even resulting in some dispute about whose Doric is purer – fowk fae Banff or fowk fae Buckie! Dr Faribarin then gave a summary of the kind of work his bairns have been doing.
It was then time for the learners to introduce themselves and their work, before inviting us to tour the house, solving puzzles and answering quiz questions in Scots. They helped by standing next to their chosen objects and engaging knowledgably with visitors who had questions. Everybody had a super time, with some parents and friends admitting that this was the first time they had been inside the house in many years, if ever. All were impressed by the knowledge, confidence and Scots skills displayed by the group.
We rounded off a super afternoon with refreshments: local tattie crisps, Scottish chocolate treats and our national soft drink – ale in this area, juice to some and ginger to others. And a treat for those who had stayed until the very end (most of the adults who were not troubled by having school buses to catch) – some folk music from our resident piper Robert Legge and Dr Fairbairn on guitar.
Duff Hoose really felt like Oor Hoose that afternoon. And the great news for the future is that HES interpretations team is going to adopt the materials produced by the bairns: there will be Doric for visitors to the property for years to come.
For more information about Duff Hoose visit their website.
If you would be interested in taking part in an Oor Hoose project in your local area, contact Diane.Anderson@edcuationscotland.gsi.gov.uk