Braid Gabs

Project outline

  • A long-term, evolving project
  • A video installation that explores Ulster Scots culture from the perspective of the individual participants
  • An intersection of documentary, art, autoethnography, and social history


Braid Gabs, is a play on words. “Braid”, in Ulster Scots, has the meaning “wide” or “broad” but, in standard English, it also implies a set of woven strands, as in a rope that gains strength from the binding together of its individual elements. 

This project will seek to sample a range of views on the nature and situation of Ulster Scots culture. For me, Ulster Scots culture is about so much more than marching bands, murals and Ullans poetry. It is that very stuff that communicates who we are from generation to generation. It is also a living thing, not static, not fossilized. This work will attempt to present that vitality and allow us to step outside our social media echo-chambers.

International contributions will be gathered from the Ulster-Scots diaspora.


The same initial questions will be asked of all participants (there is an alternate but linked third question for diaspora content), but supplementary questions may be asked during the interview process at the discretion of the artist. The questions are designed to be as open as possible.

  • What is Ulster Scots culture now?
  • How do you think has it changed since the late 20thcentury and before that?
  • What effect has the influx of new migrant communities into Ireland had on it? (Alternative: What effect on the culture was had by encounter with a culture in the new country?)
  • Where is our culture heading?
  • What are the main issues that need to be addressed to ensure the culture endures?

Ethical issues

Participants must be over the age of 18 and be aware of the nature and scope of the project. They will also be required to sign a release form allowing their contribution to be used in this and potentially further artworks. They can opt to be identified or remain anonymous. Interviews will be conducted at a place of special significance to the participant, or in a studio environment.  The artist will not edit any participant’s contribution in a way that misrepresents their views but reserves the right to remove content that might be construed as hate-speech or incitement to violence.

Further Research

A transcript of the responses may be published as a physical volume or e-book to ensure the content is more easily accessible to future researchers, but this is an optional additional project possibly requiring further funding. The piece should be ready for exhibition in early 2021. 

Contact from potential participants is welcomed,

Colin James Woods