MA Final Project
Through Sian Yeshes ‘Felt not Telt’ she would like to create works which communicate the love the people of Eskdale have for Langholm Common Riding. Developing a series of pieces of work based around a short form documentary with further content creating pieces of work for social release. This with be made possible by; creating small trailers, using interview quotes, photography and archive material, to create individually formatted pieces for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
The tradition of holding a Common Riding is a significantly important part of the cultural heritage in the Scottish Borders. With Berwick-upon Tweed, Hawick, Selkirk, Langholm, Jedburgh, Coldstream, West Linton, Lanark, Lauder, Edinburgh, Melrose, Musselburgh, Galashiels, Duns, and Peebles all holding individual Common Ridings with their own unique traditions. Langholm’s Common Riding began in 1759 as a settlement of a legal dispute which upheld that the Langholm people had certain common rights within the towns land boundaries. Thereafter, each year these boundaries were to be maintained and remarked by locals. This has developed into a traditional celebration which takes place ‘annually on the last Friday of July’. The event will not be taking place in 2020 due to Covid-19, it is a first since its inception. Given this absence and the current constraints on social gatherings Sian Yeshe wished to explore the communities relationship with this event and explore the local phrase that is used to describe the Common Riding ‘Felt not Telt’ by following a non-dietetic approach to telling the story of Common Riding 2020.
Common Riding marks an important part of Borders Scottish culture, it enables its preservation. The definition of culture is “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” (Simpson, 2020). This collective of local intellectual achievement has been passed down through generations with the preservation of Common Riding Traditions throughout the region. Traditional food is prepared, and special events designated for selective guests to taste bannock bread made from traditional recipes, drink wiskey off spades, recite poerty, gather intergenerationally and listen to music. Local and regional song and prose are taught throughout the school system. Common Riding emblems are created in family homes who have passed their skills down from generation to generation. Many young men have the sole the dream of becoming an elected Cornet before their bachelor years are over.
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