A support programme for Gaelic arts

In recent years Glasgow Life has played an important role in creating and developing work for diverse artists interested in experimental approaches to Gaelic artforms. The incubator programme GUIR!, which was started in 2018, incorporates a collaborative and learning model to develop new Gaelic work across all disciplines

Every year we invite artists to submit proposals to participate in the scheme. This year,'s participating artists are Babs NicGriogair, Josie Duncan, Cashlin NicCoinnich and Màiri Nicillemhaoil

To read about the GUIR 2024 artists, scroll further down this page 

A typical Glasgow sandstone tenement is pictured. The wall displays a mural of a robin, and two bikes lean against a fence in front of it

GUIR Sharing, Tramway, Thursday 30 May

Join us for a free evening of new writing, songs, performance, sound installation and live audio visuals as our four GUIR! artists present their early-stage project ideas to an audience for the first time


Josie Duncan 

A singer who aims to bring diversity into Gaelic songwriting        

The Gaelic language has a rich tradition of storytelling and expression, and as a queer artist, Josie aims to contribute to this tradition by creating new Gaelic songs that reflect her experiences and journey as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. They celebrate diversity, inclusion, and the unique intersection of queer identity and Gaelic culture. After gigs, Josie has been approached with many stories showing huge strength and resilience, and she wants to explore the ‘double life’ that she has heard people speak about, when they feel that being a Gael and being a queer person are conflicting identities.

Màiri Macillemhaoil - A Togail Fianais (Bearing Witness)

Singer and writer bearing witness for Gaels in the modern age

Gaelic song has been used as a form of protest for centuries, raising awareness of injustice and subjugation of the Gaels. How is the cultural knowledge in these songs relevant to the climate emergency? Mairi will present new songs exploring other minority languages, melodies and a wealth of old and new poetry, to continue the tradition of bearing witness and evidencing the current context for Gaels.

Caitlin MacKenzie (Cashlin Ross NicCoinnich)

A visual artist developing audio-visual work with archive footage, field recordings and live music

Caitlin is developing an experimental audio-visual live set using personal and archival footage, field recordings, puirt-a-beul (mouth music) and live music; she will draw inspiration from the melodies of bird song on the whistle and flute, and in her singing.

Exploring the relationship between folklore and ecology, and inspired by archival recordings of her great-grandfather on the subject of ‘health wells’, Caitlin is investigating the health spring connected to Loch Shianta and its local environment on the Isle of Skye, paying particular attention to the traditional medicinal usages of local plants. She is also exploring how Gaels in Glasgow,past and present, have responded, adapted to and influenced the city.

Babs Nic Griogair - Fòn Dhachaigh! (Phone home!)

(supported by Susannah Stark)

Writer/performer inspired by phone calls home to explore connection and disconnection, and maintaining their links with Gaelic

Using the recorded phone conversations they have with their mother each Sunday, Babs Nic Griogair has weaved the themes of maintaining connections with Gaelic, and ageing parents, into an interactive soundscape, installation and suite of poems. The work highlights themes of connection and disconnection; urban diaspora and rural roots; mothers and daughters, fragility, resilience, mortality and vitality.

As a non-binary gay artist, they find certain topics may be taboo in some Gaelic spaces. The phone call home is not two-way, and can be like listening to a soliloquy; listening intently but feeling unheard. How truthful are we in expressing our innermost feelings to a parent? Babs is looking at developing a phone box installation which can act as a confessional space, or a place for the words we wished we’d said.

More about GUIR!

GUIR! is an opportunity to research and develop Gaelic Art practices and forms in the early stages of project development. Based on the equivalent of a 3-week full time residency or a 6-week part-time period, with a Gaelic Cultural immersion learning programme, it is an exciting opportunity to develop new, challenging and embryonic ideas to the next stage of development.

GUIR! is delivered by Glasgow Life and part of the Gaelic Arts Strategy for Glasgow City Council’s Gaelic Language Plan. GUIR works in partnership with The National Theatre of Scotland, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Tramway. GUIR! is funded with support from Bòrd na Gaidhlig.


Images from top
Caitlin MacKenzie (Cashlin Ross NicCoinnich) performs at a live event, photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of Babs Nic Griogair