McGimpsey’s department organised a three-day “Future Search” conference to clear the way forward between statutory bodies, Government and the Ulster-Scots Community. In the context of Ulster-Scots as a recognised European and Minority Language, the Ullans Academy would be modelled on the Friesian Academy in the Netherlands, which I have already mentioned. However, it would also promote the inter-relationships between Ullans and Ulster Gaelic, as well as the study of Ulster English and Northumbrian English in general.This has led to a difference in philosophical approach between those who would see the promotion of Ulster-Scots as something of a political tool in their opposition to the Irish language and my Ullans movement.
Furthermore in the Case for an Ulster-Scots Bible there remained an area of tension between certain language enthusiasts on the one hand and potential users of the Bible on the other.This was the proposed linguistic style or register. The use of an archaic register would defeat the purpose of providing an authentic translation of the living Ullans tongue and alienate native speakers. There was also an attempt to restrict the origins of the Ulster Scot to Plantation Times, which mostly neglected the connections between Ulster and Scotland since ancient times, particularly the history of the ancient British Cruthin, and was not part of that coherent narrative advocated by myself.
The Academy’s research would also extend beyond language and literature to historical, cultural and philosophical themes such as the life and works of Frances Hutcheson and CS Lewis, and to studies of the history of Ulidia in general, especially Dalriada, Dalaradia, Dal Fiatach, Galloway and Carrick, not forgetting Ellan Vannin, the Isle of Man. Lewis’s magisterial work Poetry and Prose in the Sixteenth Century Volume IV in the Oxford History of English Literature (1954) was particulary important, illustrating as it does language and literature at the close of the Middle Ages in Scotland. Characteristically Lewis writes Scotch not Scottish,claiming the freedom of “my ain vulgaire”,which has historical precedence.
The Scotch-Irish would also provide a particular focus on the American dimension, but emigration studies would also be necessary for the countries of the Commonwealth and other countries. Closely associated were the Heirschipe Villages projects, which were proposals to construct living history and traditional craft centres based on eighteenth century Ulster-Scots villages and towns at the time of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution. This would have many parallels with the leading American attraction at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia and would be a centre of cultural tourism development.
In 2003 I was instrumental in ensuring that the Joint Declaration of the British and Irish Governments would indicate that the British Government would take steps to encourage support to be made available for an Ulster-Scots Academy. However, differences in philosophy continued. The original Ullans Academy wished to be associated with An Culturlann McAdam/O Fiaich and the Gaeltacht quarter of West Belfast. It was envisaged that the Heirschipe Village concept, initiated by the Ullans Academy, with its focus on cultural tourism, should also be developed under the remit of the Ulster-Scots Agency.
The Ullans Speakers Association of Ballymoney, County Antrim, the United Ulster History Forum and Portavogie Culture and Heritage Society of the Ards Peninsula, County Down and the Monreagh Project, County Donegal, would be encouraged as Friends of the Academy and an Ullans Centre of Academic Excellence would be established between the University of Glasgow, Queen’s University, Belfast, and the University of Ulster. Dr Paisley and I first travelled to see Professor John Corbett at Glasgow University on Saturday, 21st June, 2008 to facilitate this. Relations with the Sorbonne were maintained through Professor Wesley Hutchinson. Ideally, however, a prestigious location in Belfast was still required for the Ullans Academy but that is a continuing story.
Ed: I understand that this brings the Ullans Saga up to date, though not concluded. Dr Adamson says WATCH THIS SPACE
Links to Previous Parts
Part 1 The European Community and the language of the Ulster-Scots community
Part 2 Professor René Fréchet and The Cruthin
Part 3 Professor Fréchet and the Identity of Ulster
Part 4 The Continent of Europe, Professor Fréchet and The Ulster People
Part 5 Books published, “Ullans” and the formation of the Ulster-Scots Academy
Part 6 The 1998 Belfast Agreement and a Strategic Plan