Media Release: Renowned international WWI researcher to present local talks as part of the Gairm nan Gàidheal | Call of the Gael project

Dominiek Dendooven low res

A RENOWNED international researcher based at the award-winning In Flanders Fields Museum is to present a series of community talks in the Outer Hebrides as part of a project commemorating the Great War.

Drs Dominiek Dendooven, who is based at the museum at Ypres in Belgium, will travel to Scotland for the lectures next week.

The talks are part of the groundbreaking GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL project being run by Pròiseact nan Ealan | The Gaelic Arts Agency.

The initiative – which aims to discover and retell the stories of the island communities who experienced the devastating impact of the First World War more than most other areas – is to continue throughout this year and into 2015 with a series of exhibitions and events planned throughout the islands and other areas of Scotland.

Dominiek’s involvement in GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL started when researchers from the project travelled to the museum in Belgium. On hearing the background to the initiative, and the impact the Great War had upon the islands in Scotland, Dominiek took a personal interest in the work being undertaken by Pròiseact nan Ealan.

An associate researcher at the University of Antwerp and guest lecturer at the University of Louvain, Drs Dendooven has been working as a researcher and curator for the award-winning In Flanders Fields Museum since 1998.

He has published extensively on the war, with his primary interest focusing on the involvement of ethnic minorities in WWI and the personal experiences of individuals during the conflict.

Drs Dendooven has addressed audiences as far as Beijing and New Delhi on the subject and regularly features on television documentaries about the Great War.

Whilst in Scotland, his itinerary will include presentations about the war to pupils in several schools across the islands followed by a series of local evening talks that are open to the community.

The evening events are free to attend – with no ticket required – but demand is expected to be high, with organisers asking attendees to ensure they arrive in plenty of time so that everyone can be accommodated. The events will last approximately an hour and a half.

Erica Morrison, chief executive of Pròiseact nan Ealan, said: “It is wonderful that Dominiek has volunteered to travel to Scotland to share his own expertise on the Great War that had such a devastating impact on communities in the islands.

“We first met Dominiek when researchers working on GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL travelled to the museum in Belgium and he kindly offered his assistance on the work we were undertaking.

“When we told him about the background to the project, and the impact of World War I on already small island communities, he was very keen to become involved and share his knowledge with us.

“To have someone of Dominiek’s expertise coming to the islands is a huge boost to the GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL project.

“We hope these talks will engage and encourage others to tell us their personal stories about how the war affected their own family and friends.

“Later in the year, we will be organising exhibitions focusing on some of the distinctive accounts from each island using the research that is currently underway but we would ask more people to come forward and tell us their personal stories to ensure that the unique island memories of the conflict are not lost forever.

“I’m delighted that Dominiek will also be contributing to these exhibitions.”

Drs Dominiek Dendooven said: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to travel to the islands to participate in GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL.

“Much of my research focuses on ensuring that personal stories about the Great War can be discovered and retold so that the names of those who fought and fell during the conflict are personalised and that their own unique journey and sacrifices are remembered.

“When I first met those involved in this project I was delighted to help but also intrigued about the impact that so many people travelling to war would have on such small Scottish communities.

“It goes without saying that this war, like many others, had as big an effect on those left behind as it did on those travelling to the frontline. GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL will help to explain what these areas went through and how the experiences of those involved in the Great War has shaped the communities that live today.”

Dominiek’s itinerary of evening talks – all of which are free and open to all – is listed below:

Monday 2 June: Barra

  • 7.30pm: Castlebay Community School

Tuesday 3 June: Benbecula

  • 7.30pm: Lionacleit School

Wednesday 4 June: North Uist

  • 7.30pm: Carinish Hall

Thursday 5 June: Harris

  • 7.30pm: Sir E Scott School

Friday 6 June: Lewis

  • 7.30pm: MA Macleod Memorial Hall, Kenneth Street, Stornoway

Dominiek’s daytime schedule, meeting pupils at local schools, is as follows:

Monday 2 June: Barra

  • Castlebay Community School. Pupils from Barra and Vatersay.

Tuesday 3 June: Benbecula

  • Lionacleit School. Pupils from Berneray, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay.

Thursday 5 June: Harris

  • Sir E Scott School. Pupils from Harris and Scalpay.

Friday 6 June: Lewis

  • Nicolson Institute. Pupils from all areas of Lewis.


A factsheet with background and further information on GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL is available on request.

For media enquiries – including interview requests and access to events – contact:-

Gary McQueenMedia Houset: 0141 220 6040e: Lorna GardnerMedia Houset: 0141 220 6040e:


GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL is a project to commemorate World War I, and the contribution of island communities, that is being run by Pròiseact nan Ealan | The Gaelic Arts Agency.

Pròiseact nan Ealan will be working in partnership with local Comunn Eachdraidh l Historical Societies and other project partners and a number of events are already scheduled during 2014 and 2015.

Funding partners for GAIRM NAN GÀIDHEAL | CALL OF THE GAEL are Awards for all Scotland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Creative Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Co-operative Community Fund and The Scottish Government.

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Contact: Gary McQueen
Phone: 01412206040